Historical Criminology: Australian and New Zealand Perspectives
The time has never been more appropriate than now for a discussion about the integration of history and criminology in Australia and New Zealand. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the people of both countries were subject to extraordinary government interventions into their daily lives to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Given a respiratory pandemic of the same scale had not occurred for 100 years, we watched in real time as policymakers fumbled for guidance for the benefits and likely social consequences of imposing police-enforced legal restrictions on otherwise normal behaviours like freedom of movement and gathering with friends. Whether these were ultimately the correct decisions for controlling the disease is perhaps a question for others. Indeed, analysis of the interactions between the public and the state have always been the purview of criminologists and historians, yet we ceded this ground to epidemiologists who have little expertise in key issues of criminalisation and offending, or justice and policing, which are central to any system of state control.
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