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      Editor’s Introduction to the Special Issue, “Centering the Margins: Addressing the Implementation Gap of Critical Criminology”

      Critical Criminology

      Springer Netherlands

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          Abstract

          As I write this Editor’s Introduction, I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which this piece and the articles in this special issue were written. As we put 2020 behind us, 2021 is beginning with a glimmer of hope. A COVID-19 vaccine is slowly making its way to us all and some countries are returning to a semblance of normal interactions. The scars of 2020, however, will stay with us for decades to come, if not longer. Questions remain as to how the most vulnerable will be able to obtain the vaccine and whether it will reach the countries with the least political clout. All the while, global warming remains an imminent threat. These issues are just a few in a series of social justice concerns that continue to loom large. The scars of 2020 are layered on top of the wounds of ableism, colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, and countless other oppressive systems and histories that have never been addressed properly. They may have been bandaged over—perhaps even scabbed over—but they have not been treated, and they have certainly not healed. Black1 academics, Brown academics, Indigenous academics, queer academics, disabled academics, immigrant and refugee academics, other marginalized academics, and multiply-marginalized academics across the world have been calling for change for decades if not centuries. Yet, no matter how loudly we fight to be heard, it often feels as though we are still barely breaking into the conversation. On the other hand, there seems to be the beginnings of a shift, at least in the United States (US).2 As deaths from COVID-19 exceed 450,000 individuals; as months-long protests against police brutality continue daily in cities across the country; as the interplay of race and class become highlighted through an increase in evictions, unemployment, and growing health disparities; and as an attempted coup raised serious questions about the strength of anti-democratic and white supremacists sentiments in the country, the need to address injustices and inequalities has remained at the forefront of national conversations. Indeed, the global health pandemic has exposed and underscored a plethora of inequalities not just in the US but worldwide. Every aspect of society has come under scrutiny—and rightfully so. Many of these issues could—and would—have been addressed more easily had centuries of Indigenous knowledge and knowledge from other marginalized groups not been lost or dismissed. For all the challenges 2020 has brought, it has also revealed a fundamental truth: failures to listen to and center marginalized individuals yield deadly consequences for us all. While this special issue cannot bring back all of this knowledge (or the lives lost), it is an attempt to continue to raise and address issues that have been ignored or understudied for too long. This special issue is the offshoot of a conference held at Eastern Michigan University (EMU)—located on the unceded territory of the Anishinaabeg and Wendat/Wyandot peoples—in April 2019. That conference was the fourth in a series of critical criminology conferences in the US, hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2016, by Old Dominion University in 2017, and by Eastern Kentucky University in 2018. The theme of the EMU conference was “Centering the Margins: Addressing the Implementation Gap in Critical Criminology,” which is now the theme for this special issue. This theme was chosen in response to several prominent scholars, who have noted that criminologists are “fundamentally obligated” (Richie 2011: 216) to participate in conversations about criminal and social justice issues—an obligation that has been reiterated in recent years by presidents of both the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. In 2014, then-ASC President Joanne Belknap (2015) delivered a “call to action” to criminologists to take a more activist role in addressing social and legal injustices, while then-ACJS President Lorenzo Boyd (2017: 3) argued, “We need now more than ever before, to have seats at the table, to be part of the conversations. If we, as social scientists, do not champion the cause of social justice then who will take on the cause?” And yet, opportunities to have discussions dedicated to developing strategies for change are rare. As such, the conference—and now this special issue—focuses on marginalized identities often overlooked or undervalued in the field, on inclusivity and equity (not just diversity), and on interrogating how criminological inquiry can better serve social justice. For both the conference and the special issue, the notion of “centering the margins” is twofold. First, it draws attention to those marginalized by social processes that reveal themselves based on dis/ability, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, among others, and the intersection of these identities. While critical, feminist, and radical criminologies have attempted to address these inequalities and patterns of discrimination and exclusion, the goal of this special issue is a deeper exploration of not just oppression and domination, but also of the benefits of centering marginalized voices in terms of knowledge production and praxis. Second, we wish to unveil and interrogate forms of marginalization within academia. As Richie (2011) argues, the field of criminology has little incentive to change because the power elites within academia uphold dominant traditions and paradigms, making it difficult for questions related to social justice to be