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.