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(p. 990) 43. Criminological engagements 

(p. 990) 43. Criminological engagements
(p. 990) 43. Criminological engagements

Alison Liebling

, Fergus McNeill

, and Bethany E. Schmidt

Page of

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date: 12 April 2021

This chapter considers the relationships between criminology and the worlds of penal policy and practice. It focuses in particular on the day-to-day interactions the authors of the chapter forge in their research lives and on their ‘effects’ and failures as ‘engaged criminologists’. The chapter supports forms of criminological engagement that are subtle, long term and relational rather than occasional, mechanical, linear, or instrumental, and proposes that these forms of engagement improve understanding but require constant reflection and negotiation. This chapter argues that knowledge-generation is slow and cumulative; it takes time to ‘read a situation’ in complex human and social environments and it should be an iterative process with the research community and the world of practice teaching, learning from each other at every step of the way. Research participants welcome a ‘full’ research presence of the kind described in this chapter. For knowledge to ‘do good’, it needs to be (qualitatively) ‘good’ and should be produced through patient, honest, rigorous, and disciplined but also deeply engaged forms of enquiry. This chapter suggests that our institutional structures often fail to support this model of research.

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