raised and addressed. This may be because of academia’s emphasis on publishing, which can lead to watered down publications or to publications based on methods that are less-time-consuming than others (Moosa 2018; Rawat and Meena 2014). Studies also find that women publish less than men3 and scholars of Color publish less than white scholars within criminology (Potter, Higgins, and Gabbidon 2011)—likely as a result of disparate acceptance rates to graduate school (Posselt 2016), inherent biases within academia (Posselt 2020), unequal distribution of labor (e.g., Babock et al. 2017; Gutiérrez y Muhs et al. 2012; Niemann et al. 2020), the peculiarities of the publishing process (del Carmen and Bing 2000), and the ways in which familial and emotional labor falls to women during times of crisis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic (Flaherty 2020a, 2020b; Squazzoni et al. 2020; Vincent-Lamarre et al. 2020; Zimmer 2020). When such scholarship is published, the authors are often accused of “mesearch” or navel gazing, rather than receiving recognition for advancing the field (Bernal and Villalpando 2010). The emphasis on publishing also impacts the ability of scholars to be effective teachers in the classroom (Moosa 2018). In addition, several studies find that non-white, non-male, non-heteronormative scholars are still underrepresented in criminology and academia broadly (Deo 2019; Greene et al. 2017; Gutiérrez y Muhs et al. 2012; Niemann et al. 2020; see also the forthcoming special issue in Race and Justice, “BLM in the Academy: Black Scholars’ Personal Accounts”). While critical criminology attempts to address these marginalizations, it, too, often falls short (for a discussion, see, e.g., Ball et al. 2014; Thorneycroft and Asquith 2019; Woods 2014).4 In terms of “addressing the gap,” the conference, and now the special issue, seeks to highlight conversations that attend to and challenge how we might better implement critical criminological aims with respect to marginalization. Many critical criminologists have had success contributing to policy, and more critical, feminist, and radical criminologists are being invited to the policy table. Furthermore, there is growing recognition of the importance of scholar-activists, and discussions on how to push for critical criminological goals are gaining traction as part of traditional training and in larger discussions in the field (see, for example, Henne and Shah’s recent Routledge Handbook on Public Criminologies (2020)). Thus, the goal for this special issue is to continue moving critical criminological discourse beyond theoretical discussion to praxis and to extend conversations started in this journal five years ago (Arrigo 2016). Hidden in this theme—and lost in larger conversations about addressing inequalities and injustices—is the emotional toll involved in continuing to be marginalized and fighting for space. In so many ways—and for so many reasons—the conference should not have been necessary. This special issue should not be necessary. It is exhausting to think that, once again, marginalized individuals must raise our voices, take a stand, and fight for what is right. It is exhausting to have to write pieces arguing that our power, our strength, our value, and our inclusion need to be seen not as an “if there is room” or as an “also,” but as an “essential.” But that is precisely what the authors in this special issue have done. This special issue not only highlights the voices of those marginalized in critical criminology, despite the subdiscipline’s lip-service to critiquing hegemony, but also gives power to the authors published here and the topics they address, and it provides support to the countless others who are also tired.5 While the collection of articles presented here all tangle with notions of power in some way, they are all also power, in and of themselves. Within each piece is the power of self, the power of love for self and others, and the power of truths that must be spoken. The authors in this special issue tackle a variety of areas in which to center the margins: (1) in academia; (2) in policy discussions; and (3) in victimization studies. We begin with Kenneth Sebastián León’s article (2021), which argues for a Latino criminology that focuses on decolonizing—or, as he calls it, “unfucking”—criminology. In the second article, Allyn Walker, Jace Valcore, Brodie Evans, and Ash Stephens (2021) contemplate “centering the margins” in academia in a different way—through a discussion of the challenges faced by transgender scholars, which lay bare the emotional and professional risks they have taken. In doing so, these two pieces reveal an inherent contradiction faced by academics whose research is inspired by their own experiences: both make clear that critiques of “mesearch” perpetuate inequalities and should be laid to rest. In order to make this argument, however, both pieces must once again justify why they/their views/their focus is necessary. They then go one-step further and do the emotional labor of modeling how to undertake research inspired by one’s own experiences, of supporting their fellow academics, and of providing advice for allies and would-be accomplices. In terms of policy discussions, Andrew Novak’s article (2021), the third in this special issue, addresses why critical criminologists should take seriously HIV-criminalization and why doing so will provide greater insights into numerous criminological concerns. Next, Krystle Shore (2021) draws on penal surveillance and public health surveillance studies to highlight how the use of electronic monitoring with people with cognitive impairments constitutes a form of carceral protectionism. In the fifth article, Smith and Kinzel (2021) expand the concept of “carceral citizenship” and argue for greater involvement of those who have