Gerben Bruinsma and the ESC board much regret that unexpected medical matters made it impossible for him to write the president’s column for this mid-summer issue of Criminology in Europe or to attend what should have been “his” ESC annual meeting in Porto. The prognosis for Gerben’s recovery, however, is good, thank goodness, and some of the fruits of his efforts will be evident in Porto. These include the fine general program, which he helped shape, and a pair of “presidential panels” showcasing work of promising young European scholars.
The analysis of the past and present history of science can be accomplished in two manners: a simplistic style or a critical and complex style. The first stores dates and authors across time, without any method of analysis. The second traces the history of science using conceptual and methodological frameworks. We have had these strategies and tools available for over a century in the disciplines of philosophy of science and epistemology, and these constitute the repository to which we should appeal when engaging with the history of science using complex methods. Which are the big questions posed by philosophy of science and epistemology? In short, they ask what science is and how it is done. Two scholarly traditions provide answers to these questions: the French historicist tradition (e.g., Bachelard) and the Anglo-Saxon logicist tradition (e.g., Popper and Khun). The philosopher of the 20th century Michel Foucault occupies space apart from these: in the 1960s, he set up a new approach to the analysis of knowledge, science and practices.
The history of research and education in criminology at the University of Porto shows that this discipline has been constituted, and has developed, as an interdisciplinary discipline, a real unitas multiplex, for over more than 130 years.
In 2014, the European Society of Criminology (ESC) had 1,099 members. The Society organized its 14th Annual Conference in Prague, the Czech Republic, from 10 to 13 September. The conference was attended by 1,077 criminologists. Both figures are the highest recorded since the creation of the ESC in 2000.
The quality of teaching in criminology is very important for the development of the discipline. In addition to teaching criminology in undergraduate programmes, we discussed teaching and research topics in doctoral programmes in several European countries both at the last conference in Prague and in correspondence between the WG members. This year’s challenge is a discussion on doctoral programmes in criminology in Europe.
The ESC Working Group (WG) on Balkan Criminology was established in September 2014 as an initiative of the Max Planck Partner Group for Balkan Criminology (MPPG), which was established in January 2013 as a joint venture by the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law and the Zagreb Faculty of Law. It represents a working forum of the MPPG's "Balkan Criminology Network" (BCNet) – a network of researchers and scholars with particular interest and expertise in the field of crime research and criminology in the Balkans.
This working group was formed in 2007 and exists to encourage networking, foster discussion, stimulate empirical research, enable theoretical development and encourage critical and comparative work on community sanctions and measures in European jurisdictions.
Maria João Guia and May-Len Skilbrei started the ‘Immigration, Crime and Citizenship’ Working Group in 2014 in order to have dedicated discussions at the annual ESC Conference and to use the ESC as a starting point for collaborations between criminologists. The focus is for those with an interest in exploring links between migration and crime and in how intersections of migration and crime are related to citizenship issues.
At present, about 75 members from 20 different countries have joined the ESC Working Group ‘Prison Life and Effects of Imprisonment’. The aims of this working group are to encourage contact between European researchers involved in prison research and to establish international collaborations between the various research groups working on prison-related topics. As part of our activities, we organise thematic panel sessions at each ESC conference, which always attract a large audience and are a great opportunity to meet new/other researchers OR others interested in these topics.
Following its well-received panel session on the autoethnographic experiences of a group of early career criminological researchers, hosted during the Eurocrim 2014 in Prague, the EPER has recently submitted a successful proposal to the British Journal of Community Justice for a special issue on this topic, titled ‘Entering the Field of Criminological Research’. The special issue, including seven papers in total and scheduled to be published in November/December 2015, will be primarily concerned with various aspects of interviewing; from adequate preparation for interviews with different types of subjects, to the role which emotional impact of a face-to-face encounter may have on data assessment, as well as the necessity of appropriate supervision and support for young researchers interacting with high-risk subjects.
As a group, we aim to facilitate research on homicide in Europe. Homicide and homicide prevention have a very high priority in research, public opinion, and policy in the European nations.. Unfortunately, it is one of the most difficult crimes to study due to the low frequency and high variability of events.
In 2014 and 2015, the working group organised activities at the annual conferences of both its parents, the European Society of Criminology and the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy. At the ISSDP conference in Rome, in May 2014, the focus was on comparative analyses, with papers from Brendan Hughes of the EMCDDA on the construction of a drug law index, and from Prof. Peter Reuter on the strengths and weaknesses of existing cross-national data on drugs.
The European Working Group on Organisational Crime was established in 2010 in order to stimulate research in the field of white collar crime and organisational crime in Europe, and to promote exchange and collaboration between the various European researchers and research groups working in this field.
My name is Kate Bowers and I am a Professor at the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science based in central London. I have worked in the field of environmental criminology, crime analysis and crime science for over 20 years, with particular research interests focusing on the use of quantitative methods in crime analysis and crime prevention. My research has mainly involved examining spatial and temporal patterns in crime, exploring the situational context of crime problems and evaluating the effectiveness of crime reduction interventions. I am also interested in the development of products and procedures that help to design out crime.
Rossella Selmini is Associate Professor and Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, Department of Sociology, where she was a Visiting Professor in 2011. Before that, she worked in the Department of Urban Security and Local Police, a research centre in Regione Emilia-Romagna in Italy, initially as a researcher, then as head of the research division, and finally for six years as director. Her work there included qualitative and quantitative studies of crime trends, crime prevention, urban governance of crime, policing, victims of crime, gender violence, youth violence and youth gangs. She has a degree in Law from the University of Bologna and a PhD in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute in Florence, where she also worked as a research assistant after obtaining her doctorate.
Barbora Hola from the Czech Republic works as Assistant Professor at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at the VU University of Amsterdam. She has an interdisciplinary focus and studies transitional justice after atrocities, in particular (international) criminal trials, the sentencing of international crimes, enforcement of international sentences, rehabilitation of war criminals and life after trial at international criminal tribunals. Barbora has published extensively on these subjects and has presented as an expert at international conferences and universities across Europe, Africa and the Americas. Her work has been referenced by judges at the International Criminal Court in their judgments and is discussed by various media outlets.
A truly European criminologist—I believe that this label can be applied with no exaggeration in my case. Italian by birth, I received my Ph.D. in social and political sciences from the European University Institute in Florence in 1997, after studying these subjects at the University of Florence and at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Since then, my career has largely taken place in two European countries other than Italy. From 1998 to 2006, I was a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany, where I have also held research professorship for the last five years. Since 2006, I have been a full professor of criminology at the University of Leuven Faculty of Law in Belgium. I have been a visiting scholar or professor at the Universities of Giessen, Tübingen, Paris I (Sorbonne), Rotterdam and Cambridge, and invited to lecture at, among others, Harvard, New York, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Beijing Universities.