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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 4 1

Description at the Edge? I-It / I-Thou Relations and Action in Prisons Research


I argue in this article that, far from being ‘policy advisors’, our main moral purpose in research is ‘getting the description right’. Doing this takes time, effort and energy. Good description constitutes what Ferrell and Hamm (1998) called ‘edgework’. It requires courage and skill, and an I-Thou orientation toward our participants. The paradox, as Paul Rock (2014) suggests, is that whilst ‘policy change’ should not be the primary aim of criminological research, research done well can make poor policy choices, or ‘facile gestures’, less defensible, and can have impact on the world of practice in indirect as well as direct ways.



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Pages:18 to 32
Section: Articles
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