experienced the carceral state in policy discussions. Combined, these articles remind us why it is important to ensure that the voices of marginalized individuals are included in discussions of how criminal justice apparatuses are used. They stand in contrast to Troshynski and Bejinariu’s article (2021), which reveals the rhetoric and logics used to question, and potentially undermine, efforts to support transgender students in public schools—thereby reminding us of the need to address such push back and continuously support social policies aimed at centering the margins. Finally, two articles address centering the margins in victimization studies. Christina DeJong, Karen Holt, Brenna Helm, and Skyler Morgan (2021) analyze media coverage of transgender individuals killed in 2018 and offer suggestions for improving this coverage. In the final article, Emily Lenning, Sara Brightman, and Carrie Buist (2021) theorize the ways in which a trifecta of violent ideologies, policies, and actions can help us understand both anti-Black lynching and violence against transgender women, particularly Black transgender women. Both pieces note that there is much work to be done in not only recognizing and eliminating violence against transgender individuals, but also in taking such violence seriously. A common theme throughout these pieces is one of safety. All of the articles raise questions as to who gets to be safe, who gets to define “safety,” and how safety can be undermined by a variety of individuals, ranging from well-meaning individuals with unconscious biases to those purposefully seeking to cause harm. While it is not surprising that half of the articles center transgender individuals, particularly given the emerging field of queer criminology, it is a reminder that more work needs to be done to include queer individuals in all aspects of academia and society. The topics covered by the authors also highlight the ways in which critical criminology has become comfortable in its whiteness, in its heteronormative patriarchy, and its own version of colonialism. The articles in this special issue ask us to challenge ourselves, what we think, and what we believe. As such, these articles push us to expand the boundaries of critical criminology. This task is particularly important as the historical moment of the global health pandemic is raising a plethora of questions about the kind of world we want to live in and how to better achieve inclusiveness: questions critical criminology should be at the forefront of addressing. This issue ends with a book review of Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration by Christine Montross. In this review, Candice Tudor (2021) highlights how Montross dissects the madness of the criminal justice system and offers possible solutions. As Tudor notes, however, discussing such solutions without taking into account race and other social identities leads us to furthering the very inequalities such solutions seek to address. In two key ways, however, this issue falls short. First, this issue is limited to contributors from the Global North (Dados and Connell 2012) and to those working and residing in North America, in particular. Admittedly, it is also limited in the marginalized voices present even from the Global North, providing only a snapshot of some of the ways in which we consider centering the margins. Second, what is still underdeveloped in this issue is a discussion on praxis. While a past special issue of Critical Criminology: An International Journal has addressed this (Arrigo 2016) and a search for “praxis” in the journal’s database reveals a number of useful articles, the rise in anti-government and anti-science sentiments worldwide and the growing power of fundamentalist and authoritarian governments makes the need for critical criminology to play a role in policy and praxis more urgent. The challenge of discussing praxis, however, is that those who are on the front lines often lack the time to write pieces about their work. And yet, when these pieces are published, they are instrumental in helping others determine how they can best utilize their skills and be effective accomplices. Perhaps one avenue for addressing this issue is for critical criminologists to advocate for hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions to take into account the real-world benefits of praxis as equally important as—or perhaps more than—traditional research outputs. This special issue would not exist without the numerous people who supported it. The contributors deserve recognition for highlighting what it means to actively consider social justice as scholars, not just with respect to how to incorporate social justice principles and topics into our teaching, research, and service, but also in terms of pushing a field that embraces critical and radical approaches to interrogate their own privileges and examine how they can better tackle their goals. Their contributions were further supported by many whose labor we often fail to recognize in full—an international group of peer reviewers, including some from outside of criminology: Nicole Asquith, B Camminga, April Carrillo, Martin French, James Gacek, Kishonna Gray, David A. Maldonado, Heather Mooney, Aaron Roussell, Sebastian Sclofsky, Deena Isom Scott, Lori Sexton, and Renee Shelby, as well as reviewers who requested to remain anonymous. This special issue would not have been possible without the production team at Springer, particularly as many of them work in India where COVID-19 is still taking a heavy toll. Finally, thanks to Avi Brisman, Editor-in-Chief of Critical Criminology: An International Journal, for recognizing the importance of these issues and lobbying for making these articles free-to-access for an extended time period and for Springer for extending the free-to-access period.

