+1 Recommend
1 collections

      If you have found this article useful and you think it is important that researchers across the world have access, please consider donating, to ensure that this valuable collection remains Open Access.

      State Crime Journal is published by Pluto Journals, an Open Access publisher. This means that everyone has free and unlimited access to the full-text of all articles from our international collection of social science journalsFurthermore Pluto Journals authors don’t pay article processing charges (APCs).

      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Greening the Concept of State Crime

      State Crime Journal
      Pluto Journals
      deviance, environmental crime, green criminology, human rights, NGOs, state crime


            Green criminologists often deploy the notion of harm to capture patterns of environmental victimization sitting outside the narrow and legalistic confines of environmental “crime”. In doing so, their analytical gaze is cast wide, resulting in a lack of focus on states and their specific obligations to protect citizens from such victimization. The current article addresses this by using the dialectic conception of state crime to direct criminological attention towards these obligations. Using its constituent elements of human rights, deviance and legitimacy, the article examines the state duty to protect environmental human rights, the importance of involving opposition groups in research on deviant state activity and the challenges faced by scholars attempting to evidence the illegitimacy of such practice. In doing so, the literature from state crime and green criminological scholarship is synthesized, resulting in a concept of state environmental crime that is of utility to both fields.


            Author and article information

            State Crime Journal
            Pluto Journals
            1 January 2019
            : 8
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/statecrime.8.issue-1 )
            : 39-58
            [1 ] University of Lincoln
            © 2019 International State Crime Initiative

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Custom metadata

            deviance,environmental crime,green criminology,human rights,NGOs,state crime


            1. Aas, K. (2012) “'The Earth Is One But the World Is Not': Criminological Theory and Its Geopolitical Divisions”, Theoretical Criminology 16(1): 5–20.

            2. Anton, D. and Shelton, D. (2011) Environmental Protection and Human Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

            3. Becker, H. (1963) Outsiders. New York: Free Press.

            4. Beetham, D. (1991) The Legitimation of Power. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

            5. Benton, T. (1998) “Rights and Justice on a Shared Planet: More Rights or New Relations?”, Theoretical Criminology 2(2): 149–175.

            6. Bernat, I. and Whyte, D. (2017) “State-Corporate Crime and the Process of Capital Accumulation: Mapping a Global Regime of Permission from Galicia to Morecambe Bay”, Critical Criminology 25(1): 71–86.

            7. Black, R. (2011) “Canada under Fire over Kyoto Protocol Exit”, BBC News, 13 December. Available online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16165033 (accessed 21 March 2018).

            8. Boyle, A. (2012) “Human Rights and the Environment: Where Next?”, The European Journal of International Law 23(3): 613–642.

            9. Brisman, A. and South, N. (2013) “Green-Cultural Criminology: An Exploratory Outline”, Crime, Media, Culture 9(2):115–135.

            10. Burgmann, M. and Burgmann, V. (2017) Green Bans, Red Union: The Saving of a City, 2nd ed. Sydney: New South Publishing.

            11. Cohen, S. (1993) “Human Rights and Crimes of the State: The Culture of Denial”, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 26(2): 97–115.

            12. Cohen, S. (2001) States of Denial. Cambridge: Polity Press.

            13. Connelly, S. (2007) “Mapping Sustainable Development as a Contested Concept”, Local Environment 12(3): 259–278.

            14. Council of Europe. (2012) “Manual on Human Rights and the Environment”. Available online at https://rm.coe.int/16806962d1 (accessed 21 March 2018).

            15. Cranston, M. (1967) “Human Rights: Real and Supposed”, in D. Raphael, ed., Political Theory and the Rights of Man (pp. 43–51). Indiana: Indiana University Press.

            16. Dauvergne, P. and Lebaron, G. (2014) Protest Inc: The Corporatization of Activism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

            17. Earth Day Network. (2016) “The Environment: A Battleground for Human Rights”. Available online at https://www.earthday.org/2016/06/29/environment-battleground-human-rights/ (accessed 21 March 2018).

            18. Earthwatch. (2016) “2016 Annual Report”. Available online at http://earthwatch.org/Portals/0/Downloads/About/2016-earthwatch-annual-report-US.pdf (accessed 21 March 2018).

            19. Earthwatch. (2017) “Engaging Business”. Available online at http://eu.earthwatch.org/Corporate-Partnerships/Partnership-Profiles (accessed 21 March 2018).

            20. Ellefsen, R. (2017) “Taking Sides? Issues of Bias and Partisanship When Researching Socio-political Conflict”, Critical Criminology 25(2): 231–244.

            21. European Court of Human Rights. (2018) “Environment and the European Convention on Human Rights”. Available online at https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/FS_Environment_ENG.pdf (accessed 21 March 2018).

            22. Gleick, P. (2007) The Human Right to Water. Oakland: Pacific Institute.

            23. Gould, K., Pellow, D. and Schnaiberg, A. (2004) “Interrogating the Treadmill of Production”, Organisation and Environment 17(3): 296–316.

