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Criminology

Criminology at Edinburgh is home to a collegiate and committed group of scholars and students. Building on a distinguished and impactful legacy of criminological research at the Edinburgh Law School, we take a broad view of the study of crime, criminology and criminal justice. We are proud to place equal importance on theoretical and policy-focused research, and to incorporate perspectives from the local to the global. Our work encompasses a broad range of methodologies including qualitative approaches, large-scale quantitative data analysis, and mixed methods. We actively incorporate our research into our teaching, ensuring it is current and topical.

Police van in Shetland

We work collaboratively with policy makers and practitioners from Scotland, the wider UK, and internationally.  Our research has been highly influential in supporting policy making and legislative change in Scotland through our working partnerships with organisations such as the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, the Scottish Prison Service and the voluntary sector, as well as our engagement with communities and the wider public. We are committed to shaping how problems of crime and justice are thought about in order to build safe and just societies. 

Collectively, our research interests include: imprisonment, penal theory and policy; democratic governance and politics; the sociology of punishment; citizenship, disenfranchisement and human rights; policing practice, governance and accountability; communities and crime; policing urban spaces and remote islands; global, transnational and transitional justice; violence, hate crime and crimes of atrocity; criminal justice reform in post war states; youth crime and justice; crime trends, patterns and inequalities; public health approaches to justice; law enforcement and Covid-19; cybercrime, cybersecurity and surveillance; judicial culture and sentencing practice; and comparative criminology. We also have interests in the impact of academic-practitioner collaborations, and the uses of criminological knowledge in shaping policy and practice.

We are home to the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a large-scale longitudinal study of pathways into and out of offending which has been running for 25 years; and the Policing the Pandemic project which is investigating the use and impact of police enforcement during the pandemic. Our research is supported by three inter-institutional, Scottish research centres: the Scottish Centre of Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR); the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR); and the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR).

As well as a range of undergraduate courses, we teach two Postgraduate Masters programmes: an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice; and an MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security. We have a large and diverse community of PhD students and warmly welcome applications and enquiries from prospective students with an interest in our areas of expertise.

Andy Aydin-Aitchison, Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Jamie Bennett, Honorary Fellow and Deputy Director for Operational Security, HM Prison and Probation Service

Dr Jo Brown, Honorary Fellow

Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, Senior Lecturer in Public International Law

Ben Collier, Lecturer in Digital Methods, School of Social and Political Science

John Crichton, Honorary Professor and Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland

Alistair Henry, Senior Lecturer in Criminology

David Garland, Professorial Fellow in Criminology

Fiona Jamieson, Senior Teaching Fellow in Criminology

Richard Jones, Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Steve Kirkwood, Senior Lecturer in Social Work; Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, School of Social and Political Science

Lesley McAra, Chair of Penology

Susan McVie, Professor of Quantitative Criminology

Kath Murray, Research Fellow in Criminology

Gill Robinson, Honorary Fellow

Anna Souhami, Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Maximo Sozzo, Leverhulme Visiting Professor

Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology

Milena Tripkovic, Lecturer in Criminology

Gabrielle Watson, Chancellor’s Fellow

Journal articles

Digital ritual: Police-public social media encounters and 'Authentic' interaction
Henry, Alistair. In: The British Journal of Criminology: An International Review of Crime and Society (BJC), 23.08.2023, p. 1-16. View article

Teaching atrocity criminology with ICTY archives: Disciplinarity, research, ethics
Aydin-Aitchison, Andy. In: Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 27.04.2023, p. 1-19. View article

No country for 'bad' men: Volatile citizenship and the emerging features of global neo-colonial penality
Tripkovic, M. In: The British Journal of Criminology: An International Review of Crime and Society, 24.01.2023, p. 1-17. View article

From childhood system contact to adult criminal conviction: Investigating intersectional inequalities using Queensland administrative data
Matthews, Ben., McVie, Susan., Thompson, Carleen and Stewart, Anna. In Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 04.06.2022, p. 41. View the article.

Book chapters

Youth justice in an age of uncertainty: Principles, performance and prospects
McAra, Lesley. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. ed. / Alison Liebling; Shadd Maruna; Lesley McAra. 7. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023. p. 698 - 724. View article

Untold stories of police ethnography
Souhami, A. Routledge International Handbook of Police Ethnography. ed / Jenny Fleming, Sarah Charman. 1. ed. Routledge, 2023. p. 88-105. View chapter

Reform and emergent police practice in Scotland : In search of situated policing
Henry, Alistair; Fyfe, Nicholas R. The Abstract Police: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Change in Police Organisations. ed. / Jan Terpstra; Renze Salet; Nicholas R. Fyfe. 1. ed. eleven international publishing, 2022. p. 57-80. View chapter

Edited collections

Crime, Justice, and Social Order : Essays in Honour of A. E. Bottoms
Liebling, Alison (Editor); Shapland, Joanna (Editor); Sparks, Richard (Editor) et al. Oxford University Press, 2022. 448 p. (Clarendon Studies in Criminology). View collection

Working papers

Victims, perpetrators, and bystanders: Atrocity and its aftermath in the films of Jasmila Žbanić
Aydin-Aitchison, Andy. (SSRN Electronic Journal), 2023.

Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN) Legacy
The Applied Quantitative Methods Network improved the understanding of UK social issues by providing independent research-based evidence
Visit the AQMeN Legacy website

Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime
The Edinburgh Study for Youth Transitions and Crime (ESYTC) is a research programme that addresses fundamental questions about the causes of criminal and risky behaviours.
Visit the ESYTC website

Place, Crime and Insecurity in Everyday Life
The ESRC funded project explores the question of what does it mean to feel secure in Britain today.
Visit the Security in Place website

Policing the Pandemic
Policing the Pandemic is an ESRC-funded project that investigates the role of police enforcement in securing compliance with the Health Protection Regulations in Scotland, and the factors associated with non-compliance.
Visit the Policing the Pandemic website

Understanding Inequalities (Legacy)
Understanding Inequalities is an ESRC-funded project aiming to provide robust evidence to help reduce inequalities in Scottish society and beyond.
Visit the Understanding Inequalities website

Crime, Justice and Society Seminars
The Crime, Justice and Society seminars are a venue for research presentations and discussions on a broad range of topics, and takes up the remit of the former Centre for Law and Society for socio-legal scholarship.
View the upcoming Crime, Justice and Society Seminars 

Edinburgh Futures Institute
The Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) brings together people from across the University of Edinburgh and beyond to grapple with some of the world's most pressing questions.
Visit the EFI website

Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) 
The SCADR aims to unlock the value of data routinely collected by government departments and other public bodies, so that it can be used to improve policies, services and lives.
Visit the SCADR website

Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR)
The SCCJR is a collboration between the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde. The SCCJR aims to produce research that informs policy and practice and advances our understanding of justice.
Visit the SCCJR website

Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)
SIPR is a strategic collaboration between 14 of Scotland's universities and the Police Service of Scotland, offering a range of opportunities for conducting relevant, applicable research to help the police meet the challenges of the 21st century and for achieving international excellence for policing research in Scotland.
Visit the SIPR website

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