Critical Criminology and Literary Criticism 9781529219692

There is increasing pressure on the humanities to justify their value and on criminology to undertake interdisciplinary

191 51 6MB

English Pages 144 [142] Year 2021

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Critical Criminology and Literary Criticism

Table of contents :
Front Cover
Critical Criminology and Literary Criticism
Copyright information
Table of contents
About the Author
ONE Introduction
Once upon a conference
Theories of criminological fiction
The structure of this book
TWO Criminological Criticism
Complex narratives
Fourfold allegories
Representational capacity
Extra-representational capacity
Criminological criticism
THREE The Critical Sociology of Mad Max: Fury Road
Text, sex, and context
Demystifying male supremacism
Radical feminism
FOUR The Urban Zemiology of Carnival Row
Decoding racism
Critique of decivilisation
Urban revanchism
FIVE The Cultural Criminology of The Cuckoo’s Calling
Analysing class condition
Cultural criticism
Celebrated elitism
SIX Critical Criminological Methodology
Representation and reality
Literary philosophy
Fictional testimony
Critical criminological methodology
SEVEN Interdisciplinary Intervention
Allegorical criminology
The criminological critic
The critical criminologist
Interdisciplinary intervention
EIGHT Conclusion
Critical criminological method
Critical criminological methodology
Critically ever after
Back Cover

Citation preview



First published in Great Britain in 2022 by Bristol University Press University of Bristol 1–​9 Old Park Hill Bristol BS2 8BB UK t: +44 (0)117 954 5940 e: [email protected] Details of international sales and distribution partners are available at © Bristol University Press 2022 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978-​1-​5292-​1967-​8 hardcover ISBN 978-​1-​5292-​1968-​5 ePub ISBN 978-​1-​5292-​1969-​2 ePdf The right of Rafe McGregor to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved: no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Bristol University Press. Every reasonable effort has been made to obtain permission to reproduce copyrighted material. If, however, anyone knows of an oversight, please contact the publisher. The statements and opinions contained within this publication are solely those of the author and not of the University of Bristol or Bristol University Press. The University of Bristol and Bristol University Press disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any material published in this publication. Bristol University Press works to counter discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability, age and sexuality. Cover design by Dave Worth Front cover image: Alamy: Photo12/​Archives Snark

Contents About the Author Acknowledgements

iv v

one Introduction 1 two Criminological Criticism 8 three The Critical Sociology of Mad Max: Fury Road 24 four The Urban Zemiology of Carnival Row 42 five The Cultural Criminology of The 60 Cuckoo’s Calling six Critical Criminological Methodology 78 seven Interdisciplinary Intervention 94 eight Conclusion 109 Notes References Index

116 118 129


About the Author Rafe McGregor is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Edge Hill University, where he researches political violence, media and culture, and policing. He is the author of A Criminology of Narrative Fiction (2021) and Narrative Justice (2018) and has published in criminology, philosophy, policing, politics, literature, and education journals.



Acknowledgements This work has been supported in part by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project UIP-​2020-​02-​1309.




Once upon a conference ‘I was young. It was a conference. “Policing Split Cities.” They had sessions on Budapest and Jerusalem and Berlin, and Besźel and Ul Qoma.’ So Inspector Tyador Borlú informs Constable Lizbyet Corwi in China Miéville’s (2009: 90) The City & the City. The conference I have in mind was more recent, had a different title, and was the most prestigious literary studies conference I have attended. The chair of my panel, a professor for whom I have great respect, referred to each contribution as an ‘intervention’. My contribution concerned the representations of social control in Octavia Butler’s (1993) Parable of the Sower, Nalo Hopkinson’s (1998) Brown Girl in the Ring, and Miéville’s novel. My idea was that literature in general and science fiction in particular can be a powerful catalyst for what critical criminologists refer to as the criminological imagination, an interpretation of the social world that reintegrates personal troubles with public issues or, to use social scientific terminology, reconciles agency and structure in explaining the causes of harm. An intervention is an act of interposing or interfering in an affair so as to affect its course or consequences. I’d have been delighted if my presentation had intervened in social reality, but the only state of affairs whose course or consequences it was likely to alter were the thoughts of the audience and even that was an optimistic assessment. My contribution did not, however, seem any worse (or any better) than those of my fellow panellists and all the professor’s courtesy did was draw my attention to the fact that no one at the



conference was actually doing anything that was going to make a difference to the life of anyone who wasn’t in the audience. I must be careful here to avoid appearing to endorse the neoliberalisation of higher education, which I discuss briefly in Chapter Seven and to which I am unequivocally and resolutely opposed. I am not interested in quantifying the results of my research beyond what the Research Excellence Framework in the UK compels me to do every seven years, but I do think that academics who study literature (whatever their discipline) should do more with their research than find interesting things to say about wonderful books that only a tiny percentage of the global population will ever read. This may seem unreasonable to literary studies and other humanities disciplines, but many of the best scholars in these disciplines are already using their expertise to make genuine interventions in social reality. I can think of three –​with what might seem like unlikely specialisations in Romantic literature, neo-​medievalism, and high modernism respectively –​from the small pool of people with whom I’ve worked in the last decade. My participation in the conference drew my attention to the fact that I am not one of them and that my research on J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello (McGregor 2015a), Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang (McGregor 2015b), and Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (McGregor 2020b) has made no difference to anyone’s life. This book is a response to that realisation, my solution to the problem of how one can practise literary criticism and achieve social impact. The gracious but entirely inaccurate description of my research as an intervention reminded me of this passage in William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s (1990: 97) The Difference Engine, where Laurence Oliphant (a historical character) tries to persuade Edward Mallory (the protagonist) that the resources of the Geographical Society should be dedicated to human rather than physical geography: ‘Permit me to further explain the purpose of my visit, Dr Mallory. Within the Geographical, some consider that the



Society might be better advised, rather than plunging into Africa to discover the sources of the Nile, to investigate the sources of our own society. Why confine exploration to physical geography, when there are so many problems of political, and indeed moral, geography, problems as yet unsolved?’ ‘Interesting,’ Mallory said, quite at a loss as to what his visitor might be getting at. ‘As a prominent explorer,’ Oliphant said, ‘what might you say to a proposition of the following sort?’ The man’s gaze, curiously, seemed fixed now on the middle distance. ‘Suppose, sir, that one were to explore not the vastness of Wyoming but a specific corner of our own London …’ Mallory nodded meaninglessly, and briefly entertained the possibility that Oliphant was mad. Mallory is unable to grasp the significance of studying social reality or the urgency of the need for social intervention, a self-​ reflexive irony in a novel that is itself an allegorical exploration of the social construction of reality. Theories of criminological fiction There have been only three sustained criminological engagements with fiction as a source of knowledge about crime and harm to date: Vincenzo Ruggiero’s (2003) Crime in Literature: Sociology of Deviance and Fiction, Jon Frauley’s (2010) Criminology, Deviance, and the Silver Screen: The Fictional Reality and the Criminological Imagination, and my own A Criminology of Narrative Fiction (McGregor 2021a). My work draws heavily on Frauley’s and he, in turn, complements and complicates Ruggiero’s pioneering contribution to the discipline. Ruggiero’s (2003) aim in Crime in Literature is to use canonical literary works as a tool for communicating sociological meaning and elaborating criminological analysis. His thesis is that crime and crime control can be viewed



through a literary rather than legal lens and that the literary lens draws attention to the significance of value, emotion, and the imagination in conceptions of crime and its control. Ruggiero approaches the literary works through what I (McGregor 2021a: 37) refer to as a ‘critical realist framework’ (emphasis in original). Frauley (2010) identifies three elements that underpin this framework: independence of meaning, authorisation, and the relationship between textual meaning and extratextual reality. The text is independent of both the author and the reader and it is the text rather than authorial intention that authorises meaning, which is produced by the reader within the constraints established by the text. The relationship between textual meaning and extratextual reality is then determined by a combination of: linguistic structure, the analytic languages of criminology, the practices of reading, and the extent to which the fiction is characterised by truth as well as invention. As such, Ruggiero’s approach to literature is realist, recognising that there is a necessary relation between fiction and reality in consequence of which fiction can be a source of knowledge about social reality. Frauley (2010) develops the critical realist framework in Criminology, Deviance, and the Silver Screen, arguing first for a greater recognition of the significance of theory and the practice of theorising within criminology and then for the value of fictional realities for theory and theorising. He maintains that the fictional realities presented in cinema both exemplify concepts and theories and provide empirical referents for concepts and theories. The first of these refers to the way in which feature films are able to represent criminological concepts and theories in a particularly dramatic or captivating way that cannot be reproduced in the classroom or in an academic monograph. The second refers to the way in which cinematic reality can provide a case study against which criminological concepts and theories can be tested for their relevance for and application to social reality. Frauley demonstrates that films are not only able to



illustrate criminological theories, but provide protracted illustrations that exemplify all of the concepts that constitute a particular theory. These illustrations are created by means of the integration of cinematic content with cinematic form and produce a complex reciprocal relationship between cinematic fiction and criminological theory in which the textured detail of the cinematic fiction enriches the criminological theory and the criminological theory enhances the cinematic experience by revealing deeper and more nuanced layers of meaning. In A Criminology of Narrative Fiction (McGregor 2021a), I drew on both Frauley and my previous work in narrative criminology (McGregor 2018) to answer the question of whether narrative fiction can have aetiological value; that is, whether narrative fiction can provide an explanation of the causes of crime or harm. I identified my theory of the criminological value of fiction as emergent from the narrative criminological framework and distinguished from the critical realist framework on the basis of moving beyond the analytic values of narrative fiction established by Ruggiero and Frauley to its aetiological values. My view is that textual meaning is co-​created by authorial intention and reader interpretation and that the relationship between the text and extratextual reality is by means of reference to universals (which I discuss in Chapter Two of this book). I argued that criminological fiction can provide at least the following three types of criminological knowledge: phenomenological (representing what certain experiences are like), counterfactual (representing possible but non-​existent situations), and mimetic (representing everyday reality in detail and with accuracy). This criminological knowledge consists of data that explains the causes of crime or harm and that can be used to improve policies, procedures, and practices aimed at the reduction of crime or harm. Critical Criminology and Literary Criticism is completely compatible with my criminology of narrative fiction, but is neither a revision nor a development of the earlier theory.



The structure of this book The rest of this book sets out a new methodology for critical criminology by exploring the aetiological value of allegories. I introduce my (McGregor 2021a) conception of complex narratives and Fredric Jameson’s (2019) conception of fourfold allegories to propose a method of interpretation and appreciation that I call criminological criticism in Chapter Two. In the next three chapters, I practise criminological criticism on three allegories (a feature film, a television series, and a novel), demonstrating how they provide insight into the harms of sexism, racism, and elitism (class-​based prejudice) respectively: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) in Chapter Three, Prime Video’s Carnival Row (2019) in Chapter Four, and J.K. Rowling’s (2013) The Cuckoo’s Calling in Chapter Five. Having established criminological criticism as a method for critical criminology, I match it to a rationale and a theory of research in Chapter Six, presenting a fully-​fledged methodology. The theory is an adaptation of Iris Vidmar Jovanović’s (2019; Vidmar 2010, 2019a, 2019b) theory of literary philosophy and conception of fictional testimony, apprehending allegories as a special kind of testimony by authors, directors, or studios and, in consequence, as an alternative way of doing critical criminology. Having established criminological criticism as a methodology for critical criminology, I turn to the questions of if and how allegories can contribute to the reduction of harm: whether criminological criticism can constitute an actual intervention in social reality, in Chapter Seven. I sketch a model for collaboration between criminological critics and critical criminologists that takes advantage of the synergy between the expertise of each, recommending that the former abstract and articulate critical criminological hypotheses and theories from allegorical sources that are then evaluated and tested by the latter, who deploy the standard range of theoretical and empirical social scientific tools. In Chapter Eight I summarise my argument for criminological criticism as an alternative



way of doing critical criminology and present my conclusion, which is twofold: collaboration between literary studies and critical criminology is beneficial to both disciplines and interdisciplinary research between the humanities and the social sciences can make actual interventions in harm and social injustice.



Criminological Criticism

Complex narratives Stories are representations and a representation is something that stands for something else, for example a word on a page standing for an object in the world or a portrait standing for a person living or dead. Stories are instantiated in so many genres, by so many modes of representation, and across so many media channels in the 21st century that it is easier to begin by identifying representations that are not stories. These include lists and diaries (with which all readers will be familiar), annals and chronicles (old-​fashioned histories), most contemporary poems (such as lyric poetry), and most conversations (where one may set out to tell a story, but usually fails courtesy of interruption, digression, or both). Stories are made rather than found, intentionally produced by a creator, and the identity of the creator is partly determined by the story’s mode of representation, media channel or both, for example: author (novel), director (feature film), or studio (television series). ‘Story’ is sometimes used to denote something distinct from ‘narrative’, but I shall employ the two terms as synonyms. A story or narrative consists of two basic and essential components: a sequence of events, which may be real or imagined, and the representation of those events (McGregor 2021a). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) is an autobiography of the first twenty years of Frederick Douglass’ life, but it does not include everything that happened to him from 1818 to 1838. Indeed, it would be impossible to


Criminological Criticism

include every event in one’s life in a representation of that life and narratives are, in consequence, selective (White 1987). A narrative representation thus represents only a selection of the entire sequence of events it takes as its subject. The proliferation of internet technology has not only increased the number of narrative representations in existence exponentially, but increased the proportion of those representations that are short in length and simple in structure (Presser 2018). These are called, variously, basic narratives, notional narratives, or micronarratives. Strictly speaking, diaries, annals, chronicles, and conversations are narrative representations because they are basic narratives, but they are not narratives in the sense in which I am interested in narrative representation, that is complex narratives. Narrative representations are not simply divided into two groups, however, basic and complex. Narrativity as a property of a representation is, instead, gradational, proceeding in a continuum from basic narratives to non-​basic narratives to complex narratives to the very complex narratives called fourfold allegories. My focus in this book is on fourfold allegories, but I begin with the broader category of complex narratives. A complex narrative is: the product of an agent that is high in narrativity in virtue of representing one or more agents and two or more events which are causally connected, thematically unified, and conclude (McGregor 2021a). Complex narratives can be verbal or visual (or some combination of the two) and fictional or nonfictional (or some combination of the two). The manner in which the representation of agency and the representation of event contribute to narrativity is straightforward, but the connection among events is more controversial. The causal connection requires that events earlier in the sequence either cause or contribute to events later in the sequence, but the connection is so strong in complex narratives that it contributes to their thematic unity, understood as a common thread upon which the representation focuses. The final feature, closure, emerges from thematic



unity. Complex narratives conclude rather than terminate, providing readers or audiences with a tangible and meaningful sense of an ending. Peter Goldie (2012: 2) employs a definition of a complex narrative that also describes emplotment, the process by which a sequence of events is transformed into a narrative representation: A narrative or story is something that can be told or narrated, or just thought through in narrative thinking. It is more than just a bare annal or chronicle or list of a sequence of events, but a representation of those events which is shaped, organized, and coloured, presenting those events, and the people involved in them, from a certain perspective or perspectives, and thereby giving narrative structure –​coherence, meaningfulness, and evaluative and emotional import –​to what is related. The combination of causal connectivity, thematic unity, and closure produces a representation that is essentially perspectival: the presentation of people, places, and events from a particular point of view. The perspective that constitutes a complex narrative produces a framework, which Gregory Currie (2010: 86) identifies as ‘a preferred set of cognitive, evaluative, and emotional responses to the story’. In other words, the creators of narratives invite those who experience them to adopt certain emotional responses and evaluative attitudes to the characters, actions, and settings represented. To attribute value to an entity is to judge that the entity counts in some way, that it is worth something. Complex narratives can be valuable in all sorts of ways, some of which are relevant to narrativity and some of which are not. My interest is restricted to first the values that are supervenient upon the narrativity of the representation and second to those that are realised in the experience of a complex narrative. Of the various values that meet these criteria, I am interested in four on the basis of their philosophical significance: aesthetic value,


Criminological Criticism

cognitive value (or epistemic value, the terms are employed as synonyms), ethical value (or moral value, also synonyms), and political value. The aesthetic value of a complex narrative is the pleasure or satisfaction of the experience of that narrative, which is a function of the simultaneous and interactive activation of one’s senses, one’s imagination, one’s emotions, and one’s intellect (McGregor 2016). The cognitive, ethical, and political values of a complex narrative are all functions of its narrative framework. The cognitive value of a complex narrative is the extent to which it provides knowledge of extratextual reality (Vidmar 2019a, 2019b). Both the ethical and the political values of a complex narrative are a function of its attitudinal structure, the attitude that is embodied, enacted, or endorsed by the framework and which the reader or audience is invited to accept or adopt (Gibson 2018). The ethical value of a complex narrative is the extent to which its attitudinal structure provides an evaluation of personal conduct and character. The political value of a complex narrative is the extent to which its attitudinal structure provides an evaluation of social organisation and administration. Fourfold allegories Allegory is a convention in representation that combines duality with duplicity. The term is derived from the Greek word allegoreo, which means speaking otherwise; that is, pretending to speak about one thing while actually speaking about another thing (Spivak 1999). Allegories thus describe or depict one subject in the guise of another subject, deploying the latter as a symbol, emblem, or personification of the former. Representation in allegories is twofold because the characters, settings, and actions in an allegory not only represent real or imagined people, places, and events, but also represent something other, which may be a set of ideas, concepts, or abstractions or a second set of people, places, and events that are concealed, hidden, or secreted within the folds of the representation. Allegories



can be verbal, visual, or a combination of the two and are not restricted to narrative representation, but also instantiated in painting and sculpture. Traditionally, allegories took religion as their subject, integrating the real, material, and everyday with the figural, spiritual, and divine. Christian figural realism made a particularly important contribution to the Western literary tradition by undermining the existent hegemony of style that separated the tragic and the sublime from the comic and the vulgar (Auerbach 1946). My interest is in allegories that are also complex narratives and instantiated in either the literary mode of representation (novels) or the cinematic mode of representation (feature films and television series). Within this category my focus is on what Fredric Jameson (2019) refers to as genuine or fourfold allegories. Jameson is critical of the traditional model of allegory because it divides a narrative into two distinct lines with separate, hierarchical meanings. He uses examples such as Dante’s Divina Commedia, Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Goethe’s Faust. Der Tragödie zweiter Teil in fünf Akten, Marx’s Zur Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie, and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas to distinguish twofold allegory from the genuine allegory in which he is interested. According to Jameson (2019: 10): genuine allegory does not seek the meaning of a work, but rather functions to reveal its structure of multiple meanings, and thereby to modify the very meaning of the word meaning. It is indeed part of the contemporary critique of metaphysics (and of humanism along with it) to denounce the conception of nature as meaningful: an affirmation not merely of a meaningful system at work in the natural world, but also of a human nature as well, one which virtually by definition is normative. It will be clear, then, that this naturalization of both meaning and metaphor alike is the function of the symbol, as opposed to the allegorical structure.


