1st Edition

Victims Trauma, testimony and justice

By Ross McGarry, Sandra Walklate Copyright 2015
    192 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The study of victims of crime is a central concern for criminologists around the world. In recent years, some victimologists have become increasingly engaged in positivist debates on the differences between victims and non-victims, how these differences can be measured and what could be done to improve the victims' experience of the criminal justice system. Written by experts in the field, this book embraces a much wider understanding of social harms and asks which victims' voices are heard and why.

    McGarry and Walklate break new ground with this innovative and accessible book; it offers a broad discussion of social harms, the role of the victim in society and the inter-relationship between trauma, testimony and justice and asks:

    • how has harm been understood and under what circumstances have those harms been recognised?
    • how and under what circumstances are those harms articulated?
    • how and under what circumstances are the voices of those who have been harmed listened to?

    Each chapter draws on case studies and a range of questions designed to assist in reflection and critical engagement. This book is perfect reading for students taking courses on victimology, victims and society, victims’ rights and criminal justice.

    Introduction  1. Exploring the Concept of ‘Victim’  Trauma  2. Traumatised Individuals?  3. Traumatised Collectivities?  Testimony  4. Testimony as Data?  5. Testimony as Practice?  Justice  6. Justice as Therapy?  7. Justice as Reconciliation?  8. Towards a Cultural Victimology?


    Ross McGarry is Lecturer in Criminology within the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool. He has written widely in international journals on criminology, victimology and military sociology. He is the co-editor (with Sandra Walklate) of other forthcoming texts, including Criminology and War: Transgressing the Borders from Routledge, and the Palgrave Handbook on Criminology and War.

    Sandra Walklate is Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology at the University of Liverpool and is internationally recognised for her work in and around criminal victimization, particularly the fear of crime. She has written extensively with Ross McGarry and Gabe Mythen on risk, resilience and cultural victimology and in 2014 received the British Society of Criminology’s award for outstanding achievement.

    ‘Some have suggested that victimology be extended beyond its conventional boundaries; this book shows how it is done. A valuable contribution to the field, which will captivate students and scholars alike.’ - Robert Elias, Professor of Politics & Legal Studies, University of San Francisco, USA

    ‘This book is something new under the sun: a lively, politically astute study aimed at widening the compass of victimology to include an emergent cultural victimology and victimology of collectivities. It is the most interesting victimology text I have seen in a long while.’ - Nicole Rafter, Professor of Criminology, Northeastern University, USA

    'Victims: Trauma, testimony and justice exposes how the processes of victimization are as much cultural, structural and social as they are personal and emotional. It reinserts the real and symbolic human,  historical and social dimensions of victimisation back into victimology. It takes a radically innovative approach that engages the reader through case studies that illustrate the complexity of victims’ experience of trauma, justice, suffering and resilience. Victims: Trauma, testimony and justice is essential reading for a wide range of professionals in the justice sector, as well as students and academics of criminology, victimology, sociology, social work, psychology, law and gender.’ - Kerry Carrington, Head of School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

    ‘Victimology has recently undergone a dramatic transformation within criminology linked to the increasing social recognition of victims, who had long been objects of suspicion. Accounting for this moral inversion and defending a qualitative approach, Ross McGarry and Sandra Walklate propose a renewed perspective on the field through case studies on trauma, testimony, and justice. Their valuable endeavor thus paves the way for a long-awaited dialogue between criminologists and the other social scientists who have explored the ambiguous emergence of the figure of the victim.’ - Didier Fassin, Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA

    'This is an excellent book and provides an ideal platform from which to start thinking and imagining how victimology could develop and expand its ideological and methodological boundaries as a discipline. It offers a sophisticated, critically informed and stimulating analysis of crucial, but often marginalized, issues related to victimization and its multi-layered meanings. The authors provide a consistent, rich and thought-provoking account that problematizes taken-for-granted notions about victims and victimhood through the lens of trauma, suffering and justice. As a result, the book artfully invites the reader to think differently about the complexities of victimhood within contemporary mediatized culture and the role of the (cultural) victimologist in grasping and documenting social harms as a creative observer and moral entrepreneur… Overall, this book is a welcome addition to criminology for it raises important questions on victimhood, invites the reader to a critical engagement with issues pertaining to criminal victimization and its harms and challenges deep-rooted notions about victims and their experiences. It is essential reading for all those who believe that transgressing boundaries and being creative can help us learn and understand more about social reality and harms.' - Jenny Korkodeilou, Sheffield University, International Review of Victimology

    "This is a thought-provoking book that challenges the reader to take a critical view to understanding forms of harm that commonly sit outside everyday understandings of victimization. There is certainly an appeal to using this as a textbook, particularly through its clear structure and use of case studies, but it has a much broader appeal to those interested in criminology and victimology. It is a significant and welcome addition to victimology, and I am sure that it will have an enduring appeal."Claire Fox, University of Manchester, UK, Theoretical Criminology