            24. Gould, K., Pellow, D. and Schnaiberg, A. (2008) The Treadmill of Production. Oxon: Routledge.

            25. Goyes, D. and South, N. (2015) “Land-grabs, Biopiracy and the Inversion of Justice in Colombia”, British Journal of Criminology 56(3): 558–577.

            26. Green, P. and Ward, T. (2000) “State Crime, Human Rights, and the Limits of Criminology”, Social Justice 27(1): 101–115.

            27. Green, P. and Ward, T. (2004) State Crime. London: Pluto Press.

            28. Hall, M. (2013) Victims of Environmental Harm: Rights, Recognition and Redress under National and International Law. Abingdon: Routledge.

            29. Hall, M. (2014) “Environmental Harm and Environmental Victims: Scoping out a Green Victimology”, International Review of Victimology 20(1): 129–143.

            30. Hall, M. (2015) Exploring Green Crime. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

            31. Hall, M. (2018) “Environmental Victimization: Corporate Villainy or State Connivance?”, Radical Criminology, ISSN 1929–7912. Lincoln: University of Lincoln. Available online at: http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/15918/.

            32. Halsey, M. (1997) “Environmental Crime: Toward an Eco-Human Rights Approach”, Current Issues in Criminal Justice 8(3): 217–242.

            33. Hillyard, P., Pantazis, C., Tombs, S. and Gordon, D. (eds) (2004) Beyond Criminology: Taking Harm Seriously. London: Pluto Press.

            34. Hussain, Y. (2015) “Oilsands Dodge ‘Dirty’ Label in European Union After Directive Made Official”, Financial Post, 6 February. Available online at http://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/oilsands-crude-will-no-longer-be-singled-out-by-eu-after-directive-made-official (accessed 21 March 2018).

            35. Kauzlarich, D., Mullins, C. and Matthews, R. (2003) “A Complicity Continuum of State Crime”, Contemporary Justice Review 6(3): 241–254.

            36. Kearon, T. and Godfrey, B. (2007) “Setting the Scene: A Question of History”, in S. Walklate, ed., Handbook of Victims and Victimology (pp. 17–36). Cullompton: Willan.

            37. Knox, J. (2018) “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Issue of Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Enjoyment of a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment”. Available online at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session31/Documents/A%20HRC%2031%2052_E.docx (accessed 21 March 2018).

            38. Lasslett, K. (2012) “Power, Struggle and State Crime: Researching Through Resistance”, State Crime Journal 1(1): 126–148.

            39. Lasslett, K. (2013) “Beyond State-Fetishism: Developing a Theoretical Programme for State Crime Studies”, Revista Critica Penal y Poder 5: 115–137.

            40. Lasslett, K., Green, P. and Stańczak, D. (2015) “The Barbarism of Indifference: Sabotage, Resistance and State–Corporate Crime”, Theoretical Criminology 19(4): 514–533.

            41. LeBaron, G. (2013) “Green NGOs Cannot Take Big Business Cash and Save Planet”, The Conversation, 30 September. Available online at https://theconversation.com/green-ngos-cannot-take-big-business-cash-and-save-planet-18770 (accessed 21 March 2018).

            42. Lynch, M. (1990) “The Greening of Criminology”, Critical Criminologist 2: 1–5.

            43. Lynch, M. and Michalowski, R. (2010) Primer in Radical Criminology, 4th ed. London: Lynne Rienner.

            44. Maher, S. (2016) “Southern Sudanese Women's Resistance to State Crime”, State Crime Journal 5(2): 268–286.

            45. Moloney, C. and Chambliss, W. (2014) “Slaughtering the Bison, Controlling the Native Americans: A State Crime and Green Criminology Synthesis”, Critical Criminology 22(3): 319–338.

            46. Murphy, T. and Whitty, N. (2013) “Making History: Academic Criminology and Human Rights”, British Journal of Criminology 53(4): 568–587.

            47. Neikirk, A. and Nickson, R. (2017) “States of Impunity: Bhutanese Refugee Camps in Nepal”, State Crime Journal 6(1): 37–54.

            48. Nurse, A. (2017) “Green Criminology: Shining a Critical Lens on Environmental Harm”, Palgrave Communications 3(10): 1–4.

            49. Odysseos, L. (2015) “The Question Concerning Human Rights and Human Rightlessness: Disposability and Struggle in the Bhopal Gas Disaster”, Third World Quarterly 36(6): 1041–1059.

            50. Pemberton, S. (2015) Harmful Societies: Understanding Social Harm. Bristol: Policy Press.

            51. Redo, S. (2012) Blue Criminology: The Power of United Nations Ideas to Counter Crime Globally. Helsinki: European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control.

            52. Reiner, R. (2016) Crime. London: Polity Press.

            53. Rothe, D. (2009) “Introduction: Resisting State Criminality”, Social Justice 36(3): 1–3.

            54. Royal College of Physicians. (2016) “Every Breath We Take: The Lifelong Impact of Air Pollution”. Available online at https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution (accessed 21 March 2018).

            55. Ruggiero, V. and South, N. (2013) “Green Criminology and Crimes of the Economy: Theory, Research and Praxis”, Critical Criminology 21(3): 359–373.