Criminological Criticism

Genuine allegory does not impose a meaning –​or even a pair of meanings –​on a representation, but functions so as to reveal the structure of multiple meanings within the representation. Jameson maintains that this structure is fourfold. The four levels at which meaning functions are the literal, the symbolic, the existential, and the anthropic. The literal level is simply the meaning of the represented sequence of events in the narrative, which are either real, imagined, or some combination of the two and require analysis. The symbolic level is the hidden or secret meaning of the represented sequence of events, which is elucidated by a process of decoding. Jameson (2019: xvi) employs six different terms to describe the third level, which can be understood as the ethical meaning of the narrative representation, and I shall use existential, derived from his ‘existential experience’. Existential, apprehended as Jonathan Webber’s (2018: 11) conception of an ethics founded on ‘respect for the structure of human agency’, captures both of the senses of ethics with which Jameson is concerned, individual desire and the construction of subjectivity. Jameson describes the fourth and final level, which can be understood as the political meaning of the narrative representation, in terms of both the Last Judgement of the Abrahamic and Zoroastrian eschatologies and his own conception of the political unconscious (Jameson 1981). The anthropic level is concerned with the ‘collective and political narrative always latent in our conceptions of our own personal destinies’ (Jameson 2019: xvii). The construction of subjectivity is embedded in a narrative of human achievement and Jameson’s interest is in this collective ideology, construed in terms of the species. Jameson (2019: xv) maintains that these four levels ‘exhaust the various terrains on which ideology must perform its work’ and summarises the levels at which meaning functions as: textual object, interpretive code, individual desire, and collective ideology. The innovation in Jameson’s model of allegory is not just that he replaces two levels of meaning with four and thus penetrates to layers of significance that the traditional



model ignores, but that fourfold allegories are thick narratives. ‘Thickness’ in the context of narrative or literature refers to a particular relation among different elements, axes, or levels in a representation (McGregor 2016). That relation is variously described as identity, indistinguishability, constitution, inseparability, irreducibility, or organic unity. My preference is for inseparability, an integration of multiple levels of meaning that creates new meaning in a similar manner to that in which the mixture of chemical substances creates a new substance. Once the chemical compound has been created the constituent chemicals can only be separated from one another by dissolving the compound. In a thick narrative, the four levels of meaning combine to create meaning in excess of the representational capacity of the narrative and this extra-​representational meaning cannot be explained by reducing it to its constitutive levels. Jameson (2019: 234) explains the implications of thickness: ‘The levels are not a collection of complete narratives superimposed upon one another. Rather they come at reality in an utterly different way, by a jarring and sometimes dissonant differentiation of their various dimensions.’ In other words, the integration of the four levels of meaning creates new meanings over and above their accumulated meaning (Jameson 2020). The thickness of fourfold allegory thus produces a narrative representation with a meaning that is more than the sum of the meanings of its four parts. Narrative thickness is the most sophisticated aspect of Jameson’s model and I return to it in the next section. Representational capacity In the previous section, I described the function of meaning at the symbolic level as the interpretive code. The hidden meaning of the represented sequence of events must be decoded in order to understand that, for example, the pair of city states Besźel and Ul Qoma in China Miéville’s (2009) The City & the City are a symbol of politically divided cities like Jerusalem, Berlin


Criminological Criticism

during the Cold War, and Johannesburg under apartheid as well as the economic divisions within contemporary capitalist metropolises. As such, the interpretive code of the novel reveals an erosion of the borders between the concepts of the political and the economic. Interpretation is a performance in which the reader, audience, critic, or theorist analyses, ascertains, and authorises the meaning or sets of meanings of a literary or cinematic work. In fourfold allegories this performance is not restricted to the determination of the meaning of the symbolic level, but of all the levels as follows: the analysis of the textual object, the decoding of the interpretive code, the ethical criticism of individual desire, and the critique of collective ideology. In contrast to interpretation, appreciation is a performance in which the reader, audience, critic, or theorist explores, embraces, and elaborates the philosophical values of a complex narrative. The values with which I am concerned –​ aesthetic, cognitive, ethical, and political –​are realised in the process of appreciation, which examines the narrativity of the representation using combinations of theoretical tools from different subdivisions within philosophy (literary or cinematic aesthetics, epistemology, moral philosophy, and political philosophy). There is an obvious correspondence between the levels of meaning in fourfold allegories and the philosophically relevant values of complex narratives. My aim in this book is to exploit this similarity in order to employ Jameson’s model of allegory as a methodological tool for social scientists. More specifically, I seek to develop Jameson’s model into a tool that can be used by critical criminologists, who are primarily concerned with establishing the causes of harm or social injustice. Although critical criminology is a diverse practice within the discipline of criminology and overlaps with disciplines such as sociology, critical criminologists can be characterised as being concerned with harm and social justice rather than with crime and criminal justice. The difference in focus between critical criminology and traditional criminology is that the former recognises that



the criminal justice system can itself be harmful and perpetuate or even exaggerate socioeconomic inequality. This critique is usually focused on the power relations underpinning the criminal justice, legal, and political systems within a particular state or region (Ugwudike 2015). I shall argue that Jameson’s model of fourfold allegory can be a valuable tool for critical criminology and that argument begins with the synthesis of interpretation and appreciation. The four levels at which both interpretation and appreciation operate in an allegory cohere such that the determination of meanings and realisation of values are mutually complementary. The literal meaning of the allegory upon which the others are supervenient is established and conveyed by means of aesthetic devices specific to one or more of the representation as a narrative, to its particular mode of representation, or to its media channel. The symbolic meaning of an allegory is, in the case of fictions with which I am concerned, the cognitive value of fiction: the referential relation between representation and reality. I discuss this relationship in detail in Chapter Six, restricting my current commentary to a reminder that the conception of truth in fiction extends over two millennia and only became unpopular in the 19th century. In fact, truth in, of, or through fiction has been widely recognised as deeper, more substantial, or more meaningful than truth in nonfiction ever since Aristotle’s (2004, IX: 1451) famous distinction between poetry (fiction) and history (nonfiction): ‘For this reason poetry is something more philosophical and more worthy of serious attention than history; for poetry speaks more of universals, history of particulars.’ The relationship between the words ‘Besźel’ and ‘Ul Qoma’ in The City & the City and the world is thus between the fictional particulars –​ the two settings –​and the universal the particulars instantiate, for example ‘a divided metropolis’. The determination of the existential meaning or meanings of an allegory is required for the realisation of the ethical value of the allegory’s attitudinal structure and the realisation of that value enhances and enriches


Criminological Criticism

the existential meaning. Similarly, the determination of the anthropic meaning or meanings of an allegory is required for the realisation of the political value of the allegory’s attitudinal structure and the realisation of that value enhances and enriches the anthropic meaning. The fourfold practices of interpretation and appreciation are thus mutually complementary and, in consequence, essential components of a comprehensive engagement with allegories. What should also be clear is that interpretation and appreciation as described previously are concerned exclusively with the representational capacity of the allegory. In my introduction to allegory I described representation in traditional allegories as twofold and representation in Jameson’s model as fourfold, occurring at each of the levels of textual object, interpretive code, individual desire, and collective ideology. The literal level is the meaning of the represented sequence of events and the symbolic level their hidden meaning. The existential level is concerned with the representation of individual desire and the construction of subjectivity and the anthropic level with the representation of the collective ideology in which they are rooted. Similarly, aesthetic value is satisfaction in representation and cognitive value the representation of extratextual reality. Ethical value and political value are functions of the narrative’s attitudinal structure, which is the way in which the narrative represents a point of view on its content. The representational capacity of some complex narratives –​particularly, but not exclusively, fourfold allegories –​does not, however, appear to exhaust their cognitive, ethical, and political dimensions. In such cases, it is necessary to explore the more complicated question of their extra-​representational capacity. Extra-​representational capacity In performing the interpretation and appreciation of the representational capacities of a fourfold allegory, the reader, audience, critic, or theorist treats the allegory as an object. This



object is more than a mere text as the way in which meaning is determined and value realised is reliant upon the text being experienced by the reader, audience, critic, or theorist. I shall use the term ‘work’ to refer to the text as necessarily rather than contingently prompting, facilitating, or enabling a particular set of experiences by means of its representational capacity. The interpretation and appreciation of a work nonetheless involves approaching the work as object. There is nothing wrong with this and it is in fact a crucial part of the comprehensive interpretation and appreciation of fourfold allegories because their extra-​representational capacities are supervenient upon their representational capacities. In philosophical terms this means that there can be no change in an allegory’s extra-​ representational capacity without there first being a change in its representational capacity (but not vice versa). In fourfold allegories, extra-​representational capacity is a function of narrative thickness. Recall that for Jameson fourfold allegories are significant because they are more than the sum of their parts, more than a collection of complete narratives superimposed upon one another. In his model, the intersection of the levels of meaning exceeds the representational capacity of narrative by activating an event in the reading (or viewing) process. The ‘narrative event’ is structural rather than representational as the allegory reveals the complexity of its architecture of multiple meanings (Jameson 2019: 263). Jameson maintains that the narrative event is particularly useful for shedding light on the complexity of ‘our own moment of late capitalism’ (2019: 117), ‘late capitalist globalization’ (2019: 308) and ‘modern social life’ (2019: 347) in virtue of the way in which the interrelationship among the allegorical levels reveals otherwise imperceptible connections among the dimensions of late modern life. The relationship between the work and the world is that the fourfold allegory provides an ‘allegorical staging’ of the complexity of social reality by means of the narrative event (Jameson 2019: 117). In other words, allegorical narratives hold up both a mirror


Criminological Criticism

and a microscope to everyday life and can thereby illuminate causal relations that might otherwise remain unnoticed. This claim is indicative of the uses to which Jameson’s model can be put in critical criminology and other social sciences (which I explore in the final two chapters of this book), but it does not explain the nature of the extra-​representational capacity of allegory beyond brief reference to the narrative event as structural. John Gibson (2018) claims that where works of art have an extra-​representational capacity they are most appropriately viewed as actions: as an action undertaken by an artist for a particular reason (or, more likely, a set of reasons). The narrative event or allegorical staging to which Jameson refers should therefore be approached as an act rather than an object (or, more accurately, as first an object and then an act). Gibson begins with the problem to which the extra-​representational capacity of a work –​the work as act –​is a solution: if social reality is inhospitable to human flourishing, then artistic practice must both represent that reality with accuracy and achieve this accurate representation without appearing to be at home in this context or suggesting that the context in which the work has been produced and consumed is in some way bearable or sustainable. He maintains that an artist can achieve this by endowing a work of art with a critical element: using extra-​ representational means to first contrast our degraded world with a world worth having and then compel the audience to acknowledge the space between the two worlds. The mechanism by which the critical project of a work of art thus understood operates is by freeing the audience from the ways of thinking, feeling, desiring, and valuing in the inhospitable context. Gibson (2018: 103) distinguishes between hospitable and inhospitable contexts using Wittgenstein’s (1953) concept of a form of life such that an inhospitable context is instantiated when ‘one just has to grant that fixing it will oblige us to create what amounts to a differently arranged form of life, at least in basic institutional and social respects’.



In such cases, the interpretation and appreciation of the work as an object will be insufficient to fully illuminate the cognitive, ethical, and political dimensions of the work and it must, in consequence, be reinterpreted and reappreciated as an act. Gibson’s example is Kafka’s The Trial, which is a paradigmatic fourfold allegory, and he states that approaching the novel as an act determines and realises that act as the clearing of the ground for a new, ethical form of life rather than specifying the content of that new and ethical form of life. As an act, the novel compels readers to acknowledge that the form of life in which it has been produced and consumed is not conducive to human flourishing, offers no sanctuary for either author or reader, and that the thoughts, feelings, desires, and values that the form of life promotes must be rejected. Gibson (2018: 107) refers to this aspect of the work’s autonomy as the freedom to imagine values and ways of flourishing in excess of the contextual form of life: critical autonomy, as we might call it, has as its goal an awaking in us of a sense that we can think, feel, and value otherwise than the present world conditions us to. This critical autonomy is essentially ethical, since it is implicitly about changing the constitution of the reader and so her ethical character. Gibson’s critical autonomy is thus the way in which a work holds up a mirror and microscope to late modern life in Jameson’s terms, performing a critique of collective ideology by means of the cognitive, ethical, and political dimensions of its extra-​representational capacity. An allegory’s extra-​representational capacity is supervenient upon its representational capacity because the extra-​ representational capacity is a function of narrative thickness, the integration rather than accumulation of the four levels of meaning. Unlike the interpretation and appreciation of the representational capacity of an allegory, the complexity of its


Criminological Criticism

extra-​representational capacity is such that each work with critical autonomy must be interpreted and appreciated on a case-​by-​case basis without recourse to any regulations, rules, or principles beyond those already established with respect to complex narratives and fourfold allegories. Criminological criticism I began this chapter by defining a complex narrative as the product of an agent that is high in narrativity in virtue of representing one or more agents and two or more events which are causally connected, thematically unified, and conclude. I then presented Jameson’s model of fourfold allegory in which the literal, symbolic, existential, and anthropic meanings interact such that the meaning of the work is more than the sum of the meanings of its representational levels. Fourfold allegories are also complex narratives and the levels of allegorical meaning correspond with the four philosophical values associated with narrativity: aesthetic, cognitive, ethical, and political. In consequence, the practices of interpretation and appreciation are mutually complementary. Both of these practices are concerned with the representational capacity of the work, however, approaching it as an object. The determination of the meanings and realisation of the values of the representational capacity of allegories do not exhaust their cognitive, ethical, and political dimensions, and allegories must also be approached as acts in order to interpret and appreciate their extra-​representational capacity. The extra-​representational capacity of allegories, which is a function of narrative thickness, is particularly complicated and must be determined and realised on a case-​by-​case basis rather than by recourse to regulations, rules, or principles. The previous paragraph delineates my conception of criminological criticism, defined as: the employment of allegories for the purpose of explaining the causes of harm and social injustice with the intention that the critical practice will



constitute an intervention, that is, it will contribute to the reduction of the harm and social injustice. In the remainder of this book, I shall use ‘allegory’ to refer to fourfold allegory unless otherwise specified. Allegories with obvious relevance to harm and social justice are not difficult to find as a small sample of those that have a permanent place in mass culture and the popular imagination demonstrates: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, ITV’s The Prisoner, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, James Cameron’s Avatar, and HBO’s Watchmen. Criminological criticism includes the interpretation and appreciation of both the representational and extra-​representational capacities of allegories, but does not end where most literary and cinematic criticism ends, with the determination of meanings, realisation of values, or a combination of the two. Instead, criminological criticism must find some way of reaching beyond the representation to the reality in order to make an actual contribution to social justice. I shall suggest that this can be achieved by first framing fiction as a special kind of testimony and then by adopting a particular method of interdisciplinary collaboration that harnesses the strengths of literary studies and critical criminology, creating a synergy that is not only mutually beneficial but constitutive of a social intervention. In Chapters Three through to Five, I demonstrate the practice of criminological criticism using three allegories: a feature film, a television series, and a novel. Given what I have stated about the numerous options available, there is little need to justify my selection, but I shall nonetheless comment briefly on my motivation. First, if the aim of criminological criticism is ultimately to intervene in social reality, then it seems advantageous (but not essential) if the allegory selected has been read or watched by millions rather than thousands of people and I restricted myself to commercially successful feature films, television series, and novels. Second, keeping this aim in mind, it once again seems advantageous (but not essential) that the allegories selected are concerned with characteristics that are


Criminological Criticism

the subject of global rather than local significance. Gender, race, and class spring to mind immediately. This is not to deny the significance of characteristics such as sexuality and ability, but in a necessarily limited sample I think it (unfortunately) safe to suggest that inequalities based on one of more of gender, race, and class are experienced by the vast majority of the world’s population. As such, I looked to pair the three types of allegory in which I am interested with the three subjects with the broadest relevance and selected: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) on gender, Prime Video’s Carnival Row (2019) on race, and J.K. Rowling’s (2013) The Cuckoo’s Calling on class. I begin my practice of criminological criticism with the first of these in the next chapter.



