The “Kriminologisches Journal” (KrimJ) is a quarterly scientific journal which is published by Beltz-Juventa. The journal features original scientific articles, discussion papers, practice and research reports on criminological theory and practice in German and English language. The thematic focus is on critical approaches to the structures and measures of social control bodies. All manuscripts undergo selective editorial and peer-review assessment prior to acceptance for publication. The peer-review process is strictly anonymous.

The “Kriminologisches Journal” is available both in print and online. Single issues and subscriptions are available at Beltz Juventa.

Issue 4/2020


Special Issue: "Potentials of narrative positions for a critical criminology"












Editorial (German)

Martina Althoff, Bernd Dollinger & Holger Schmidt

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Full papers

Narrative Kriminologie? Eine kritische Reflexion neuerer narrativer Positionen der Kriminologie (German)

Narrative criminology? A critical reflection of recent narrative positions in criminology

Bernd Dollinger & Holger Schmidt

In English-speaking criminology there is a lot of talk about narratives at the moment. Recently, the umbrella term narrative criminology has been established for research that relates narratives and crime or crime control. This is a new approach to an older topic; narratives have been a subject of criminological research in many ways for quite some time. We begin by describing the starting point of the topic in order to contrast it with the specific direction taken by leading representatives of narrative criminology. In particular, we focus on the question of whether it can rightly claim to open up new theoretical and/or empirical perspectives on critical criminology. We raise doubts in this regard. From our point of view, it seems difficult that narrative criminology is etiologically oriented to no small degree. Moreover, it makes use of a dualistic ontology that is simultaneously committed to a “realistic“ and a “constructivist“ understanding of reality. Although this approach can establish different criminological references, the downside is a certain inconsistency. Therefore, we postulate a more consistent constructivist orientation, which makes it possible to analyze the constitution of crime as a culturally embedded narrative practice.

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Devianz als Diskriminierungseffekt. Migration, Internationalität und Abweichendes Verhalten in den Narrationen eines devianten Jugendlichen in Japan (German)

Deviation as a discriminatory effect

Stephanie Osawa

This article deals with stereotypes on ‘foreign criminality’ in Japan and examines from the perspective of narrative criminology, how offenders with an immigrant background deal with narratives that depict foreigners as crime-prone. This is illustrated by the example of a young offender with an immigrant background. The analysis shows that the young person describes deviance in close relation to his internationality, (1) describing it as part of his personality, (2) describing it as provoked by discrimination, and (3) describing criminalization processes that originate in the color of his skin. Through this example, the article demonstrates that the perspective of narrative criminology can enrich the Japanese discussion on ‘foreign criminality’ by revealing structures and mechanisms that in this discussion have been underexposed so far.

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Alltagsnarrationen über Konflikte und Kriminalität (German)

Everyday narratives about conflicts and crime

Johannes Stehr

The article discusses the potential of narratives as a perspective that enables a critical analyses of the concept of crime. In the contemporary debate about “narrative criminology” and “narrative victimology” two older studies (“Nuisances and Life-Catastrophies” and “Legendary Everyday Life”) are reinterpreted in the context of a narrative ethnography of everyday life, mainly to work out the critical potential of a narrative perspective, in which crime is conceptualised as a hegemonic and institutional narrative. From a perspective of the everyday life alternative narratives can be identified – conflict narratives, narratives of trouble – which find affirmation as “narrative property” in everyday situations, but which are transformed and expropriated through the institution of “crime & punishment”. The dominant narrative of crime on the other side is appropriated in everyday life as a narrative resource and is used to construct moral narratives and stories of danger, with which practical moral questions in everyday life are negotiated and situational uncertainties are dealt with.

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Narrative Erschöpfung – Stasis im Recht zwischen Erzählen und Argumentieren (German)

Narrative exhaustion – stasis in law between telling and arguing

Kati Hannken-Illjes

There are stories that are exuberant and wrestle with plausibility. As a case study this paper follows the career of such a story and asks how the defense deals with it. Using three theoretical starting points – the position of narrative in criminal proceedings, the concept of counter narrative and the notion of counter narrative as an argumentative strategy in the light of stasis theory – the paper analyses, based on data from ethnographic fieldwork, a case of double attempted murder.

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Obituary for Axel Groenemeyer

Bernd Dollinger & Holger Schmidt

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Book reviews

Jennifer Fleetwood/Lois Presser/Sveinung Sandberg/Thomas Ugelvik: The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology (Zech)

Bernd Dollinger: Changing narratives of youth crime. From social causes to threats to the Social (Feilzer)

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Open-Access publications

Open Access publications

From issue 1/2022 onwards all English-language papers published in the Kriminologisches Journals will be made available as open access papers. The papers can be downloaded from the publisher's homepage or via content-select. Additionally the download links can be found if you click on the respective issues.

German papers can also be published via open access within the framework of the usual conditions of our publisher Beltz Juventa.

Changes on the Editorial Board

New editors-in-chief of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of Issue 2/2021the position of editor-in-chief passed over from Meropi Tzanetakis to Christine Graebsch and Jens Puschke.

Drugs and Digital Technologies

Call for Abstracts for a special issue of the KrimJ

Illicit drug markets are undergoing a significant transformation: digital technologies have a profound influence on how illicit drugs are accessed, and they have also changed information- sharing about drugs. In addition, the proliferation of information and communication technologies has changed law enforcement activity. Digitalisation also comes with rapid changes in communicative environments across time and geographic location. While online forums and other internet resources have massively increased the amount of available information and discourse on psychoactive substances for more than two decades, mobile phones, encrypted platforms, cryptocurrencies, social media and messaging applications have recently diversified the ways in which illicit drugs are distributed. This diversity includes hybrid forms of distribution, e.g. using social media applications to make physical appointments.


New Editorial Board

New Editors of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of January 1st 2021 the Editorial Board of the Kriminologisches Journal consists of Prof. Dr. Jens Puschke LL.M, Dr. Meropi Tzanetakis, Dr. Simon Egbert, Prof. Dr. Christine Graebsch, Prof. Dr. Dörte Negnal und Dr. Bernd Werse.