Researching Power and the Powerful in a Cold Climate

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Date(s) - 15 Apr 2014
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Monash Law Chambers

All welcome!

Hosted by Monash University, Criminology
Refreshments will follow the lecture.

RSVP: C.O.B. Wednesday 8th April to


Professor Steve Tombs, The Open University and Dr David Whyte, University of Liverpool

What does it mean to undertake ‘critical’ research of power and the powerful? We address this question through a consideration of what we term the counter-hegemonic role of the academic. Such a role requires more than scholarly inquiry contributing to social awareness and reform, more than fleeting relationships with victims, the marginalised, and/or social movements who are involved in struggle.  It requires both a long term involvement in social movements and a commitment to work that supports social transformation.  Drawing on our own experiences of seeking to engage in counter-hegemonic work around the crimes and harms produced by states and corporations, we consider in particular what it means to do such work in a ‘cold climate’ – by which we mean the hostilities of broader economic, social and political contexts, as well as the more local hostilities which increasingly characterise Higher Education sectors across the globe.

Professor Steve Tombs, The Open University

Steve Tombs is a Professor of Criminology at the Open University, England. He has a long-standing interest in the incidence, nature and regulation of corporate and state crime and harm, and has published widely on these matters. He works closely with the Hazards movement in the UK, was a founder member and Chair of the Centre for Corporate Accountability, and is a Trustee and Board Member of Inquest.

Dr David Whyte, University of Liverpool

David Whyte is Reader in Sociology at the University of Liverpool where he conducts research on the relationship between the rule of law and state-corporate power. His books include Crimes of the Powerful (Open University Press, 2009) and Regulatory Surrender (Institute of Employment Rights, 2010 with Steve Tombs).  He is currently engaged in long-term collaborative research with UK Corporate Watch and the Institute of Employment Rights.

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About the Criminological Horizons lecture series

The Criminological Horizons public lecture is hosted annually by the criminology discipline at Monash University. The lecture series showcases leading international thinkers within criminology and cognate fields whose work points the way to a more just and inclusive future. Lectures have a global focus, inspired by the challenge posed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who called for more inclusive and enabling forms of governance, which put people at the centre of all policy endeavours. Lectures in the series undertake critical reappraisals of crime, justice and social control which go to the heart of this globally focused but locally relevant vision.