The Critical Sociology of Mad Max: Fury Road Text, sex, and context Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) is the fourth instalment of the Mad Max film franchise, following Mad Max (1979), Mad Max 2 (1981), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). All four of the films are directed by George Miller (the third in partnership with George Ogilvie), set in Australia, and follow the eponymous protagonist, Max Rockatansky (played by Mel Gibson in the first three and Tom Hardy in the fourth). Mad Max introduces him as a police officer in Victoria’s Main Force Patrol in a dystopian future ‘A FEW YEARS FROM NOW’ and pits him against a particularly vicious motorcycle gang (Mad Max: 00:45). Mad Max 2, which was released as The Road Warrior in the US (after Max’s nom de guerre), opens with a narrated introduction that establishes the context of the original as the collapse of global civilisation in the aftermath of a Third World War in which nuclear weaponry was deployed. The sequel is set in a post-​apocalyptic Australia in which isolated communities and marauding gangs compete for the remaining fossil fuel, the production of which was destroyed in the war. Although the police no longer exist, Max fulfils a similar function in Mad Max 2 and Beyond Thunderdome, highway patrol replaced by Wasteland traversal as he protects the weak from death and slavery at the hands of the marauders. Fury Road also opens with a voiceover, which concludes with Max stating (Mad Max: Fury Road: 00:36–​01:07): ‘Once, I was a cop, a road



warrior searching for a righteous cause. As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy … me or everyone else.’ The voices interrupting Max suggest that the Earth can no longer support human life and that human life has become half-​life, subject to radioactive decay, which is evinced by the majority of the characters in the narrative, who appear diseased, deformed, or disfigured. The global ecological collapse is mirrored in Max as an individual, his psychological breakdown involving a paradoxical combination of obsession with those he failed to save and paranoia that everyone intends him harm. He is thus no longer the road warrior defending prey from predator, but a solitary scavenger haunted by failure. Fury Road is 113 minutes from opening to closing credits and has the five act structure characteristic of Hollywood blockbusters: exposition, rising action, climax, crisis, and resolution (McGregor 2021a). The exposition and resolution are brief (seventeen and seven minutes respectively) and the three acts that constitute the bulk of the film all involve an extended motor vehicle chase across the Wasteland, putting Fury Road very firmly in the action thriller genre. The exposition introduces Max, the despot Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-​Byrne), and Joe’s War Boys, the most capable of whom is Imperator Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron), who displaces Max as primary protagonist. The rising action begins when Joe realises that Furiosa has rescued his Five Wives from sexual slavery in his Citadel and sets off in pursuit, with Max (who was captured earlier) being used as a living ‘blood bag’ for Nux (played by Nicholas Hoult), an ailing War Boy (Bernstein 2015: 94). Furiosa and Max meet and flee together while remaining mutually hostile. The climax begins when the two protagonists join forces (48 minutes into the film) and ends with Max convincing Furiosa that she must reverse the chase, charge the War Boys and their allies, and take control of the Citadel (89 minutes). The crisis is a prolonged battle between the two groups in which Joe is killed and the resolution depicts



the literal elevation of Furiosa to leadership of the Citadel while Max slips away in the cheering crowd. As such, the plot of Fury Road seems straightforward, moving from an inaugural condition in which Furiosa flees from the Citadel to her acceptance of Max as an ally to a retrospectively inevitable condition in which she overthrows the male supremacist governance of the Citadel. The narrative is, however, complicated by the alternating focus on the two protagonists. The title of the film and its place in the Mad Max franchise suggests that the film is primarily about Max, like the three prequels, and the exposition follows suit, concentrating on his capture, attempted escape, and enslavement as Nux’s blood bag. The rising action changes direction, however, suggesting that the narrative’s exploration of women’s emancipation in the face of hegemonic masculinity is of much more significance. The clash between female liberation and male supremacism –​ represented by the conflict between Furiosa and the Wives on the one hand and Joe and the War Boys on the other –​leaves little room for Max, who is neither female nor a War Boy. This exploration continues to take centre stage through the climax and it is not until the crisis, when Max leads a motley band of women against the combined forces of the Citadel, Gas Town, and the Bullet Farm, that his significance once again rivals Furiosa’s. The narrative tension between Max and Furiosa, the question of whose story is the most significant, is successfully resolved in the conclusion. Fury Road –​or Furiosa’s road –​is really about Furiosa and her struggle to free the oppressed in the Citadel. While Max’s role in the represented sequence of events is less significant than Furiosa’s, the role of those events in the franchise has significance for Max in that it restores him to his former status of road warrior and, in so doing, facilitates a future continuation of the franchise. Screenwriter Nick Lathouris describes this development in thematic terms, as Fury Road being ‘about a man running away from his better self, and his better self catches up to him’ (cited in Bernstein 2015: 17).



The symbolic meaning of Fury Road is concerned with the relationship between sex and gender. The first explicit discussion of gender as distinct from sex is by Robert Stoller (1968) in an early attempt to explain the phenomenon of transsexuality. The idea that there is a distinction between sex and gender originates with Simone de Beauvoir (1949) and the first sentence of the second volume of The Second Sex provides a much-​quoted and oft-​repeated epigram summarising her position. Beauvoir’s (1949: 330) opening is, however, worth quoting at greater length: One is not born, but rather becomes, woman. No biological, psychic, or economic destiny defines the figure that the human female takes on in society; it is civilization as a whole that elaborates this intermediary product between the male and the eunuch that is called feminine. Only the mediation of another can constitute an individual as an Other. Here she sets out for the first time the radical idea that sex and gender are not identical, claiming that female is a biological concept, woman a socially constructed one, and that there is no necessary relation between the two. Beauvoir also summarises the central thesis of The Second Sex, to which the title alludes. Man and woman are both social constructs, but the latter is constructed as an absence or negation of the former –​the other, the second gender. Whatever subsequent generations of feminists have made of the significance of biological differences between the sexes, Beauvoir’s conception of the distinction is nothing short of revolutionary and her argument succeeds in demonstrating that there are no biological or ethical reasons for the historical and global subordination of women. As such, Beauvoir undermined the foundations of hegemonic masculinity and paved the way for future feminists to make material changes to the social, economic, and political circumstances of women. Judith Butler (1999) is critical of



Beauvoir, contending that both gender and sex are constructs on the basis that sexed bodies are discursively constructed in the practice of sex assignment. For Butler (1999: 13), the boundary between nature and culture is too porous to underpin Beauvoir’s distinction: ‘the language of biology participates in other kinds of languages and reproduces that cultural sedimentation in the objects it purports to discover and neutrally describe.’ In contrast, Linda Martín Alcoff (2006) is broadly supportive of Beauvoir, claiming that the possibility of biological reproduction (sex) influences one’s social position (gender). As such, ‘sexed identities are objective types based on a biological division of labor in human reproduction’ and these types configure one’s lived experience (Alcoff 2006: 173). Alcoff (2006: 175) nonetheless rejects ‘an absolute distinction of the old-​fashioned sort between culture and a reified nature’ on the basis that neither culture nor nature are immutable. Fury Road initially appears to reduce socially constructed gender to biological sex. Almost all of the main characters are clearly identifiable as either male or female and instantiate the gender norms associated with masculinity and femininity, the masculine matched to the male and the feminine to the female. Joe and the War Boys are not only stereotypically masculine –​ strong, domineering, aggressive, competitive, and egocentric –​ but hyper-​masculine, living to prove themselves in combat and aspiring to a violent death that will guarantee them a place in Valhalla before their diseased bodies fail them on Earth. The War Boys are a caricature of masculinity at its most mindless and toxic, a reduction of gender identity to evolutionary biology. In contrast, Joe’s Wives are stereotypically feminine –​weak, submissive, passive, cooperative, and empathetic –​selected for their beauty, youth, and health. They are women reduced completely and exclusively to their reproductive systems, fitted with chastity belts and imprisoned in a giant safe, their sole function the bearing of a robust son and heir. Nux and Capable (played by Riley Keough) are paradigmatic of the two groups. Despite being near the end of his half-​life, Nux



is determined to maintain his position in the Citadel’s caste system and to die in battle before he is too weak to fight. Due to the advanced state of his two tumours, he has to compete for his place in the pursuit and can only participate by using Max as a portable blood bag, chained to the hood of his car. Nux demonstrates the full extent of his courage when he is separated from both Max’s body and the other War Boys, continuing to fight Furiosa and Max until he turns against the War Boys. This change comes courtesy of the kindness and affection shown to him by Capable, who –​in addition to her beauty and health –​is the most empathetic of the Wives, able to perceive the pain in others and to elicit their better selves, however deeply they may be buried. Most of the other characters in the film, including the other groups of marauders and the Vulvalini (the last survivors of an isolated matriarchy), follow these masculine and feminine stereotypes, albeit not to such an obvious extent. The situation with the protagonists is different. Max is very obviously male and very obviously masculine, sharing several of the War Boys’ traits, including strength, dominance, and aggression. His mental breakdown has left him obsessive and paranoid, resulting in an egocentricity and competitiveness that appears to complete the stereotype. As he reconstructs his subjectivity, a process I discuss in my explanation of the existential level of meaning in the next section, he gains in empathy and cooperation, evolving from another hyper-​ masculine caricature to a more complex combination of stereotypically masculine and feminine traits. Furiosa is the least stereotypical and the most complex character in terms of the relationship between sex and gender. Theron was initially celebrated for her striking beauty –​a tall, slim, blonde ex-​ model –​before revealing the full extent of her thespian ability in Monster (2003), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004. Theron’s physical attributes are not disguised in Fury Road, like they were in Monster, but rather overlaid with the trappings of hyper-​masculinity. Her appearance is



similar to the other War Boys –​very short hair, war paint, and functional clothing –​and she has a powerful prosthetic left arm. In physical terms alone, Furiosa thus combines the feminine (her face and figure are recognisably Theron’s) with the masculine (she is clearly one of the War Boys). The same combination is evident at the level of stereotypical gender traits as Furiosa is strong, domineering, aggressive, cooperative, and empathetic (the set of characteristics to which Max aspires). In other words, Furiosa is the only character in whom sex and gender do not cohere. As such, she is symbolic of the distinction between sex and gender and the way in which that distinction undermines the biological, psychological, and ethical foundations of hegemonic masculinity. Demystifying male supremacism Furiosa was abducted from the matriarchal society in the Green Place by the War Boys (or another group of marauders) when she was a child. Then, it seems, she rose from her status as a slave to become a War Boy in virtue of her strength, dominance, aggression, and other traits valued in the male supremacist society. At the existential level of meaning Fury Road is concerned with the realisation of her individual desire, which is to rescue the Wives and return with them to the Green Place. As mentioned previously, however, the existential meaning of Fury Road is also concerned with the reconstruction of Max’s subjectivity, his progression from ‘craziness’ to sanity, reversing his fall from grace as a haunted scavenger to reclaim his status as the road warrior. In one of the film’s crucial scenes, to which I subsequently return, Max says to Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road: 88:36–​88:47): ‘At least that way [the way to the Citadel], you know, we might be able to … together, come across some kind of redemption.’ While it is true that Furiosa is motivated by a desire for redemption –​she has, after all, risen through the ranks of the War Boys to become Joe’s most trusted lieutenant –​ she is not represented as undergoing any psychological or moral



transformation during the narrative. When she first appears on screen she has already decided to renounce Joe and save his Wives and every subsequent action is dedicated to achieving that end. In contrast, Max is initially depicted as an amoral vagrant bent on his own survival. His development, transformation, and redemption are revealed in and through his interactions with Furiosa and the existential level of meaning of Fury Road is constituted by the conflict between Furiosa’s desire and Max’s subjectivity, as represented in three scenes. Furiosa first escapes from the War Boys by driving the War Rig into a toxic storm. Nux, with Max still chained to his hood, follows her and crashes. When Max recovers consciousness the storm has passed, but he is still chained to Nux and the car’s door. Meanwhile, the War Rig has broken down in the sand a few hundred metres away and Max heads towards it, carrying the unconscious Nux, dragging the door, and wielding a sawn-​off shotgun for which he has no ammunition. In one of the most memorable shots in the film, Max emerges from the rear of the War Rig to find the scantily-​clad Wives removing their chastity belts and washing with a hose pipe while Furiosa (her back to him) works on the vehicle’s exhaust (33 minutes). Max does not understand what he has stumbled across and the Wives and Furiosa assume he is a War Boy. There is a tense stand-​off as Max pretends the shotgun is loaded and orders the Wives to give him water and use their bolt cutters to free him. While the Dag (played by Abby Lee) is using the cutters, Furiosa attacks Max. She is at a disadvantage because her prosthetic arm has been detached during the storm and a brilliantly-​choreographed fight ensues, between Furiosa and the Wives on one side and Max and Nux on the other, the former handicapped by Furiosa’s missing arm and the latter by Max’s chains. The fight ends with Max gaining control of Furiosa’s pistol and he drives off in the War Rig on his own, leaving her and the Wives to the War Boys, who have resumed the chase. Furiosa has prepared the vehicle for just this eventuality, however, and it quickly cuts out. She negotiates



with Max and he agrees to let her and the Wives aboard, but keeps them all at gunpoint as they resume their flight. The second act of the film ends with Furiosa telling Max and the Wives that she made a deal with the Rock Riders to block a pass in return for fuel and the third act starts with her showing Max how to drive the War Rig in case the Rock Riders betray her. Negotiations do indeed break down and she orders Max to drive while she climbs aboard and the Rock Riders pursue. When Furiosa enters the cabin of the Rig, Max immediately hands her a shotgun and the two exchange a meaningful look (51 minutes). This is not only the first time that he has not held her at gunpoint, but he has –​in addition –​armed her. Their truce is the product of necessity, an uneasy and apparently temporary alliance as the film’s second three-​way chase begins, among Furiosa and Max, the Rock Riders, and Joe in Bigfoot (a monster truck). Furiosa reaches the Green Place, only to find that it has been destroyed and that all that remains of the society of her childhood are the Vulvalini, seven matriarchs and one younger woman who roam the Wasteland on motorbikes. Furiosa’s plan is to leave the War Rig and ride across the salt plain for 160 days in the hope of finding somewhere that will sustain human life. She asks Max to join her, but he is sceptical and declines. He watches the women set off on their motorbikes the next day, experiences a pang of conscience, and rides after them to stop Furiosa making a fatal mistake. Max reminds her that the only place that can definitely support human life is the Citadel, which has an ample water supply. His plan is to reverse the chase, charge the War Boys (reinforced by their Gas Town and Bullet Farm allies), block the pass behind them, and then enter and hold the Citadel. ‘Look,’ says Max, ‘it’ll be a hard day, but I guarantee you that 160 days’ ride that way … there’s nothing but salt’ (Mad Max: Fury Road: 88:23–​88:36). He mentions the opportunity for mutual redemption and the scene and act end with him offering Furiosa his hand, which she takes. In the movement



