The use of 'queer' in criminal justice discourses

Ball, Matthew J. (2013) The use of 'queer' in criminal justice discourses. In Richards, Kelly & Tauri, Juan Marcellus (Eds.) Crime, Justice, and Social Democracy : Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference, Crime and Justice Research Centre, QUT, Brisbane, Queensland, pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

Within criminological literature, there are growing references to a 'queer/ed criminology'. To date, ‘queer criminology’ remains a loose collection of studies and criminal-justice related commentary that uses the term 'queer'. Amid the growing calls for the more substantial development of these criminological studies, it is timely to reflect on the ways that the term ‘queer’ has been used in these discourses, to what ends, and with what effects.

This paper considers the manner in which the term 'queer' has been used in these criminological and criminal justice discourses. It suggests that ‘queer’ has been used in two dominant ways: as an 'umbrella' term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, and queer-identified people; and to signify the use of theoretical tools with which to represent sexuality- and gender-diverse people more effectively within criminological research. The paper will argue that these ways of using ‘queer’ have a variety of implications and effects. Specifically, using ‘queer’ as an umbrella term has the potential to reinforce identity categories and the politics that surround identities (a critique that has often appeared in queer contexts), while using it as a theoretical tool potentially reproduces various investments in criminology and criminal justice institutions. Both uses may preclude other productive avenues for critique opened up by the term ‘queer’.

The paper will conclude by suggesting that using ‘queer’ as a verb to signify a more deconstructive project directed towards criminology is a possible direction for these discussions. While this approach has its own effects, and articulates with existing deconstructive approaches in criminology, it is important to explore these possibilities at this point in the development of a ‘queer/ed criminology’ for two reasons: it highlights that multiple, and often competing, ‘queer/ed criminologies’ exist; and it expands the diverse possibilities heralded by the notion of ‘queer’.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 60923
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: queer criminology, queer theory, critical criminology, LGBT issues, queer issues, discourse, gay and lesbian
ISBN: 978-0-9874678-4-3
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Criminology not elsewhere classified (160299)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 please consult the author
Deposited On: 25 Jun 2013 00:04
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:47

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