Crime at the ASC...

Mathieu Deflem
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Published in The Criminologist, The Newsletter of the American Society of Criminology, March/April, 2003.

Also available in PDF format.

Please cite as: Deflem, Mathieu. 2003. "Crime at the ASC." The Criminologist 28(2):26.

Like many of you, I recently returned from another wonderful ASC meeting in Chicago. Fellow members of the ASC may be interested to hear of an experience I had at the meeting. I presented a paper on the international police aspects of counter-terrorism at a very well attended panel on criminology and the study of terrorism. Presenting the theoretical model of my research, I made a reference to my new book, Policing World Society, which had just been published by Oxford University Press that very same day. As a totally unabashed exercise in self-advertising, I showed the audience a copy of my book and had it pass around so everybody could have a look at my work. That was the last time I saw my book.

Following the session, I checked the conference room several times before going to the Oxford booth at the book exhibit, where perhaps my book would have been returned. The editors there, however, told me that books are routinely stolen at the meeting, so that surely my copy too was not taken by mistake. I still could not believe it. I checked the booth again the next few days and I went to the hotel’s lost and found every day of the meeting. When I last was there, I was told that about a dozen reports of stolen/lost books had been filed.

It was my understanding that the ASC brings together people interested in studying crime from various angles, but not necessarily including a participatory experiential perspective (though I would be the last to deny some involvement in deviance from time to time). I also deduced the ASC’s scholarly orientation from the fact that the Society’s newsletter is called ‘The Criminologist,’ not ‘The Criminal.’

Readers of this newsletter may be able to help me in trying to explain this event. Opportunity structure? Lack of support? Lack of control? Too much control? Turning-point in the life course? Your answer, please!

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