of their relationship from open conflict to forced cooperation to mutual respect, Max reconstructs his subjectivity and achieves redemption, no longer obsessed with the past or paranoid about the present. Their successful collaboration, which facilitates both the reconstruction of Max’s subjectivity and the realisation of Furiosa’s desire, also provides a model of gender cooperation. In Chapter Two, I mentioned Gibson’s (2018) appreciation of the extra-​representational dimension of Kafka’s The Trial, which is realised as the clearing of the ground for a new form of life as opposed to specifying the content of that new life. Fury Road is similarly concerned with facilitating a new form of life without enumerating its content, but at the anthropic level of meaning of the representation. Like The Trial, Fury Road compels audiences to acknowledge that the form of life it represents for 108 minutes is not conducive to human flourishing and that the thoughts, feelings, desires, and values that it promotes must be rejected. In the final scene of the film, which lasts only four and a half minutes, Fury Road rejects the male supremacist state –​or simply the state as we know it –​ and clears the ground for what Catharine MacKinnon (1989) refers to as the feminist state. As with all complex narratives, Fury Road concludes rather than terminates, at a tangible and meaningful point that is experienced as retrospectively inevitable. The fifth act is the shortest in the narrative, seven minutes in length. The first scene, which lasts for about two and a half minutes, involves Max saving the badly-​wounded Furiosa’s life with ad hoc surgery and a blood transfusion. The second and last scene begins with Max, Furiosa, and the other six survivors of the battle with the War Boys (four Wives and two Vulvalini) returning to the Citadel. The Citadel is a system of caves shaped like three termite mounds, with its physical structure a mirror-​image of its social structure. Like Plato’s (1997) Kallipolis, the Citadel has three castes. Joe, his sons, and his slaves –​including the Five Wives and the Breeders (used to produce War Boys and milk) –​occupy the



upper levels, which is where crops are grown. The lower levels are home to the War Boys, the place where vehicles are built and maintained and where slaves work on treadmills that pump the subterranean water to the greenhouse and operate a giant lift. The Wretched live outside the cave system, on dry, flat ground (Bernstein 2015). Joe sustains his power by the combination of his control of the water supply, the loyalty of his War Boys, and the architecture of his aery. The Citadel has been left under the command of Corpus Colossus (played by Quentin Kenihan), one of Joe’s sons. Colossus is severely physically disabled and entirely reliant on others for his survival. When Max throws Joe’s body to the ground and assists Furiosa to stand up on top of the Gigahorse, the Wretched begin chanting for the lowering of the lift, indicative of their desire that she replace Joe as leader. Colossus is uncertain what to do and three War Pups (War Boys in training) take it upon themselves to set the treadmill in motion. The Breeders release water to the Wretched and the Gigahorse, along with Furiosa, the Wives, the Vulvalini, and a selection of the Wretched, is hoisted. Furiosa looks for Max on the platform of the lift and realises he is in the crowd below. They maintain eye contact for several seconds, nod to each other, and then he disappears into the assembled mass. The final shot of the film, which lasts for five seconds, is of Furiosa and the four Wives from below as they ascend to the top of the Citadel, signifying their rise to power with Furiosa in charge of what seems likely to be a matriarchal society similar to that of the Green Place. In Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, MacKinnon (1989; see also: 1987) rejects both the liberal and left variants of feminism in favour of feminism per se, or unmodified feminism. Liberal feminism is idealist and has, in consequence, failed to confront the concrete reality of the conditions in which women exist. Left feminism has criticised these conditions, but been paralysed by material determinism when attempting to move beyond criticism. Unmodified feminism is ‘methodologically postmarxist feminism’, that is, feminism that avoids granting women abstract rights and reducing women’s



oppression to a class relation but nonetheless recognises the importance of the relationships among gender, class, and other social divisions such as race in male supremacist societies (MacKinnon 1989: 241). Like Butler (1999), MacKinnon maintains that gender and sex are both socially constructed, but she is primarily concerned with gender as domination rather than gender as difference. ‘Gender, in other words, is lived as ontology, not as epistemology’ and this category error is facilitated and exacerbated by the law (1989: 237). Developing Beauvoir’s conception of woman as the second gender, MacKinnon argues that the masculine is associated with the objective such that masculinity as a perspective on social relations is erased, in consequence of which male dominance disappears from view while remaining firmly in place. She concludes by first addressing the question of whether change is possible and then discussing how that change could be initiated. MacKinnon (1989: 237) claims that change is possible, but would require a conception of equality that was defined by women and a jurisprudence –​‘a theory of the relation between life and law’ –​that reflected this definition. The possibility can only be actualised by first facing the concrete circumstances of women’s reality and then recognising the way in which hegemonic masculinity is embodied as individual rights under law. When ostensibly ontological conditions are exposed as epistemological, dominance is exposed as no longer inevitable (MacKinnon 1989: 240): ‘When it loses its ground it loosens its grip.’ Transformation could then be initiated by a feminist jurisprudence based on radical change to the law in at least four areas: sexual violence, reproductive control, pornography, and presumption of inequality. MacKinnon (1989: 249) closes with the reminder that a ‘feminist theory of the state has barely been imagined; systematically, it has never been tried’. Fury Road performs a similar function in loosening the grip of male supremacism by revealing its epistemological foundation, opening up the possibility of the feminist state by imagining its actualisation as a concrete reality. Both Furiosa’s desire to free



the oppressed and Max’s reconstruction of his better self are enabled by the possibility of feminist statehood, which unites psychological wellbeing with political harmony. Radical feminism Michael Burawoy (2005: 10) defines critical sociology in terms of its role, which is ‘to examine the foundations –​both the explicit and the implicit, both normative and descriptive –​of the research programs of professional sociology’. He traces its history through Robert Lynd’s (1939) Knowledge for What? The Place of Social Sciences in American Culture, C. Wright Mill’s (1959) The Sociological Imagination, and Alvin Gouldner’s (1970) The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. Richard Flacks and Gerald Turkel (1978: 216) define radical sociology in terms of its goal, which is human emancipation, and identify it with ‘neo-​Marxian’ perspectives within the discipline. They trace its history to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ The German Ideology (1846) and The Communist Manifesto (1848) and note the contribution of the journal The Insurgent Sociologist, which was established in 1969 in response to agitation by the Sociology Liberation Movement. Immanuel Wallerstein (2006) uses ‘radical’ and ‘critical’ as synonyms and defines radical or critical sociology as sociology that places one or more of class analysis, feminism, anti-​racism, or ecology at the centre of its concerns. I shall follow Wallerstein by using the terms interchangeably, in relation to which it is worth mentioning that the current title of The Insurgent Sociologist is Critical Sociology (since 1988). Fuyuki Kurasawa (2017) describes contemporary critical sociology as focused on three themes –​ rethinking society, configuring power, and practising culture –​ and the sociological value of Fury Road as a cultural artefact is the way in which it both rethinks society and configures power. Fury Road resists hegemonic masculinity, provides a model of gender cooperation, and imagines the possibility of feminist statehood at its symbolic, existential, and anthropic



levels respectively. In order to articulate the film’s unique contribution to sociology, one must move beyond its representational capacity, approaching it as an act rather than an object. The narrative event is an allegorical staging of the complexity of social reality that discloses the relationships among feminist resistance, gender cooperation, and feminist statehood by the combination of character, setting, and action. Approaching Fury Road as an act determines and realises that act as an assertion of the desirability of radical feminist governance, which I discuss in the following paragraph. In other words, the film not only imagines the possibility of feminist statehood but affirms the need to achieve that statehood in a particular way. Fury Road is an affirmation that a radical feminist state founded upon the principles of feminist jurisprudence is neither a case of ‘special pleading for a particular group’ nor of female supremacism (MacKinnon 1989: 249). MacKinnon’s feminist state is not a state in which the rights of women are protected at the expense of the rights of men, but a state in which there is actual equality between women and men. What this means in practice is that men will cease to exercise hegemonic power over women and will –​to that extent –​be reduced in status. That this is a reduction is only because of the extent to which existent jurisprudence is based on the domination of women by men without their consent. MacKinnon (1989: 244) states: ‘When men lose power, they feel they lose rights. Often they are not wrong.’ The ‘rights’ that men are losing, however, are not rights to fair treatment or to equality of opportunity, but to gender-​based dominion. The rights of women are protected at the expense of male privilege, of power that is not –​and has never been –​legitimate, rather than at the expense of the rights of men. Feminist statehood is thus statehood in which male supremacism is replaced with genuine gender equality, not with female supremacism. Fury Road combines feminist resistance, gender cooperation, and feminist statehood in a compelling demand for the urgency of Angela Davis’ (1981, 1989) conception of radical feminism.



Angela Davis (1981) begins Women, Race and Class with a historical account of the shared suffering of Black women and men under slavery in the US and of the often marginalised role of Black women in resisting slavery and other instantiations of White supremacism. She later extends this claim from enslaved women to colonised women. Davis cites the Grimké sisters (Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké), two White women who were the first activists to become famous –​or, more accurately, notorious –​for both women’s liberation and Black liberation. She praises them for recognising the inseparability of the two struggles and for avoiding the trap of prioritising one over the other. Davis herself does not identify with any particular group of activists, but advocates the adoption of a revolutionary stance as a means to the end of radical change. Radical change involves the recognition of the inseparability of the struggles against sexism, racism, and elitism.1 She (1989: 14) defines her radicalism as follows in Women, Culture, and Politics: ‘After all, radical simply means “grasping things at the root.” Our agenda for women’s empowerment must thus be unequivocal in our challenge to monopoly capitalism as a major obstacle to the achievement of equality’ (emphasis in original). Continuing her historical analysis, Davis (1989: 4) draws attention to the motto of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC), formed in 1896, ‘Lifting As We Climb’. The idea is not liberation for a particular group –​poor, Black women –​as a marginalised group, but rather that the most-​marginalised group in society –​subject to elitism, racism, and sexism –​is best-​placed to transform society. Davis explains the principle underpinning the NACWC motto by conceiving of women in society in terms of a pyramid, with White women of different degrees of wealth occupying the upper three levels and Black and other minority women the lowest level. Now, when those at the very apex of the pyramid achieve victories for themselves, in all likelihood the status of



the other women remains unchanged. This dynamic has proven true in the case of Sandra Day O’Connor and Jeane Kirkpatrick, who both achieved ‘firsts’ as women in their respective fields.2 On the other hand, if those at the nadir of the pyramid win victories for themselves, it is virtually inevitable that their progress will push the entire structure upward. The forward movement of women of color almost always initiates progressive change for all women. (Davis 1989: 30–​1) This forward movement is not restricted to women but to men too, whether poor, Black, poor and Black, or neither poor nor Black. In other words, lifting is just as important as rising and the rising is to the advantage of everyone rather than at the expense of one or more groups. Radical feminism is thus a social transformation led by the most marginalised in society on behalf of everyone in society. I described Fury Road as a cinematic narrative with two protagonists –​ Furiosa and Max –​ whose relationship is initially antagonistic and cooperation initially reluctant. The tension between the two characters within the representation is reproduced at the level of the audience’s experience of the representation, which is characterised by the conflict over whose story the film is telling. I noted that Fury Road starts to tell Max’s story (exposition), but then quickly turns its attention to Furiosa’s story (rising action, climax, and crisis). This suggests that Max’s story is ignored or diminished as Furiosa’s resistance to hegemonic masculinity, confrontation with the War Boys, and successful overthrow of male supremacism take centre stage. The final scene of the film, in which Max slips away into the crowd rather than joining Furiosa on the lift, might seem to suggest that feminist statehood is indeed at the expense of men and that female supremacism is a necessary corrective to millennia of sexism. This interpretation is misleading for at least two reasons. First, it ignores the fact that the two dozen or so people on the lift include several Wretched



men, in addition to Furiosa, the Wives, the Vulvalini, and the Wretched women. Although it is not part of the anthropic level of meaning to specify the new form of life whose possibility the work imagines, the presence of men on the lift signals that matriarchy is more than a reversal of oppressive patriarchy. Second, such an interpretation ignores the role of Max in assisting Furiosa in the realisation of her desires. To begin with, it is only by their combined efforts that they are both able to escape the War Boys and meet the Vulvalini. Then it is Max’s plan, based on his extensive experience in the Wasteland, that Furiosa adopts and that ultimately enables her to make a difference to the future of the surviving Wives. Once they have returned to the Citadel, it is furthermore Max who casts down Joe’s corpse and offers up Furiosa as his successor. Max’s decision to leave Furiosa is based on the reconstruction of his subjectivity and the resumption of his role as the road warrior rather than a rejection of the matriarchy to come. Max is not marginalised by radical feminism –​he redeems and restores himself in the fight for feminist statehood. Fury Road has sociological value in illuminating the contribution of feminist resistance, gender cooperation, and feminist statehood to the critique of an ostensibly neutral jurisprudence that disguises male supremacism, but its contribution to the discipline of sociology is the way in which the narrative stages the urgency of the need for radical feminism. Radical feminism is not special pleading or reverse discrimination but a lifting up of all as the most-​marginalised group in society leads the struggle for social justice. The final shot of the film operates in both the representational and extra-​representational dimensions of the work. The depiction of Furiosa being elevated to the upper level of the Citadel is representative of her ascension to and assumption of power. The physical rise on screen is reproduced on a psychological level for the audience, for whom the last few seconds produce a tangible and meaningful sense of an ending, a conclusion that is emotionally and morally uplifting. Fury Road ends at



precisely the right point, with male supremacism overthrown and the promise of the feminist state to come, a state of radical feminist governance that is not only possible but desirable. In this respect, it is worth noting the role that Davis (1989; Davis and De Guzman 2020) envisions for art in the actualisation of social justice, which begins with its capacity to awaken a desire for social transformation in the oppressed. Fury Road succeeds in first awakening the desire for resisting hegemonic masculinity and then imagining the possibility of feminist statehood. My claim is that it also stages a multi-​sensory, imaginative, emotional, and evaluative argument for radical feminist governance: it makes a cinematic case for radical feminist leadership of both a social revolution and the post-​ revolutionary state.



The Urban Zemiology of Carnival Row Decoding racism Carnival Row (2019) is an urban fantasy television series that has a complex narrative architecture employing major plotlines from at least three distinct genres of fiction.1 My interest is in the first season, which was released in August 2019, and comprises eight episodes, each of which runs from 60 to 67 minutes (at the time of writing, there is a second season in production). The season opens as a postcolonial epic, focusing on protagonist Vignette Stonemoss (played by Cara Delevingne), a faerie who flees from her native land of Tirnanoc (from the Gaelic Tír na nÓg) to seek asylum in the city state of the Burgue. While the ship in which she is travelling is sinking, a murder mystery begins in the Burgue, introducing a second protagonist, Rycroft Philostrate (played by Orlando Bloom), a police inspector. The postcolonial epic and murder mystery are linked by a paranormal romance between Vignette and Philo, which is represented as an interspecies romance until it is revealed that Philo himself is an interspecies hybrid, with a human father and faerie mother. The three major plotlines are further intervolved by the addition of two minor plotlines, one political and one social, each concerned with an elite Burgue family, the Breakspears and the Spurnroses respectively. Absalom Breakspear (played by Jared Harris) is Chancellor of the Republic and siblings Ezra and Imogen Spurnrose (played by Andrew Gower and Tamzin Merchant) the owners of Vignette’s indenture.



The minor and major plotlines are linked by means of the Burgue itself and the series takes its title from a street in the Burgue that is the centre of what has become a Fae inner city, populated by faeries, fauns, centaurs, trolls, kobolds, and other refugees from Tirnanoc. In Carnival Row, the actual plot –​the movement from the inaugural to the inevitable that constitutes the literal meaning of the narrative –​is only revealed in the final episode. Sophie Longerbane (played by Caroline Ford), the daughter of the Leader of the Opposition in parliament, initiates her play for control of the Burgue by blackmailing the Chancellor’s wife, Piety Breakspear (played by Indira Varma), sending her a faked letter from a famous Fae singer claiming that she had a child with Breakspear. Like Sophie, Piety is preoccupied with establishing a ruling dynasty and determined to realise the Haruspex’s (witch’s) prophecy of Breakspear greatness. As a result, she has kept the true paternity of her son, Jonah (played by Arty Froushan), the product of an affair with Sophie’s father, Ritter (played by Ronan Vibet), secret. When Piety finds out about Breakspear’s illegitimate child, she fears that the prophecy applies to him (or her) rather than Jonah and sets a twofold plan in motion. First, she seeks the Haruspex’s (Aoife Tsigani, played by Alice Krige) help in creating a Darkasher, a supernatural servant, which she will use to discover the identity of Breakspear’s offspring. Second, she has Jonah kidnapped, frames Longerbane for the crime, and murders him while he is being subjected to enhanced interrogation. Sophie follows Burgue custom by taking her father’s seat in parliament, makes a bid for popularity by adopting an extreme anti-​Fae position, and seduces Jonah, despite suspecting that he is her half-​brother. Her machinations come to full fruition when a faun insurgent stabs Breakspear and Jonah is appointed Acting Chancellor. The season ends with Jonah using his father’s death to declare the Burgue ‘a city under siege’, interning all the Fae in Carnival Row under emergency legislation (Carnival Row 2019 episode 8: 61:04–​61:05).