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          Most cited references 19

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          An Apartheid of Knowledge in Academia: The Struggle Over the "Legitimate" Knowledge of Faculty of Color

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            Gender Differences in Accepting and Receiving Requests for Tasks with Low Promotability

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              Is Open Access

              Publish or perish: Where are we heading?

              Frequent publication is one of the few powerful methods at scholar's disposal to demonstrate academic talent to peers. Successful publication of research brings attention to scholars and their institutions. This in turn may bring in more funding for the institute and also ensure an individual's progress through their field. Academic institutions and university frequently use the number of publication to an individual's credit as the measure of competency. Administrators are increasingly using this as the criteria during recruitments. Scholars, who publish infrequently or who focus on activities that does not result in publications like instructing undergraduates, may find themselves out of contentions for many teaching positions. It is due to these reasons that there is an immense pressure to publish. The phrase “Publish or perish” initially coined by Coolidge[1] in 1932 is now becoming a harsh reality. The emphasis on publishing has decreased the value of the resulting scholarship as scholar must spend time scrambling to publish whatever they can manage, rather than spend time developing significant research agenda. The pressure to publish-or-perish also detracts from the time and effort professors can devote to teaching undergraduate and post-graduates. The rewards for exceptional teaching rarely match the rewards for exceptional research, which encourages faculty to favor the latter whenever they conflict. Many universities do not focus on teaching ability when they hire new faculty and simply look at the publications list.[2] This single-minded focus on the professor-as-researcher may cause faculty to neglect or be unable to perform some other responsibilities. This pressure to increase the number of publications has led to unethical practices and waste full research. The increase in the number of publications has led to the growth of many new journals. In 2006 alone, approximately 1.3 million peer reviewed scientific articles were published, aided by a large rise in the number of available scientific journals from 16,000 in 2001 to 23,750 by 2006.[3] The increasing scientific articles have fuelled the demand for new journal. There is a ridiculous proliferation of scientific journals of all kind. Every other day we see a new journal cropping up. So the question arises, are we heading in the right direction? The acceptance and appreciation of a publication is frequently gauged by citation index. Only 45% of the articles published in 4500 top scientific journals are cited within the first 5 years of publication, a figure which appears to be dropping steadily.[4] Only 42% of the papers receive more than one citation, 5-25% of these are self-citation by the authors or journals.[5] Majority of the publications still goes uncited. This means that neither they are appreciated by the peers nor they are of any importance to the industry or patient. Research is essential to carry science forward. It importance in improving patient care cannot be denied. However, equally important is the fact that the research done actually benefits patient, physician and community at large. Most of the published research works are done just to improve the curriculum vitae (CV) of the researcher and they do not find any merit in practical terms. A thought must be spared by the researchers for the quality of research being carried out. “Publish or perish” is now becoming the way of life. It is race to get more and more publications to one's credit. The current trend is forcing scientists to create publishable research. This is giving rise to fraudulent researches. Fraud research may corrupt scientific medical literature and ultimately harm our patients. The increasing number of publication have led to rise in unethical practices, dubious research practices such as salami slicing, plagiarism, duplicate publication, fraud, ghost authors etc. Fraud is defined as fabrication or falsification in performing or reporting research results. No one could forget the famous fraud of Piltdown man. In this forgery, the lower jawbone of an orangutan combined with the skull of a fully modern man and touted as the discovery of the missing link postulated as the intermediary in the evolution of hominids from apes. The skull was found in a gravel pit at Piltdown in England by Charles Dawson in 1912. It was only in 1953, almost 40 years later, that it was exposed as a forgery.[6] Another type of unethical practice is salami slicing. In Salami slicing, same research is split into many fragments and published. Some researches counter this by saying that sometimes the research are too big that they have to be split, so as to publish it in a single article.