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More global view required in criminology

Dutch studies into cross-border organised crime and more recently terrorism or genocide often view other countries as a source of danger to ‘us’.

This defensive view of international themes in criminology ignores the fact that the Netherlands is an active player on the world stage and that time, place and distance (in geographical and cultural terms) have acquired a completely new meaning. This is the view of professor René van Swaaningen in his lecture 'Towards cosmopolitan criminology'.

Van Swaaningen links analyses of this ‘globalisation’ to insights from cultural criminology and produces 'cosmopolitan criminology’. On Friday 7 September 2007, Van Swaaningen will accept the chair of extraordinary professor in International comparative criminology in Erasmus School of Law from the EUR Trust Fund Association.

Globalisation has many consequences for criminological research. For example, ‘global governance’ sheds a different light on regulation and supervision. Opportunities for national states to provide effective supervision have declined through globalisation and new forms of social exclusion have come into being. ‘Global cities’ – big cities and urban regions – supposedly have a more important position in many respects than national states. Comparative research into security of major seaports could illustrate this.

Global processes affect local developments and local events affect global processes. This is called ‘glocalisation’. Cultural criminological research shows how global poverty, the consumer culture and music styles (e.g. hip hop and rap) create the identity and perception of security and insecurity. ‘The rules game’ is another central area of research: who is involved at global, supranational, national, regional and local levels in establishing and maintaining rules and who ensures that they are actually enforced? ‘Cyberspace’ is also becoming increasingly important. And finally, research focusing not so much on the locality but on the ‘global flow’, i.e. the global flow of goods and people, is very important for the development of international comparative criminology.

This inaugural lecture is part of the inaugural lecture 'Control: about the dynamics between criminality and social control', held by three professors of the School of Law of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Besides René van Swaaningen, Pieter Spierenburg (Historical criminology) and Henk van de Bunt (Criminology) will also be accepting their chairs on this day.

Yvette Nelen | alfa
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