The movement from the inaugural condition of the season, where the postcolonial epic and murder mystery plotlines vie for significance, to the recognition that Piety is manipulating events to the inevitable condition in which Piety herself is being manipulated by Sophie, provides a rich exploration of the prevalence and danger of speciesism. Speciesism is the belief that human animals have a superior moral status to non-​human animals in consequence of their species: that human beings matter more because they are human rather than because they are more intelligent, have a greater capacity for suffering, or demonstrate virtues of character (Singer 1993). Most human beings are speciesist courtesy of the combination of traditional views about non-​human animals and nature being created for human usage and a lack of recognition of the complexity of non-​human animal minds. In Carnival Row, the harm of speciesism is made more obvious by the existence of a species or genus called the Fae, many of whom are very similar to humans in appearance and identical in intelligence, emotion, and virtue. Despite the obvious similarities and the obvious claims for equal moral status, the majority of the citizens of the Burgue believe that they are morally superior to the Fae because they are human. This fear of the other is exploited by politicians. Sophie, for example, has no strong feelings about the Fae either way, but adopts an exaggerated version of her father’s speciesism to begin a populist movement. Filming began in 2017, two years after the peak of the migrant crisis in Europe and a year after the Brexit referendum in the UK and Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in the US (IMDb 2021). The Syrian Civil War was in its sixth year, with Iran, the US, the Russian Federation, and Turkey all involved and Islamic State losing its territorial footing in Syria and Iraq. Watching the series in September 2019, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently elected on the platform of delivering Brexit and three years of Trump’s openly racist policies, the symbolism of Carnival Row seems obvious. The series seems to require very little decoding because the



symbolic meaning is an open secret with correlations between the work and the world self-​evident to anyone with a basic knowledge of current affairs in the Global North. The clash of empires in Tirnanoc recalls the Coalition Forces’ invasion of Iraq, the subsequent destabilisation of the Middle East, and the rise of Islamic State. There are clear parallels between the Republic of the Burgue and the Pact in the fiction and the US and Islamic State in reality. Similarly, the Burgue itself is clearly a fictionalised New York or London –​or perhaps Berlin, which received the greatest influx of asylum seekers in Europe in 2015 (Wolff 2018). The flight of the Fae from Tirnanoc to the Burgue is the flight of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians to European cities during the Civil War and the passing of emergency legislation against the Fae the rise of right wing populism. As one might expect given the sophistication of Carnival Row’s plot, however, the series’ symbolic meaning is similarly complex, focused on speciesism and its political exploitation. The speciesist citizens of the Burgue believe they are morally superior to the Fae because they are human and the Fae belong to a separate, subhuman species. Many of these speciesists refer to the Fae using the derisive term ‘Critch’ and pursue some combination of making their lives as miserable as possible, proposing anti-​immigration legislation, and using all available means to keep them offshore (Carnival Row 2019 episode 1: 09:16). Speciesism in Carnival Row is in fact symbolic of racism in reality and the series provides a rich and nuanced exploration of racism by means of its representation of speciesism. The standing in of ‘species’ for ‘race’ is not immediately obvious because actors of different ethnicities are used to play both human and Fae characters, but the symbolic meaning of the process of othering and the social construction of ‘species’ upon which it is based signify racism and race in reality. Othering begins with the creation of a Manichaean binary opposition that follows the logic of the excluded middle, that is, admits of no exceptions (Fanon 1952). The positive



pole and superior category is ‘human’, the species of homo sapiens, and its negation the inferior category of Critch, which includes a wide variety of species –​from tiny kobolds to giant centaurs –​that share the negative characteristic of being ‘not human’.2 There are no exceptions to the human or Critch rule. Philo, who is Breakspear’s missing child, is a ‘half-​blood’, but appears human in consequence of having his wings surgically removed as a baby (Carnival Row 2019 episode 8: 37:58). In sociological terminology, he can ‘pass’ for human in the same way that many ‘non-​Whites’ can ‘pass for white’ and indeed passing as human is a crime in the Burgue (Piper 1992: 13). When first his human lover and then his police colleagues become aware of this, Philo’s ontological and moral status changes from the positive pole to the negative rather than occupying any in-​between status. Similarly, Philo’s former comrade in arms, Darius (played by Ariyon Bakare), becomes Critch when he is infected with lycanthropy and mutates into a marrock (werewolf). Both Philo and Darius are hybrids unrecognised in the speciesist binary opposition. The othering is based on phenotypic traits, but they are not a necessary condition for the social construction of Critch. All of the species of Fae seen in the season are visibly different to humans. The main Fae characters are either faeries or fauns, the former distinguished by their wings and the latter by their horns and hooves. When it becomes known that Philo had a faerie mother, however, he is ejected from ‘human’ to ‘Critch’ in spite of being identical to human beings in physical appearance. This is also true of Darius, whose physical appearance only changes on the nights when the moon is full. Like race in reality, the social construction of species in Carnival Row begins with phenotypic traits and is often focused on them, but ignores them as soon as there is any suggestion of the possibility of exception or hybridity. The slaves of the British West Indies were differentiated into ‘Negro’ (Black), ‘mulatto’ (one half Black), ‘quadroon’ (one quarter Black), ‘mustee’ (one eighth Black), and ‘mustefino’ (one sixteenth



Black), but their moral, social, and legal status was simply ‘non-​White’ (Woodson 1935: 43–​4). Racial otherness and difference underpinned slavery in the Thirteen Colonies, as exemplified by the Virginia Slave Act of 1682, in which ‘Indians and Negroes were henceforth lumped together in Virginia legislation, and white Virginians treated black, red, and intermediate shades of brown as interchangeable’ (Morgan 1975: 329). This differentiation does not undermine the binary opposition but reinforces it and, in so doing, extends racism beyond the confines of phenotypic difference. Carnival Row also examines the relationship between racism and xenophobia. This is particularly relevant to the contemporary parallel with the UK. Many advocates of Brexit appear to be White supremacists, believing in the innate superiority of the White race over others, but as the majority of the population of the European Union would be classified as White by White supremacists, the connection between racism and Brexit is complex. One way to understand the intersection of different prejudices is that unlike the negative pole of the binary opposition, the positive pole is subject to meaningful subdivision. With respect to Brexit, a White supremacist might differentiate between ‘White British’ and ‘White other’ (white Europeans) and have no objection to the presence of White Europeans in the country, but believe that belonging to the EU places the UK under obligation to accept ‘non-​White’ asylum seekers. The intersectional character of prejudice is represented in Sophie’s inaugural speech to parliament in episode 5 of Carnival Row (2019: 33:24–​34:25): It is not only my father’s memory I wish to honour, but my mother’s too. Her desert blood was written on her face as surely as it is written on mine. Her forefathers fled the chaos of war in the Pharaonic Coast and came to these shores, where the colour of their skin made them outcasts. But, like so many others, they overcame the prejudices of that time and found a place in this



great city … and that speaks well of the Burgue and its values. Today, the chaos of war in the lands of the Fae has brought a new wave of refugees to these shores and they too are seen as outcasts. It is right to ask if our suspicions of these newcomers will one day be seen as a benighted vestige of the past. It is right to ask if we can overcome the differences between us and the Fae that rear our children, plough our fields, work our factories. I stand before you with my answer. We cannot. The Fae are nothing like us. Our differences are more than skin deep … and our Chancellor has turned a blind eye for far too long, but I will not. (Emphasis in original) This places Sophie’s ethnic group in a similar position to that of the Irish in the US in the early 19th century, victims of colonial persecution in the UK and perpetrators of racial oppression in the US (Allen 1994). Sophie’s references to ‘skin colour’ (race) and ‘new wave of refugees’ (species) are symbolic of ‘nationality’ and ‘race’ respectively in reality. Critique of decivilisation In Carnival Row, the existential level of meaning is concerned with what Derek Hook (2004: 85) refers to as psychopolitics, ‘the explicit politicisation of the psychological’ (emphasis in original), understood as the way in which historical and social circumstances shape and limit the creation of authentic selfhood. Frantz Fanon (1952), who was a practising psychiatrist, argued that the colonial situation was crucially pathological on the basis of the constitutive relation between colonialism and alienation, a process in which the Black subject is dehumanised. Alienation is the separation of the Black subject’s identity from that of the human being in virtue of their race: a process of dehumanisation consequent on the juxtaposition of Black and White. In the colonial situation, the colonised subject is continually fed with values that are foreign, hostile, and hierarchical to their own



values –​to the extent that the subject’s mind is colonised. Popular culture and education conspire to the extent that cultural imposition results in crystallisation: ‘Gradually, a way of thinking and seeing that is basically white, forms and crystallises in the young Antillean’ (Fanon 1952: 126). Crystallisation causes internalisation, in which the negative colonial stereotypes become part of the Black person’s own subjectivity such that they come to forge the instruments of their own oppression. This inferiority complex involves the colonised subject aspiring to a Whiteness that they can never achieve, in virtue of their phenotypic traits, an essence for which they are not responsible. The subject is thus alienated from both their own culture (in aspiring to Whiteness) and from humanity (in failing to achieve Whiteness). Fanon (1952: 95) describes racial discrimination as follows: ‘I am overdetermined from the outside. I am a slave not to the “idea” others have of me, but to my appearance.’ The colonial situation produced individual pathologies by means of alienation, which required treatment directed at both agency and structure. Carnival Row is concerned with the way in which the social construction of Fae shapes and limits the authentic selfhood of the two protagonists, Vignette and Philo. Vignette is a victim of alienation in much the way Fanon describes, being overdetermined by her phenotypic traits and forced to either take her place in Burgue society as a servant or live outside of it in the service of organised crime. The alienation suffered by Philo is more complex and the focus of his construction of subjectivity is on his authenticity. He is a mixed species being who passes as human, a decision that was made for him at birth, when his faerie wings were amputated. He cannot identify as mixed species because no such social or legal category is available in the Burgue. Consequently, Philo is necessarily alienated, forced to identify as either human or Fae despite belonging to neither category. As human, he is alienated by the species hierarchy that accords him superiority over the Fae, positioning him as both superior and inferior to himself. As Fae, he is



alienated by his phenotypic traits, which overdetermine him as human. Philo fought for the Burgue in the war of imperial conquest against the Pact and led an inauthentic existence in which he concealed and repressed his Fae identity until he fell in love with Vignette. They were separated at the end of the war and Philo’s inauthenticity was consolidated when he joined the police, enforcing a set of laws that he contravenes every day by passing as human. When Vignette appears in the Burgue and rejects him, he decides to transcend his Fae identity by confessing his heritage to Portia (his human lover, played by Maeve Dermody) and making a commitment to living the rest of his life as a human. This commitment ends in disaster when he suffers a double reversal of fortune in which his passing is reported to the police by Portia and he is suspected of committing the Darkasher’s murders. In the dramatic sequence of events with which the series concludes, Philo reverses this decision. Following the Acting Chancellor’s declaration, all Fae are interned in Carnival Row. When Philo and Vignette arrive at the gates, he is denied access on the basis of his human phenotypic traits and from across the barrier, she begs him to stay away for his own safety. The final dialogue of the season is between Philo and the soldier who blocked his way (Carnival Row 2019 episode 8: 64:23–​64:39): Ghetto Guard:  I told you, mate, it’s just Critch, move on. Philo: I am Critch. The ghetto guard sneers at Philo and pushes him into Carnival Row. By voluntarily interning himself, Philo transcends his humanity, making a commitment to live the rest of his life as Fae and subjecting himself to a different kind of alienation. The fundamental problem is the influence of the speciesist structure of Burgue society on Philo’s agency. Philo’s desire is to achieve authentic selfhood by means of the construction of his subjective identity, but –​like Fanon’s Black subject –​he



finds himself the victim of a double alienation. First, there is no middle ground between the positive and negative poles of the binary opposition so the only way that Philo can identify with his human heritage is to hide his Fae heritage. Second, no differences or distinctions are recognised within the negative pole of the opposition so Philo’s identification with his Fae heritage commits him to living in an internment camp for the colonised where his phenotypic traits overdetermine him as a coloniser. His situation as a mixed species character in the fictional world is a sophisticated development of Fanon’s conception of alienation that provides alternative and complementary evidence for the injustice and irrationality of real societies in which race shapes and limits individual desire. In Carnival Row, the anthropic level of meaning is primarily concerned with what Norbert Elias (1986: 46; see also: 1988) referred to as a ‘decivilizing process’, the reversal of the historical trend towards increased empathy at the individual level and decreased violence at the collective level. The decivilising process represented in the series is a consequence of the combination of two types of political violence, which Vincenzo Ruggiero (2020) calls systemic violence and murderous martyrdom. Systemic violence is structural and institutional harm that ‘prevents its victims from satisfying their basic needs, and is an avoidable impairment of the fundamental means necessary for human existence’ (Ruggiero 2020: 11). Murderous martyrdom is the corruption of an originally peaceful ideal to ‘connect the heroism of self-​sacrifice with the deaths of others’ (Ruggiero 2020: 171). Both of these conceptions of violence are explored in the character of Quill (played by Scott Reid), Jonah’s faun valet. Quill is introduced in episode 2, when he is searching The Tetterby Hotel (a Fae brothel in Carnival Row) for his master (who has been kidnapped on Piety’s orders). When he fails to find Jonah, he reports the disappearance to Breakspear’s faun butler, Crick (played by an uncredited actor). Breakspear, who has thus far been represented as politically moderate and conscious of the moral status of the Fae, blames Quill for failing



to prevent the abduction, verbally abuses him with speciesist slurs, and dismisses him from service. What is particularly significant in this brief scene, foreshadowing what follows, is that the speciesism is from a liberal politician, emerging under the stress of the situation, but suggesting that suspicion of the other is prevalent among all people (and, indeed, the Fae). Quill does not reappear on screen until the beginning of episode 5, when he is rummaging through a dustbin for food. He finds a soup kitchen run by a faun religious leader, Cabal (played by Theo Barklem-​Biggs). Cabal feeds him, provides him with a copy of the Cyphers (a faun religious text), and he expresses an interest in learning more. Thus begins Quill’s radicalisation, understood as a process in which he recognises his personal suffering (unfair dismissal) as part of the broader oppression of a victimised community (fauns), identifies with that community (by joining the cult), and is motivated to take political action. This action initially takes the form of peaceful protest, with Quill part of a public procession of about a dozen faun flagellants led by Cabal in episode 6. When one of the flagellants is thrown to the ground and whipped by a speciesist human, Quill moves to help, but Cabal holds him back, stating: ‘Watch and learn. This … is the truth. They will never accept us. They will never understand us. We can make no peace with the ignorant’ (Carnival Row 2019 episode 6: 27:11–​27:24). Cabal is keen to exploit Quill’s former position in the Breakspear household and the incident marks the escalation of his radicalisation to murderous martyrdom. The following episode finds Quill, Cabal, and other sectarians in a faun temple where the violent human is being held prisoner. Cabal encourages Quill to kill the prisoner, suggesting that the Hidden One (the faun god) will reveal his plans for Quill if he proves his religious commitment. Quill cracks the man’s skull with a stone tablet and episode 8 opens with Quill murdering Crick. Using the butler’s uniform, he infiltrates Balefire Hall, brings Breakspear a cup of tea, and then stabs him multiple times in a suicidal