            56. Schnaiberg, A. (1980) The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

            57. Schwendinger, H. and Schwendinger, J. (1975) “Defenders of Order or Guardians of Human Rights?”, in I. Taylor, P. Walton and J. Young, eds, Critical Criminology (pp. 113–146). London: Routledge.

            58. Short, D. and Szloucha, A. (2017) “Fracking Lancashire: The Planning Process, Social Harm and Collective Trauma”, Geoforum 98: 264–276.

            59. Shue, H. (1996) Basic Rights, 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

            60. Skinnider, E. (2011) Victims of Environmental Crime – Mapping the Issues. Vancouver: The International Centre for Criminal Law Reform & Criminal Justice Policy.

            61. Smith, P. (2015) “Petro-Politics in Alberta and Canada: A New Spaciality of Political Contestation?”, in M. Shrivistava and L. Stefanick, eds, Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Alberta (pp. 89–112). Athabasca: Athabasca University Press.

            62. Steger, T. (2007) Making the Case for Environmental Justice in Central and Eastern Europe. Budapest: CEU Centre for Environmental Policy and Law.

            63. Stretesky, P., Long, M. and Lynch, M. (2014) The Treadmill of Crime: Political Economy and Green Criminology. London: Routledge.

            64. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. (2018) “Improving Air Quality”. Available online at https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvfru/433/433.pdf (accessed 21 March 2018).

            65. Tombs, S. (2012) “State-Corporate Symbiosis in the Production of Crime and Harm”, State Crime Journal 1(2): 170–195.

            66. Tombs, S. (2016) Social Protection after the Crisis. Bristol: Policy Press.

            67. Tombs, S. and Whyte, D. (2015) “Counterblast: Crime, Harm and the State-Corporate Nexus”, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 54(1): 91–95.

            68. Tuncak, B. (2017) “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes on His Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. Available online at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/ToxicWastes/Pages/Visits.aspx (accessed 21 March 2018).

            69. Ulmanu, M., Evans, A. and Brown, G. (2017) “207 Environmental Defenders Have Been Killed in 2017 While Protecting Their Community's Land or Natural Resources”. The Guardian, 13 July. Available online at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2017/jul/13/the-defenders-tracker (accessed 21 March 2018).

            70. UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (1999) “General Comment No. 12. The Right to Adequate Food”. Available online at https://europa.eu/capacity4dev/hunger-foodsecurity-nutrition/document/general-comment-no-12-right-adequate-food (accessed 21 March 2018).

            71. UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (2000) “General Comment No. 14. The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health”. Available online at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=4slQ6QSmlBEDzFEovLCuW1AVC1NkPsgUedPlF1vfPMJ2c7ey6PAz2qaojTzDJmC0y%2B9t%2BsAtGDNzdEqA6SuP2r0w%2F6sVBGTpvTSCbiOr4XVFTqhQY65auTFbQRPWNDxL (accessed 21 March 2018).

            72. UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (2002) “General Comment No. 15: The Right to Water”. Available online at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/water/docs/CESCR_GC_15.pdf (accessed 21 March 2018).

            73. UN General Assembly. (1998) “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”. Available online at https://www.icc-cpi.int/nr/rdonlyres/ea9aeff7-5752-4f84-be94-0a655eb30e16/0/rome_statute_english.pdf (accessed 2 July 2018).

            74. United Nations. (1989) “Convention on the Rights of the Child”. Available online at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx (accessed 21 March 2018).

            75. Walters, R. (2013) “Air Crimes and Atmospheric Justice”, in N. South and A. Brisman, eds, Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology (pp. 134–150). London: Routledge.

            76. Ward, T. (2004) “State Harms”, in P. Hillyard, C. Pantazis, S. Tombs and D. Gordon, eds, Beyond Criminology: Taking Harm Seriously (pp. 84–100). London: Pluto Press.

            77. Ward, T. and Green, P. (2000) “Legitimacy, Civil Society and State Crime”, Social Justice 27(4): 76–93.

            78. Weber, L., Fishwick, E. and Marmo, M. (2014) Crime, Justice and Human Rights. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

            79. Weinhold, B. (2011) “Alberta's Oil Sands: Hard Evidence, Missing Data, New Promises”, Environmental Health Perspectives 119(3): 126–131.

            80. White, R. (2008) Crimes against Nature. Devon: Willan Publishing.

            81. White, R. (2009) “Environmental Victims and Resistance to State Crime through Transnational Activism”, Social Justice 36(3): 46–60.

            82. White, R. (2013) “The Conceptual Contours of Green Criminology”, in D. Westerhuis, R. Walters and T. Wyatt, eds, Emerging Issues in Green Criminology (pp. 17–33). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

            83. White, R. (2018) “Ecocentrism and Criminal Justice”, Theoretical Criminology 22: 342–362.

            84. World Wildlife Fund. (2016) “Corporate Partnerships Report”. Available online at https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2017-03/WWF-UK_Corporate_Partnerships_Report_2015-2016.pdf (accessed 21 March 2018).


            Comment on this article