School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Imperial legacies and southern penal spaces: A study of hunting nomads in postcolonial India
    Brown, M ; Jadhav, VK ; Raghavan, V ; Sinha, M (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-12)
    Southern penal spaces are marked by resemblances and affinities with colonial regimes of control, yet they also reflect quite distinctive postcolonial social and political dynamics found in the global south. Here, legacies of control, forms of exile, status reductions, hierarchical social stratifications and other like forms come together in robust modes of containment suitable for managing ‘marginal’ and ‘suspect’ populations. We draw on ethnographic empirical work with two hunting nomadic groups in India by two of the co-authors who are working with the Kheria Sabar community in Purulia district in West Bengal and Pardhi community in Mumbai. The latter were subject to notification under the notorious Criminal Tribes Act 1871, marking them out as ‘criminal tribes’ until their de-notification shortly after India's independence in 1947, yet the Kheria Sabars too feel its effects. We draw attention here to the continual negotiation and (re)fabrication of both state and citizen at the point of their everyday contact. Our notion of southern penal spaces contributes to penal theory by breaking from northern societies’ focus on institutional carcerality and capturing instead both the variety and the dispersal of penal and punitive practices found in postcolonial societies of the south.
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    Truth and Method in Southern Criminology
    Brown, M (Springer, 2021)
    What does it mean to “do” southern criminology? What does this entail and what demands should it place on us as criminologists ethically and methodologically? This article addresses such questions through a form dialogue between the Global North and the Global South. At the enter of this dialogue is a set of questions about ethical conduct in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding in human relations. These develop into a conversation that engages South Asian scholars working at the forefront of critical social science, history and theory with a foundational text of European hermeneuticist theory and practice, Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method, published in 1960. Out of this exercise in communication across culture, histories and knowledge practices emerges a new kind of dialogue and a new way of thinking about ethical practice in criminology. To give such abstractions a concrete reference point, the article illustrates their possibilities and tensions through a case study of penal reform and the question of whether so- called “failed” Northern penal methods - like the prison should be exported to the Global South. The article thus works dialogically back and forth through these scholars’ accounts of ethical conduct, research practice, the weight of history, and the work of theory with a very concrete and common criminological context in sight. The result is what might be understood as a norm of ethical engagement and an epistemology of dialogue.