attack. Quill is, however, wrestled to the ground by guards and he is last mentioned as the victim of yet another kind of systemic violence, the enhanced interrogation the Burgue reserves for enemies of the state. In making a murderous martyr of Quill, Cabal provides Sophie with precisely the opportunity for which she has been waiting. Quill’s failure is twofold, achieving neither martyrdom nor murder as Breakspear survives the attack. When Piety visits Breakspear in his sickbed, he discloses his knowledge of her attempts to find and kill Philo in order to secure Jonah’s legacy, telling her that Philo is no threat to Jonah because of his status as a half-​blood. When he refuses to disclose Philo’s whereabouts, Piety smothers him to death. In keeping with the custom of the Burgue, Jonah is appointed Acting Chancellor. He calls a cabinet meeting, declares a state of emergency under which all Fae in the Burgue are to be interned in Carnival Row, and addresses parliament (Carnival Row 2019 episode 8: 60:04–​61:14): We are a city under siege, from threats the likes of which my father could not have fathomed, threats from without and within. We stand at the precipice of a great and secret war. It is not a war we asked for, but by God it is a war we will win! Even now, measures are being taken to protect the people of this great city. We will prevail. We will steel ourselves against those who plot our destruction. We will meet their eyes and not blink. We will not compromise, we will not negotiate. We will hunt them to the very edge of the world. Jonah then asks the Leader of the Opposition –​Sophie –​if she will cross the floor and unite with him and she agrees, to the bloodthirsty cheers of the assembly. The final twenty seconds of the season consists of two aerial shots of Carnival Row, with a voiceover of Sophie’s response to Jonah (Carnival Row 2019 episode 8: 64:57–​65:13): ‘Thank you, Chancellor. A new day



is dawning. A change is coming to this city. Together, we have crossed a line in the sand and we can never go back.’ Quill’s radicalisation and murderous martyrdom have been met with what Ruggiero (2020: 117) refers to as the radicalisation of democracy, a response to a threat to hegemony in which ‘the militarization of internal conflict and the transformation of domestic public spaces into war zones are accompanied by a parallel process occurring at the international level’. This escalating radicalisation is an example of the decivilising process in action. Decivilisation takes place on two interrelated levels. At the individual level, there is a decrease in empathy, which is exemplified by the combination of Quill (who loses his empathy for humanity) and Sophie (who succeeds in reducing the empathy of other humans for the Fae). At the collective level, there is an increase in violence, murderous martyrdom from the Fae and systemic violence from humanity. Unlike the civilising process, which was a persistent change in Europe across several centuries, the decivilising process is local in both space and time, a short-​term reversal in a particular place that is insufficient to disrupt the international trend (Elias 1939, 1986). Quill’s failed suicidal attack on Breakspear and the Burgue’s radical response resonate with the attacks in the US in 2001, the UK in 2005, and France in 2015, as well as with the respective government’s responses in terms of counter-​ terror, military action, or both. If Elias’ brief speculation on the decivilising process is accurate, then the escalation of violence between Western governments and Islamicist extremists should be short-​lived in historical terms, but with the conflict in its third decade this is questionable. Urban revanchism Zemiology, the study of harm, is usually conceived as a sub-​ discipline of criminology, but is more accurately described in critical terms, as seeking to reconfigure traditional criminological inquiry to focus on the concept of harm



rather than the concept of crime (Hillyard and Tombs 2004). As such, zemiology is more fundamental than criminology, concerned with the reduction of harm regardless of whether that harm has been criminalised or not, and is identical with or similar to critical criminology as defined in Chapter Two. The zemiological project aims to produce theoretical and methodological tools to identify preventable harm for the purpose of reducing that harm (Pemberton 2016). The key factor that links zemiological research to harm reduction is the explanation of the cause of the harm. In consequence, the zemiological value of Carnival Row is the value of the series in explaining causes of harm. There can be little doubt that Carnival Row provides convincing explanations of causes of the urban harms of racism, alienation, and decivilisation at its symbolic, existential, and anthropic levels of meaning respectively. In order to articulate Carnival Row’s unique contribution to zemiology, one must move beyond its representational capacity, approaching the series as an act rather than an object. The narrative event is an allegorical staging of the complexity of social reality that discloses the relationships among the harms of racism, alienation, and decivilisation by the combination of character, setting, and action. Approaching Carnival Row as an act determines and realises that act as a fundamental destabilisation of the principles of equality, autonomy, transparency, and accountability upon which democratic governance is based. Doubt is introduced by the ease with which Piety is able to exploit Breakspear’s love for his son to have Longerbane placed at her mercy. Mistrust is exacerbated when Sophie assumes her father’s seat in parliament and faith in the foundations of democracy entirely undermined when Jonah follows suit and the full extent of her manipulation of parliamentary procedure is revealed. Sophie’s political ambition is facilitated by hereditary succession, which can be understood as signifying one of two phenomena in reality (or both phenomena together). Bernard Harcourt (2020: 361) defines nepotistic



democracy as a form of populism sustained by ‘unmediated and uninstitutionalized governing’ based on interpersonal reciprocity. Benjamin Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew Lacombe (2019: 7) define stealth politics as a strategy by means of which individual billionaires use their ‘outsized, unequal political clout’ to influence public policy. Nepotistic democracy and stealth politics both sabotage the founding principles of democracy and Carnival Row acts to destabilise confidence in the transparency and accountability of democracy as the culmination of political progress by drawing attention to the vulnerability of the system to resolute and unprincipled individuals. Sophie is particularly significant in the narrative as her abuse of privilege has a decisive impact on the lives of Piety, Philo, Vignette, and Quill. Within the context of democracy as a façade that conceals power relations based on the hegemony of dynasty or personality, the series exposes the causal contribution of the combination of racism, alienation, and decivilisation to what Gareth Millington (2011) refers to as the revanchism characteristic of the global metropolis in the 21st century. Millington (2011: 3) begins by distinguishing the global metropolis from the provincial city, identifying the former in terms of ‘the centralisation of capital and the corporate economy’ and suggesting, for example, that London has more in common with New York and Paris than it does with Manchester and Leeds. Using London, New York, and Paris as his case studies, he identifies three stages in the development of the global metropolis: the agonopolis, the cosmopolis, and the revanchist metropolis. Agonopolis refers to the multiracial city of the 1970s and 1980s, in which the metropolitan centre became a site of racial tension and contestation –​particularly, but not exclusively, its inner cities. The cosmopolis is an ideal inspired by the globalisation of the 1990s and pursued in the following decade in which demographic diversity is not only recognised but valued. As such, the cosmopolis is ‘a metropolis that is now post-​“race” ’ (Millington 2011: 108), where conviviality has replaced conflict and the right to the



city, Henri Lefebvre’s (1968) conception of the availability of the urban centre, is determined by class rather than race. The revanchist metropolis, which is my term rather than Millington’s, describes the reality of the three metropolises in the 21st century, in which the urban centre has been reclaimed by the wealthy, White population and the poor, multiracial population has been expelled to the ‘racialised “outer-​inner city” ’ (Millington 2011: 150). Millington explores the revanchist reality of the cosmopolitan ideal by means of the concepts of melancholia (London), postcolonialism (Paris), and advanced marginality (New York). Melancholia is a morbid longing for imperial glory that occurs in an era of post-​imperial decline and is underpinned by either an explicit or implicit White supremacist discourse. The sense of postcolonialism with which Millington is concerned is the replication of imperial relations of metropole and colony within the metropolis itself, producing racialised outer-​inner cities on the urban periphery. Advanced marginality describes the accumulation of racial and class-​ based disadvantage caused by the combination of economic insecurity, territorial stigmatisation, and social fragmentation. Millington is clear that revanchism was neither a social nor political inevitability, but a consequence of forced dispersal, gentrification, and securitisation. The deliberate pursuit of these policies in isolation and combination transformed the ‘white city fantasy’ of modernity into a concrete reality in the global metropolis of the 21st century (Millington 2011: 14). The Burgue is a global metropolis, a large city state with access to the ocean that has become a hub for international capital and has imperial ambitions, most recently thwarted by the Pact in Tirnanoc. It is an agonopolis, with Carnival Row itself an inner city, a site of tension and contestation between species (where species is symbolic of race, as discussed in this section). The Burgue is, like London, Paris, and New York in the early 1980s, a metropolis in transition, a transition driven by the loss of the war in Tirnanoc. The Burgue’s military withdrew from Tirnanoc seven years before the series starts and



the opening of the first episode makes it clear that the Pact’s colonial rule of the Fae has been characterised by slavery and genocide. The desire of large numbers of Fae to leave their homeland has been facilitated and exploited by the merchants of the Burgue and other human countries, who offer escape in exchange for indentured service. In consequence, the Burgue has been provided with a cheap source of labour and developed a multiracial identity. While the social, financial, and political elite are pleased about the former, they are ambivalent about the latter and the ‘Fae question’ is the subject of heated debate in parliament. The Burgue is thus an agonopolis in crisis, at the tipping point of becoming either a cosmopolis or a revanchist metropolis. Although the first season ends with a decisive and explicit movement towards the latter, there are several indications that revanchism was not inevitable and that in the absence of Piety and Sophie’s respective machinations the Burgue may have at least aspired to the cosmopolitan ideal. The possibility of a less harmful metropolis is represented in the characters of Aisling (played by Erika Starkova), Philo’s faerie mother, and Agreus (played by David Gyasi), a faun who belongs to the financial elite. Both characters have been successful in rising above the class conditions reserved for Fae and been to some extent accepted into human society, Aisling in virtue of her talent as a singer and Agreus in virtue of his wealth.3 While Sophie and Jonah pursue revanchism at the anthropic level, the season sees the destruction of both of these hopes for a more just city at the existential level: Aisling is killed by the Darkasher as part of Piety’s plan to secure Jonah’s legacy and Agreus flees the Burgue when his interspecies relationship provokes violence from his peers. Carnival Row has zemiological value in illuminating the connections among the harms of racism, alienation, and decivilisation, but its contribution to the discipline of zemiology is the way in which the narrative event stages the regression from agonopolis to revanchist metropolis. The series opens with an agonopolis in crisis, presents the cosmopolitan and revanchist



options for that agonopolis, and demonstrates how racism, alienation, and decivilisation combine to secure a revanchist future. The season ends with Sophie’s assumption of power by means of a speciesist platform, Piety dead in consequence of her dynastic obsession, Vignette and Philo interned in the Fae ghetto, and Quill under enhanced interrogation. The urban revanchism depicted is explained as a complex combination of racism, alienation, and decivilisation in which there is a reciprocal relationship between cause and effect in the personal and the public spheres. Sophie has orchestrated the Burgue’s revanchism, but her success is a product of both her agency and the speciesist structure within which that agency is exercised. It would be an exaggeration to claim that the contribution of racism, alienation, and decivilisation to the revanchism of London, Paris, and New York in the 21st century could only be recognised in an allegory. My claim is, rather, that Carnival Row’s explanatory power is commensurate with that of Millington’s ‘Race’, Culture and The Right to the City: Centres, Peripheries, Margins. As such, the extra-​representational capacity of the series provides both an extensive and exhaustive account of the causes of urban revanchism.



The Cultural Criminology of The Cuckoo’s Calling Analysing class condition The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime fiction novel authored by J.K. Rowling (2013) and published under the penname Robert Galbraith. The work is the first in a series of five murder mysteries featuring a private detective protagonist named Cormoran Strike (Rowling 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020). As the series develops, the character Robin Ellacott assumes greater significance, starting as Strike’s temporary secretary, progressing to first permanent employee and then business partner, and becoming a protagonist in her own right. The dual focus on Strike and Robin is accelerated in the television series, Strike (2017–​2020), which has thus far adapted the first four novels. The Cuckoo’s Calling opens with a prologue that takes place three months before the beginning of the central narrative and closes with an epilogue that takes place ten days after its conclusion. The murder mystery plot, which is set in London over a period of four weeks from March to April 2010, is divided into five parts, the middle three of which are of a similar length and the two bookends considerably shorter. The movement from inaugural instability to retrospective inevitability that constitutes the literal meaning of the narrative is Strike’s investigation of the suspicious death of supermodel Lula Landry. The prologue provides a glimpse of the scene of her death, caused by a fall from the penthouse of an apartment block. The represented sequence of events then proceeds as follows: Strike agrees to hire Robin on a temporary basis and



to investigate Lula’s death on behalf of her adopted brother, John Bristow, who is not satisfied with the official verdict of suicide (Part I); Strike begins his investigation with a series of interviews, none of which alter his initial impression that Lula jumped (Part II); Strike suspects that Bristow has mental health problems and that Tansy Bestigui (Lula’s neighbour), Tony Landry (Lula’s uncle), and Rochelle Onifade (Lula’s friend) are all withholding information from him (Part III); Strike gains access to and has an experience of Lula’s celebrity lifestyle; Rochelle, who has witnessed Lula’s missing will, is murdered; and Lula is revealed to have a half-​brother, Jonah Agyeman (Part IV); Strike confronts Bristow, who murdered Lula and hired Strike to make a case against Agyeman, and Bristow tries to kill him (Part V). The epilogue sees Strike meeting Agyeman, employing Robin on a permanent basis, and reflecting on his own newly-​acquired status as a celebrity. The Cuckoo’s Calling is a clever, entertaining, and engaging whodunnit? and Rowling follows all of Raymond Chandler’s (1948) ‘Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story’, the guidelines that formalised the hardboiled detective story as a subgenre within crime fiction. She pays particular attention to the ninth and tenth, which concern the way in which the mystery is pitched to the reader. In essence, the author should provide sufficient clues such that the majority of readers will not be able to determine the identity of the murderer, but are likely to acknowledge that they could have had they been more astute or paid more attention. Rowling’s narration, which is in the third person (mostly from Strike’s point of view but occasionally from Robin’s) is skilful in this regard and although Strike has solved the mystery early in Part IV, he does not inform anyone because of the absence of evidence. By the end of that part, the reader is privy to the two most important clues: Lula found out that she had a half-​brother shortly before her death and changed her will to appoint him as sole beneficiary on the day of her death. It is a small stretch of the imagination to implicate Bristow. Had Lula not changed her will, she would likely have



left her fortune to Lady Bristow (her adoptive mother) or Lady Bristow and Bristow, and Lady Bristow is terminally ill. In other words, the answer to the most basic of questions –​cui bono? –​points directly to Bristow. Bristow’s hiring of Strike is a traditional ‘red herring’, serving to throw readers off his scent until one realises that he has attempted to manipulate Strike into making a case against Agyeman from the very beginning. Rowling acknowledges her debt to Chandler (1939) with an allusion to his most famous novel, The Big Sleep, in the third chapter of the first part. Chandler’s detective, Philip Marlowe, literally catches the murderer (Carmen Sternwood) when she pretends to faint in front of him in the first chapter, even though he is not yet aware that a murder has occurred. Strike went to school with Bristow’s brother, Charlie, who died in childhood and this exchange is from his first meeting with Bristow (Rowling 2013: 23): ‘It’s my sister, you see,’ said Bristow. ‘Right. Is she in some kind of trouble?’ ‘She’s dead.’ Strike just stopped himself saying, ‘What, her too?’ It is later revealed that Bristow not only murdered Lula, but Charlie as well, the former for financial gain and the latter out of jealousy. The symbolic meaning of the novel is much more nuanced than one might expect from hardboiled detective fiction, concerned with the relationship between class and celebrity. If one is interested in ‘class’ in Marx’s (1849: 282) sense of a group that shares relations to labour and the means of production rather than a simple socioeconomic demographic, then neither Marx’s original distinction between the working and capitalist classes nor the traditional division into upper, middle, and lower classes suffice to explain the complexity of the concept in late modern life. Pierre Bourdieu (1980: 140) was less concerned with the classification of social stratification



than with the class condition, ‘a particular position in the distributions of material properties and symbolic capital’. He (1983) defines capital as accumulated labour that enables agents or agencies to appropriate social energy and divides it into three types: economic, cultural, and social. Economic capital is monetary in the sense of being directly and immediately convertible and is often conflated with ‘capital’. Cultural capital is symbolic in the sense of being recognised as competence rather than capital and embodied in the sense of being acquired by a biological individual through a process of cultivation. As such, cultural capital is the conversion of external wealth into ‘an integral part of the person’ (Bourdieu 1983: 18). Social capital is symbolic in the sense of conferring credentials and material in the sense of requiring continual exchanges of recognition for its reproduction. Social capital consists of the actual and potential resources available to the individual in consequence of her membership of a group, which begins with but is not restricted to genealogical kinship relations. All three types of capital are institutionalised: economic capital in property rights; cultural capital in academic qualifications; and social capital in nobility, which is produced by elite schools rather than inherited titles in the 20th century (Bourdieu 1989). The combination of economic, cultural, and social capital determines an individual’s class condition, which produces that individual’s habitus: ‘systems of durable, transposable dispositions’ (Bourdieu 1972: 72). The complexity of Strike’s background is symbolic of the complexity of class condition. Strike’s biological parents are Jonny Rokeby, a world famous rock star who became a household name in the 1970s, and Leda Strike, who achieved minor celebrity as a ‘supergroupie’ during the same period (Rowling 2013: 80). He had a peripatetic childhood in which he lived with his mother in a series of squats and other temporary residences in London and Norfolk and with his Aunt Joan and Uncle Ted in St Mawes in Cornwall. He has a Cornish name, regards Cornwall as home, and treats Uncle Ted (Leda’s brother) as a father figure,



