Call For Papers: Special Issue of Crime, Law and Social Change

Traditions and Innovations on Qualitative Methods in Criminology

Edited by:

Rita Faria

School of Criminology – Faculty of Law of the University of Porto

Interdisciplinary Research Center on Crime, Justice and Security

Olga Petintseva

Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP)

Faculty of Law and Criminology – Ghent University

Qualitative methods in Criminology have been witnessing a resurgence in the last years. Examples of such resurgence are the publication of the The Routledge Handbook of Qualitative Criminology in 2015, or the creation of the European Society of Criminology’s Working Group on Qualitative Research Methodologies and Epistemologies, in 2017. Criminological (sub)fields such as Green Criminology, Cultural Criminology or Narrative Criminology have also flourished in the last years, producing rich analyses stemming from traditional and innovative qualitative methodologies. Contemporary criminologically relevant topics such as refugees and migrants’ experience of (systemic) violence, social movements and their repression, or the impact of global pandemic have also been approached using criminological qualitative methods. Simultaneously, traditional topics have been revisited using new methodological approaches, such as multisensory accounts of prison realities and life in prison, spatial re-arrangements affecting vulnerable populations in cities, experiences of sex workers, etc.  However, diverse challenges still exist in carrying out qualitative research with offenders, victims and the powerful. Such challenges include: getting ethical clearance, accounting for the recent rules for data protection; accessing and recruiting people to talk about their experiences with crime, victimization or imprisonment; the fact that numbers push policy and only seldom qualitative analyses are used (in themselves) in evaluating and assessing interventions related to crime prevention and crime control; publishing qualitative research in high-ranked journals. Add to this the fact that qualitative methods have been applied differently not only across criminological (sub)fields and topics, but also in different geographical contexts and departing from diverse epistemological traditions (which also connects to whether Criminology has been considered an autonomous research discipline). Challenging the traditional epistemological view according to which Criminology borrows its methods from other (social) sciences, and critically questioning the dominant Global-North criminological research agenda, this special issue calls for papers that delve into the uses of qualitative criminological research ‘from the periphery’. The purpose is to offer a broad, rich and original view on how qualitative methods have been and are being applied in Criminology, with a special focus on ground-breaking topics and approaches to qualitative methodologies and epistemologies, which usually remain absent in mainstream criminology journals.

The special issue will receive abstract proposals on (but not limited to):

- peripheral criminological topics studied using qualitative methods

- peripheral qualitative methodologies and epistemologies used in Criminology

- peripheral geographic traditions and uses of qualitative research in Criminology

- original approaches to producing and analyzing qualitative data in crime and crime control

- specific methodological concerns for qualitative researchers in Criminology.

All submissions should have a strong methodological focus/sensitivity and explicitly address the

‘periphery’ question (i.e. findings of separate studies merely ‘applying’ qualitative research methods will not be considered).

For submissions, please email Rita Faria ( or Olga Petintseva ( the following details:

- the name(s) of the author(s) and their affiliation (institution/department, city/state and


- working title of the proposed paper

- abstract of 150 to 250 words

- 4 to 6 keywords


o Submission abstract proposals: 3 May 2021

o Decision on abstracts: 15 May 2021 and, potentially, invitations to write the full paper

o Submission full paper: 15 September 2021

All papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process, according to the common review procedures of Crime Law and Social Change. However, to ensure diversity, in the selection procedure, editors of the special issue will take into consideration gender, seniority and geographic balance of authors and plurality of approaches and perspectives. Acceptance of the abstract/invitation to elaborate a full paper does not imply that the paper will be published.