[7] Another dubious practice is of duplicate publication. In this researchers publish the same material in different journal with different key words, captions and co-author variation on each occasion, thus making it difficult for plagiarism software to detect them. This is mostly done in order to give a boost to their CV. Recently I myself encountered a manuscript sent for review by Oman Medical Journal. Reading the manuscript produced the feeling of déjà vu. A search on the internet revealed that the authors already published the manuscript in journal of research in medical sciences.[8] The reviewers have very important job in ensuring that such fraudulent behavior is detected. The editorial board has so many articles to look at one moment, and they rely heavily on their reviewers on this issue. If published, subsequent retraction of these fraudulent articles by the journal is costly for the journal and also puts a dent in the reputation of the journal. The journals should ensure that such authors are debarred from publishing in the scientific journals for a certain period of time. In the west, such retractions may lead to loss of job of the individual and may also be barred from receiving federal receiving research funds. It is high time that we follow the example of west and modify over rules for publication frauds. The basic ethical principles of every scientist are intellectual honesty, which must be present in all stages of scientific work: From a hypothesis, through the appropriate choice of research methodology, analysis and interpretation of the results, including their publication.[9 10] It is frequent to find that the head of departments and senior professors are producing a dozen publications in a year. This means that the person have conceived idea, submitted protocol, got Institutional review board clearance, done the research, wrote the paper and published it every month. It is virtually impossible for a human being to do this. Being a professor/consultant sometimes automatically implies that whatever papers goes for publication from their department will bear their name. But this is unethical practice and should be discouraged at all levels. As International Committee of Medical Journal editors and Journal of Research in Medical Sciences authorship criteria states that “each authors must contribute a significant segment for being eligible for authorship.” They may find it difficult to swallow but being a consultant or professor does not give them a right to become an author, if they have not contributed in the research. There are so many other types of fraud, too numerous to be discussed in this editorial. The frequency with which such unethical practices and fraud are occurring is increasing and poses a threat to reputation of scientific community at large. In conclusion, publication is a fact of life and vital to growth of science and career progression. Administrators and universities increasingly look at the publications to one's credit during recruitment of faculty/researchers. This has led to a relentless pressure to publish at all costs in order to increase the number of publications on one's CV. This not only led to an increase of low quality publications but also led to increase in unethical practices and publication fraud is also showing an increasing trend. Urgent steps are necessary to stop this phenomenon. There should be more dominant attitude toward medical education rather that research and publication thirst, especially in third world countries. It is true that publications are a stepping stone for one's carrier, but is should not be done at the expense of medical education of your students. Universities may state that teaching is the most important category on which tenure and recruitment is based, but the truth is that we cannot measure it. We are very adept, however at measuring publications so insufficient publications is almost always the reason that someone is denied tenure. Publishing has now become not just optional but obligatory. In consequence, scientists suffer constant pressure to publish new work frequently and spend considerable time writing papers. Universities and administrators should curb these practices. Equal importance should be given to education of students.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                rshah9@emich.edu
                Journal
                Crit Criminol
                Crit Criminol
                Critical Criminology
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                1205-8629
                1572-9877
                25 February 2021
                : 1-7
                Affiliations
                GRID grid.255399.1, ISNI 0000000106743006, Eastern Michigan University, ; Ypsilanti, MI USA
                Article
                9560
                10.1007/s10612-021-09560-6
                7905013
                © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature 2021

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

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