having met Rokeby only twice. Strike has eight half-​siblings, but is only close to one –​Leda’s daughter Lucy –​who also lives in London. He was awarded a place at the University of Oxford, where he met Charlotte Campbell, who belongs to a wealthy, aristocratic family and with whom he has been in a volatile romantic relationship ever since. When Leda died of a drug overdose, Strike dropped out of university and joined the Army, enlisting in the Royal Military Police. He served for about thirteen years, specialising as an Army Investigator in the Special Investigation Branch (SIB), the military equivalent of the criminal investigation division. His service took him across the globe and he was deployed on operations in Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan (Rowling 2013, 2015). While in Afghanistan, Strike was decorated for bravery (a very rare achievement for a Service Police Officer) and lost the lower half of his right leg to an improvised explosive device. He was fitted with a prosthesis, after which he demobilised and set up in practice as a private detective in London.1 The Cuckoo’s Calling opens with him terminating his relationship with Charlotte, which leaves him emotionally and materially destitute, sleeping on a camp bed in his office and showering at the University of London Union. Towards the end of Part II, Strike reflects on the spectre that haunts his reversal of fortune: ‘Thirty-​five, it whispered, and nothing to show for all your years of graft except a few cardboard boxes and a massive debt’ (Rowling 2013: 106, emphasis in original). Strike’s class condition is convoluted. Clearly, he is lacking in economic capital and was in fact only able to establish his business courtesy of a loan from Rokeby, whose repayments he is unable to meet. The extent of Strike’s cultural capital is less clear. He went to Oxford, failed to graduate, but is never out of his depth in intellectual company (Rowling 2014). He has simple tastes –​beer, takeaway meals, tabloid newspapers, and football –​ but mixes with government ministers and aristocrats when required and is able to recite lines from Alfred Tennyson’s poetry (Rowling 2013, 2018). His social capital is



more voluminous, but no less complicated as Strike chooses not to exploit his kinship relations with Rokeby and his wealthy half-​siblings. He has a vast web of personal and professional relationships that reach across all strata of society, from organised crime (Shanker) to police inspectors (Anstis), Army officers (Hardacre), legal professionals (Ilsa), and the socioeconomic elite (the Campbells). The variety of his relations is reflected in the number of his nicknames (a dozen by the fourth book), and it seems as if everyone except for Robin has laid claim to their own version of him. Strike’s class condition is an asset in his chosen career, enabling him to move between social strata in the investigation of his cases, but Bourdieu’s three types of capital fail to describe it in full. What is missing is Strike’s particular and peculiar relation to celebrity. Celebrity culture permeates every part of The Cuckoo’s Calling, from the opening sentence of the prologue to the last line of the closing quotation. The impact of celebrity status on class condition cannot be subsumed under one of Bourdieu’s three types of capital, nor does it seem to be supervenient upon one or more of them. Celebrity status is probably closest to social capital, but appears to be distinct; it is not, for example, the product of elite schools, but of the media, mass and social. Yvonne Jewkes (2004; see also: Jewkes and Linnemann 2018) describes the diversification of the uppermost class in the 21st century as a consequence of social mobility, which is in turn a consequence of the combination of mass education, internet technology, and celebrity culture, a claim to which I return in the following section. With respect to the hidden meaning of the novel, the complexity of Strike’s background is symbolic of the role of economic, cultural, social, and media capital in determining class condition. Cultural criticism Writing about the development of mass media at the turn of the 20th century, which he refers to as the ‘Graphic Revolution’, Daniel Boorstin (1961: 59–​60) makes a claim



that is even more accurate with respect to the development of social media at the turn of the 21st century: ‘the machinery of information has brought into being a new substitute for the hero, who is the celebrity, and whose main characteristic is his [sic] well-​knownness. In the democracy of pseudo-​events, anyone can become a celebrity, if only he can get into the news and stay there.’ A celebrity is not just someone who is famous or notorious –​significantly and in contrast to ‘hero’, ‘celebrity’ is a concept without an ethical dimension –​but someone whose publicity is created and sustained by the media. The reason an individual became the subject of media attention is quickly eclipsed by the fact of their celebrity in a phenomenon that Ruth Penfold-M ​ ounce (2009) describes as a change from renown driven by achievement (hero) to renown driven by the media (celebrity). Lula was initially newsworthy in consequence of an ‘extreme beauty … on the very edge of absurdity’ and her extraordinarily successful modelling career, but quickly achieved celebrity status (Rowling 2013: 110). Jewkes (2004) examines the components of celebrity culture, noting the significance of deviance. Individuals who can be represented as obviously and unambiguously deviant have intrinsic newsworthiness. Lula’s expulsion from school, running away from home, and diagnosis of bipolar disorder all contribute to her celebrity. Jewkes (2004: 49) argues that because celebrities are newsworthy in themselves –​famous for being famous –​they ‘will frequently be the recipient of media attention even if involved in a fairly mundane or routine crime that would not be deemed newsworthy if it concerned an “ordinary” member of the public’. Penfold-​Mounce (2009: 30) discusses the significance of sensation and spectacle to celebrity culture, which ‘reflects a glamorous, exciting, sometimes illegal, world that challenges conventionality’. Robin reads a posthumous article about Lula to Strike that fits this delineation almost perfectly (Rowling 2013: 58–​9): ‘What we actually miss, were we honest enough to admit it, are the entertaining antics of that paper-​thin good-​time girl, whose strip-​cartoon



existence of drug abuse, riotous living, fancy clothes and dangerous one-​off boyfriend we can no longer enjoy.’ The existential level of meaning of The Cuckoo’s Calling is focused on the construction of subjectivity in the face of celebrity culture and is explored by the contrast of its impact on Lula and Strike respectively. Strike had several opportunities to achieve celebrity –​by association with his father, mother, and Charlotte –​but sought anonymity in the Army for the first part of his adult life. When he left, he had further opportunities as a highly-​decorated, disabled veteran with a famous father, but once again decided not to court the media, not even for the sake of advertising his business. He has cause to be grateful for pursuing his desire for anonymity when he is afforded a brief glimpse of Lula’s world during his interviews of Ciara Porter (Lula’s friend and fellow supermodel) and Evan Duffield (Lula’s boyfriend). Strike’s sole experience of being pursued by paparazzi recalls a series of unpleasant memories (Rowling 2013: 332): But the photographers ran alongside the vehicle, flashes erupting on either side, and Strike’s whole body was bathed in sweat: he was suddenly back on a yellow dirt road in the juddering Viking, with a sound like firecrackers popping in the Afghanistan air; he had glimpsed a youth running away from the road ahead, dragging a small boy. … In the wing mirror he could see two motorbikes, each being ridden pillion, following them. Princess Diana and the Parisian underpass; the ambulance bearing Lula Landry’s body, with cameras held high to the darkened glass as it passed; both careered through his thoughts as the car sped through the dark streets. Significantly, this is the only flashback to Afghanistan described in the novel. Strike’s successful solution of the case brings him and his business media attention and despite his many reservations, he recognises it as a necessary means to the end



of continuing his new career. The novel concludes with Strike quoting Tennyson’s (1842) poem ‘Ulysses’ in affirmation of accepting his new status by emphasising the line ‘I am become a name’ (Rowling 2013: 449, emphasis in original). Celebrity will be a mixed blessing for Strike, both helping (Rowling 2014) and hindering (Rowling 2015) his business in future cases. Unlike Strike, Lula has embraced her celebrity status from the very beginning and exploited the public’s obsession with her to rise to the top of her career, quickly becoming a multimillionaire. As the narrative begins after her death, the reader only ever gains second-​hand access to her subjectivity, but she appears to have dealt with both the pressures of being a celebrity, which included having her phone hacked, and her mental health problems with equanimity. As Strike’s investigation progresses, it is revealed that Lula had recently become preoccupied with her ‘black roots’ (Rowling 2013: 207) and ethnic identity (she is mixed race). She made contact with her biological mother (who was only interested in profiting from their relationship), discovered the identity of her Ghanaian father, and had arranged to meet her half-​brother on the night of her murder. Lula’s desire to explore her genetic origin and construct her identity as an Anglo-​Ghanaian is framed as a response to the superficiality of celebrity culture, a yearning for something meaningful, and contrasted with Strike’s dismissal of genetic determinism. Strike has little interest in his extended biological family and rejects his genetic heritage as a significant part of his identity. His prioritisation of the people that nurtured him –​his mother, aunt, and uncle –​is emphasised in the most recent instalment of the series, when both his father and his aunt are diagnosed with potentially fatal illnesses (Rowling 2020). Underclass originated in the media, but was popularised by Charles Murray (1984) in Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–​1980. The term refers to the lowest of all class conditions, which Murray characterises as combining illegitimate birth, voluntary unemployment, and criminal



behaviour. At first glance, ‘underclass’ appears similar to Marx’s (1850: 316) ‘lumpenproletariat’, translated as ‘ “dangerous” classes’ (1867: 519), which refers to the socially excluded, a group that includes the chronically unemployed and habitually criminal. Given that class is distinct from the other two human characteristics I have discussed thus far (gender in Chapter Three and race in Chapter Four) in having no relation to biology –​ class is, after all, social class –​Murray’s most recent conclusion is nothing short of astonishing. He (2020: 270) rejects both the left wing view of class as socially constructed and socially immobile and the right wing view of class as socially constructed and socially mobile for an ultra-​right wing view of class as having ‘a substantial genetic component’. Class condition is not a function of privilege (left wing) nor even of merit (right wing), but of genetic difference. In other words, class condition is natural. And because class condition is natural, there is no point in trying to change it: even if change were desirable, it is doomed to failure by biology. Not only has Murray advanced this as a serious thesis, but there is evidence of the extent to which it has been accepted in the elitism of those in the uppermost class conditions. I shall employ elitism to denote prejudice based on class; that is, preconceived antipathy or hostility for those of an inferior class condition. The anthropic level of meaning of The Cuckoo’s Calling is concerned with elitism, which Rowling represents as an attitude in which the lower and servant class conditions are not fully human. Inequality in London is first mentioned explicitly in the novel by Detective Sergeant Wardle (who investigated Lula’s death) in Part II, but Strike does not reflect on his comments. That must wait until his arrival in Canning Town in Part IV, which is worth quoting in full (Rowling 2013: 286): He took the train out to Canning Town station. It was overlooked by Canary Wharf, whose sleek, futuristic buildings resembled a series of gleaming metal blocks on the horizon; their size, like that of the national debt,



impossible to gauge from such a distance. But a few minutes’ walk later, he was as far from the shining, suited corporate world as it was possible to be. Crammed up against dockside developments where many of those financiers lived in neat designer pods, Canning Town exhaled poverty and deprivation. Strike knew it of old, because it had once been home to the old friend who had given him Brett Fearney’s location [Shanker]. Down Barking Road he walked, his back to Canary Wharf, past a building with a sign that advertised ‘kills 4 Communities’, at which he frowned for a moment before realising that somebody had swiped the ‘S’. Rowling’s London is a city in which inequality is commonplace and in which the inhabitants of the dockside developments believe they are entitled to be there in virtue of their superiority to the inhabitants of Canning Town. This superiority is expressed in the rudeness of the rich, which is first mentioned in Part II, when Strike asks the security guard at Lulu’s apartment block how well he knew her (Rowling 2013: 87): ‘ “Just in and out past the desk. She always said hullo and please and thank you, which is more’n a whole lotta these rich fuckers manage,” said Wilson laconically.’ The case brings Strike into the sphere of the upper echelon of society and several people he interviews treat him as a servant himself, most notably Tansy and her sister, Ursula. The sisters are elitist to the point where they are completely certain of their absolute superiority in spite of lacking any abilities or virtues that might be considered criteria for such a status. As is so often the case, Tansy’s elitism is integrated with racism. Here, she describes Rochelle, whose name she has not bothered to remember (Rowling 2013: 154): You know, that ghastly –​ that rarely [really] awful-​ coloured girl she [Lula] sometimes dragged back [to the apartment block]. A kind of hobo person. I mean



… she literally smelled. When she’d been in the lift … you could smell it. And she took her into the pool, too. I didn’t think blacks could swim. Ursula demonstrates an awareness of the distinctions among economic, cultural, and social capital, regarding Duffield as a poor mate for Lula on the basis that he has none of the three while suggesting that economic capital alone would suffice. Strike depicts the sisters as follows (Rowling 2013: 142): They were both as pristine and polished as life-​size dolls recently removed from their cellophane boxes; rich-​girl thin, almost hipless in their tight jeans, with tanned faces that had a waxy sheen especially noticeable on their foreheads, their long, gleaming dark manes with centre partings, the ends trimmed with spirit-​level exactitude. As such, they are almost represented as a different species and this is, of course, precisely what many in such class conditions believe that they are, a point reiterated by Robin when she is in one of Lula’s favourite boutiques. Strike only contemplates belief in ‘genetic predetermination’ once, in response to Landry’s racism, which is also integrated with his elitism, but the question of genetic determination runs through the narrative like an undercurrent (Rowling 2013: 198). The consequences of Murray’s thesis, which was implemented by means of various policies in the US during the 1990s and 2000s, are the exacerbation of economic inequality, the sedimentation of social immobility, and the social apartheid of mass incarceration (Slobodian and Schrader 2018). Celebrated elitism Cultural criminology emerged from the subcultural theories developed by sociologists such as Albert Cohen (1955) and David Matza (1964) and the work of Stuart Hall and his



collaborators at first the University of Birmingham (Hall et al 1978) and then the Open University (Hall, Evans and Nixon 1997) on media, representation, and meaning. The framework was pioneered by Jeff Ferrell (1996) and Keith Hayward (2004) and concentrated on culture as the site of meaning-​making and as a tool for intervention in the politics of crime control. Ferrell (1999: 396) describes the cultural criminological framework as ‘an emergent array of perspectives linked by sensitivities to image, meaning, and representation in the study of crime and crime control’. According to Ferrell, Hayward, and Jock Young (2015), cultural criminology is essentially concerned with the interweaving of cultural forces with the practices of crime and its control and aims to: understand crime as expressive; understand crime as a global public spectacle, mediated for consumption; and provide a critique of the politics of crime and criminal justice. In the 21st century, cultural criminologists have tended to focus on the social construction of crime and its control (the cultural studies tradition) rather than the subcultures of crime (the sociology of deviance tradition), in consequence of which the mass and social media have become an increasingly important subject of research. The Cuckoo’s Calling provides convincing explanations of the constituents of class condition, the impact of celebrity culture, and the harm of elitism at its symbolic, existential, and anthropic levels of meaning respectively. In order to articulate The Cuckoo’s Calling’s unique contribution to cultural criminology, one must move beyond its representational capacity, approaching the novel as an act rather than an object. The narrative event is an allegorical staging of the complexity of social reality that discloses the relationships among class condition, celebrity culture, and elitism by the combination of character, setting, and action. Approaching The Cuckoo’s Calling as an act determines and realises that act as a rejection of the conception of celebrity culture as a social equaliser. I summarised Jewkes’ (2004) view of mass education,



internet technology, and celebrity culture as contributing to social mobility and the resulting diversification of the upper echelons of late modern society in the previous section. There can be no doubt that the uppermost class conditions are more demographically diverse now than they were when Boorstin and Bourdieu were developing their respective theories and that this change has been caused by the phenomena Jewkes identifies. What The Cuckoo’s Calling reveals, however, is that while the upper echelons have increasingly different phenotypic traits, accents, and skill sets, the distance between the upper and lower echelons is greater than ever. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009) demonstrated that the UK was one of the four most unequal countries in the world in terms of income –​behind Singapore, the US, and Portugal –​ in 2009. This would be exacerbated by the austerity policies of the Cameron-​Clegg coalition, which is about to be voted in at the end of the novel, and eight years later the UK was in third place on the Index of Health and Social Problems, behind the US and Portugal (Wilkinson and Pickett 2018). The distance between the upper and lower class conditions is dramatised in the contrast between Lula and her friend Rochelle, whom she met in a drug treatment programme. They are both young ethnic minority women with mental health and substance abuse problems who have no relationship with their biological parents. The difference in their class conditions could not be greater, however, with Lula part of the uppermost echelon and Rochelle meeting all the criteria for Murray’s underclass. Rowling foregrounds this difference in Strike’s initial depiction of Rochelle (Rowling 2013: 223): She was uncompromisingly plain. Her greasy skin, which was the colour of burned earth, was covered in acne pustules and pits; her small eyes were deep-​set and her teeth were crooked and rather yellow. The chemically straightened hair showed four inches of black roots, then six inches of harsh, coppery wire-​red.



The contrast with Lula’s absurd beauty could not be greater. The ‘plainness’ aside, Rochelle is what Lula could have become had she not been adopted by the Bristows. Despite what they have in common and Lula’s desire to construct a Black identity (of which the black roots serve as a reminder), the class divide is too deep for genuine friendship and they ultimately engage in mutual betrayal: Lula abandons Rochelle to meet her brother and Rochelle blackmails Bristow instead of confiding in the police. The novel as an act does more than reveal the failure of celebrity culture to make any meaningful difference to social stratification: it reveals that celebrity culture exacerbates rather than alleviates elitism. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order is one of the seminal works of cultural criminology, published before the term was coined, and co-​authored by Hall, Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke, and Brian Roberts (1978). The monograph is divided into four parts, with the first two presenting a rigorous empirical analysis of the mass media’s representation of a particular kind of violent crime from August 1972 to August 1973 and the second two a complex theoretical argument for state and media complicity in promoting racism during and after the period in question. The media’s representation of young, Black muggers created what Stanley Cohen (1972: 1) referred to as a ‘moral panic’, in which the threat posed by a particular group is exaggerated such that it is represented as undermining the very foundations of civil society. The state’s response –​aggressive policing and exemplary sentencing –​could not be justified by either the number or the severity of the crimes actually committed, but was indicative of a crisis of hegemony. In the face of increased violence in Ulster and increased trade union militancy, Edward Heath’s Conservative government could no longer rule by consent. The identification of a criminal group that posed a threat to society as a whole provided the government with an alibi for coercive rule. ‘This is where the cycle of moral panics issues directly into a law-​and-​order society’ (Hall et al



1978: 323, emphasis in original). Although the media and the state colluded in creating the mugging crisis and racialising it, Hall and his colleagues are clear that there was no conspiracy between them –​the media’s creation of the mugging moral panic merely presented the state with an opportunity to respond to its hegemonic crisis. The result was that the ‘on-​ going problem of policing the blacks had become, for all practical purposes, synonymous with the wider problem of policing the crisis’ (Hall et al 1978: 332, emphasis in original). One of several ways in which Policing the Crisis is valuable to cultural criminologists is in its model of critique: the mass media first created a moral panic about mugging and then racialised it, perpetrating the harm of racism. Hall (2007: 45; see also: Hall, Massey and Rustin 2013; Hall and O’Shea 2013) only discussed celebrity culture briefly in his work, but was nonetheless clear that it contributed to new, ‘ “post-​ industrial” class structures’. The Cuckoo’s Calling as an act applies his earlier critical model to celebrity culture, a phenomenon that was created by the mass media, is sustained by the mass media and social media, and perpetrates the harm of elitism. Recall from my discussion of Boorstin and Penfold-​Mounce that celebrities are famous for being famous, not famous for whatever catapulted them to fame in the first place. Once celebrity status is achieved everything the individual does is of interest to the public, whether deviant, criminal, or just ordinary. This continuous attention is reproduced in the novel, from the paparazzi crowding around Lula’s corpse on the first page to the final mention of the case, while Strike is waiting for his appointment at the Amputee Centre. In a similar manner to a moral panic, celebrity news involves the media’s creation of newsworthy stories from the flimsiest of premises. The Cuckoo’s Calling reveals how celebrity status, created and cultivated by the media, exacerbates elitism, aggravating the difference between the uppermost class condition and the rest by representing and reproducing the distinction on a daily basis in the mass and social media. The media reminds us of



the apparently unbridgeable gap between the Lulas and the Rochelles of our world 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year for every year of our lives. This perpetual celebration of the superiority of individuals with media capital contributes to a culture in which Murray’s (2020) biological theory of class condition is taken seriously. The Cuckoo’s Calling reminds us of the contingency of class condition: were it not for her good fortune in being adopted, which was facilitated by Bristow’s murder of Charlie, then Lula may well have lived Rochelle’s life. The lives Lula and Rochelle are leading when each is murdered are completely out of proportion to the one’s luck and the other’s misfortune, and the media exaggerates this difference without acknowledging the causal role of chance. Lula’s death is headline news, but Rochelle’s death –​if reported at all –​is only newsworthy to the degree that it contributes to the further fetishisation of Lula. The Cuckoo’s Calling has criminological value in illuminating the connections among media capital, mediated culture, and elitism, but its contribution to cultural criminology is the way in which the narrative event stages celebrity culture as exacerbating elitism. The novel opens with the impact of the media on the police investigation and closes with the impact of solving the case on Strike, both professionally and personally. Lula’s death is not only a media sensation, broadcast to hundreds of millions of people across the globe, but treated differently by the police in consequence of their awareness of the extent to which they will be under public scrutiny. Solving her murder has a greater impact on Strike’s new career than anything he has done in the last eighteen months –​not because of his skills or character as a detective, but simply because it is Lula’s murder. I am not suggesting that Rowling’s revelation of the role of celebrity culture in maintaining the hegemony of the socioeconomic elite is evidence that she has similar political views to Hall and his colleagues or that she would concur with their Marxist analysis.2 My proposal is simply that The Cuckoo’s Calling is an anti-​elitist act that deploys a very similar



model of mass media critique. More specifically, the extra-​ representational dimension of the novel reveals that celebrity culture exacerbates rather than alleviates elitism, aggravating the difference between the upper and lower class conditions by means of media capital. In the next chapter I consider the practicalities of employing allegories as effective and efficient articulations of causal relations, setting out a suitable means by which the representation can be mapped onto the reality.



Critical Criminological Methodology

Representation and reality In Chapter Two, I delineated criminological criticism as a method for critical criminology. I applied this method to three examples of allegory –​a film, a television series, and a novel –​in Chapters Three, Four, and Five in order to disclose their respective insights into the harms of sexism, racism, and elitism. In Chapter Three, I argued that Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) frames resistance to hegemonic masculinity, gender cooperation, and the possibility of feminist statehood as a demand for radical feminist governance. But how does one get from the urgency of radical feminism in Mad Max to the urgency of radical feminism in reality? The film may be set in Australia, but it is a post-​apocalyptic Australia and Immortan Joe’s Citadel bears little resemblance to any existing society. The problem seems to be aggravated in Chapter Four, where I claimed that Carnival Row (2019) demonstrates the contribution of racism, alienation, and decivilisation to urban revanchism. The series is set in a fantastic world of myth and magic that, if it resembles life on Earth at all, is more representative of the early 20th than the early 21st century. With this in mind, The Cuckoo’s Calling (Rowling 2013) initially seems less problematic. I maintained that the novel makes a case for celebrity as exacerbating rather than alleviating elitism courtesy of media capital and mediated culture. Unlike the other two allegories, The Cuckoo’s Calling is set in a real place, which is represented accurately and authentically. The problem


Critical Criminological Methodology

nonetheless remains, because however realistic Rowling’s London is, the moment she describes Lula, Robin, and Strike as inhabiting it, it ceases to be the actual, historical London of 2010. One can visit Denmark Street and perhaps even find the exact building in which Strike lives and works, but one will not find ‘C.B. Strike, and, underneath it, the words Private Detective’ on any of the doors inside it (Rowling 2013: 14). Whether set in the Burgue, a not-​too-​distant future Australia, or a not-​quite-​contemporary London, all of the allegories are fictional narratives. In A Criminology of Narrative Fiction (McGregor 2021a), I argued that none of the three standard distinctions between nonfiction and fiction –​true versus false, belief versus imagination, and existence versus invention –​ described the sophistication of the difference in sufficient detail. I defined fiction as a particular type of communication between a producer and a receiver in which there is tolerance for invention, imagination, and fabrication. This tolerance is, however, precisely what gives critical criminologists pause for taking fiction seriously. The practice of fiction involves the production and reception of works that are produced and received as fictions: they are neither intended nor expected to be accurate or authentic representations of reality. At best, critical criminologists may feel uncomfortable accepting a fictional narrative, no matter how complex, as a source of information; at worst, they may feel it is straightforwardly unethical. This distrust is very likely responsible for the lack of criminological interest in fiction. As I noted in Chapter One, the criminological engagement with fiction has been limited to date, originating in cultural criminology (Rafter 2000, 2007; Brown 2004), migrating to first the critical realist framework (Ruggiero 2003; Frauley 2010; McGregor 2020a), then the narrative criminological framework (Brisman 2016, 2019; McGregor 2018), and most recently to ultra-​realist theory (Wakeman 2018; Raymen 2018; Hayward and Hall 2021). Although there have been several notable exceptions (Rafter 2006; Cavender and Jurik 2012; Wood 2019), cultural



criminology has for the most part been concerned with the way in which fictions misrepresent reality. Typically, cultural criminologists assume or argue that the knowledge provided by fictions is restricted to knowledge of the production and reception of representations rather than knowledge of the reality represented. Setting this scepticism aside, Jameson (2019) does not delineate or describe the relationship between allegory and reality in any detail beyond brief commentary on the former holding up a mirror and a microscope to the latter. It seems, therefore, that however entertaining or enlightening my practice of criminological criticism thus far has (or has not) been, there is very little that a critical criminologist could actually take away and use. In Chapter Two, I linked the symbolic level of meaning of an allegory with its cognitive value as fiction, quoting Aristotle (2004) on the significance of universals to fiction. Recall that the fictional particular –​Furiosa, the Fae, Strike –​instantiates a universal –​the sex-​gender distinction, ethnic minority, the complexity of class condition –​such that there is a referential relation between the representation and reality. The pictures that depict Furiosa and the Fae and the language that describes Strike in the works refer to the universals in the world. This link between work and world is not, however, enough to solve the problem. First, it establishes the referential relation at only one of the four levels of meaning. I may thus be able to convince critical criminologists that Fury Road provides insight into gender stereotypes, but not about gender cooperation or feminist statehood. Second and more importantly, the referential relation is concerned with the representation of reality and not with the extra-​representational dimension of the allegory. Again, while I might be able to convince critical criminologists that Carnival Row provides insight into racism, I could not use the cognitive value of the series to make a case for insight into urban revanchism. If we take criminological criticism as a method at present –​the method by which I explored and extracted the insights of the three


Critical Criminological Methodology

allegories –​then it must at the very least meet two criteria before it will have even a chance of being accepted by critical criminologists and other social scientists. First, the method must be valid. Validity is ‘the degree to which the measures or codes used to operationalise a concept really capture what we intend to capture’ (Perri 6 and Bellamy 2012: 21).1 Second, the method must be reliable: ‘A reliable system of measurement or coding is consistent in that, each time it is used on the same data, it yields the same measure or code’ (Perri 6 and Bellamy 2012: 21, emphasis in original). In other words, criminological criticism must actually measure what it intends to measure and must do so in a consistent manner. Understood in these terms, the problem with criminological criticism is that it is invalid. Rowling’s representation of Lula’s and Strike’s respective struggles with celebrity culture is distinct from actual celebrity culture. In consequence, the novel can only tell us about the way in which phenomena like celebrity culture are represented, which is primarily of interest to literary theorists but may be of marginal or tangential interest to critical criminologists. Alternatively, from a less charitable perspective, the novel tells us nothing at all about celebrity culture in the world in which I am writing and you are reading this book. Literary philosophy My response to the objection that criminological criticism is invalid involves an excursion into the discourse of the humanities, specifically the discipline of philosophy. One of the questions addressed by both literary and cinematic aesthetics is whether complex narratives can actually contribute to philosophy and, if so, in what way. Most philosophers acknowledge that complex narratives can be philosophical –​ stimulate philosophical thinking and illustrate philosophical concepts and theories –​but few are convinced that there is a meaningful sense in which complex narratives can be philosophy. In other words, there can be philosophy in or



through narrative, but not narrative as philosophy. Iris Vidmar Jovanović (2019; Vidmar 2012, 2015, 2016a, 2017a, 2017b, 2019a) takes up this challenge by establishing a theory of literary philosophy, of literature as a particular way of doing philosophy. In order for a literary work to actually do philosophy rather than simply provide a stimulus for philosophical thought or illustrate philosophical concepts and theories, the work must meet two criteria, epistemic and aesthetic. First, the knowledge that the reader acquires from the work must actually be philosophy (epistemic): of similar subject and sophistication to academic philosophy. Second, the philosophy must be by the work, not imposed upon it by the reader (aesthetic): ‘the literary works themselves … “do” the cognitive work’ (Vidmar Jovanović 2019: 42). One way in which a complex narrative can meet the aesthetic criterion is to reproduce a particular experience of a particular character in readers or audiences by means of narrative structure and experiential configuration (Zamir 2006, 2018, 2020). I demonstrated how this was achieved in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2007) and Richard Loncraine’s Richard III (1995) in Narrative Justice (McGregor 2018). Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar 2013, 2016b, 2019b) sets out other ways of meeting the aesthetic criterion, using Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary: Provincial Manners and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (which is another allegory) as examples. I explained the unique ways in which Fury Road, Carnival Row, and The Cuckoo’s Calling met the aesthetic criterion in Chapters Three, Four, and Five and it is the epistemic criterion that is the more problematic of the two. Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar 2019a: 159) allays scepticism about whether a literary work could ever meet the epistemic criterion by establishing the ‘recognition requirement’ (emphasis in original). She begins by noting that art, a category which includes literature, is, like philosophy, typically concerned with the human condition and with the predicaments faced by human beings. As such, art and philosophy are two distinct but overlapping means by which new issues that have significance


Critical Criminological Methodology

for human beings are brought to the attention of humanity; that is, recognised. Vidmar Jovanović (2019a: 160) characterises this as a hermeneutic breakthrough: a recognition requirement is met, in that a certain novel, cognitively enriched conceptualization of a phenomenon is identified and brought into the referential framework of a community of knowers. Richer hermeneutic resources are provided, more efficient in addressing the layers of reality, natural and social world and human practices, which carry greater potential to explicate human experience and to improve the overall conditions in which humans live. Recognition is a hermeneutic breakthrough because it penetrates the hermeneutic circle, the interpretative problem created by the constitution of meaning in the combination of text and context. In order to recognise a relevant conceptualisation one must have knowledge of the referential framework of social reality, but the referential framework of social reality is itself constituted by relevant conceptualisations, producing a vicious regress. Hermeneutic methodology avoids this regress by progressing through different layers of understanding, in which the interpreter moves back and forth between text and context so as to gradually improve their knowledge of text, context, and the relationship between them. Philosophy and art both deploy hermeneutic methodology and Vidmar Jovanović (2019a: 161–​ 2) notes that the following five virtues are characteristic of both practices: ‘sharpened perceptual capacities’, ‘profound reflective capacity’, ‘specifically sharp imagination’, ‘particular kind of curiosity’, and ‘rich creativity’ (emphasis in original). The recognition requirement frames the practices of art and philosophy as pursuing the same end and the significant distinction between them as the way in which this pursuit is conducted. The knowledge one gains from the experience of philosophy and art is thus the same, merely acquired in a different way.



Philosophy and art are simply two ways of developing one’s epistemic agency and literature is closer to philosophy than other forms of art because literature and philosophy typically employ a linguistic (rather than visual or hybrid) mode of representation (Vidmar 2019b). The recognition requirement is the means by which literary works are able to meet the epistemic criterion in Vidmar Jovanović’s theory of literary philosophy. Canonical works such as Madame Bovary and Never Let Me Go are particularly likely to meet the recognition requirement, facilitating a literary aesthetic argument for such novels meeting both the epistemic and aesthetic criteria, in consequence of which there is a meaningful sense in which such novels are doing philosophy. The philosophy is not in or through the literary works; the literary work is the philosophy. What, one might ask, has Vidmar Jovanović’s literary philosophy got to do with critical criminology? Philosophy is a foundation discipline –​historically, the foundation of all academic disciplines –​and, as such, the problems with which it concerns itself can be mapped directly on to other disciplines. The question of ‘literary philosophy’ is thus also the question of ‘literary criminology’, or the criminology of narrative fiction in my terminology (McGregor 2021a). In this case I am concerned with a more specific category, what one might call ‘allegorical criminology’. Whether the relevant category is literature, narrative fiction, or allegory, Vidmar Jovanović’s two criteria apply to critical criminology to the same extent that they apply to philosophy. In order for a literary, fictional, or allegorical work to do criminology the knowledge it provides must actually be criminology (epistemic) and it must be the work rather than the reader or audience that does the criminology (aesthetic). The aesthetic criterion is the same for both philosophy and criminology, but what does it mean for allegorical knowledge to be criminology? I address this question in detail in Chapter Seven, but broadly speaking critical criminology is concerned with the reduction of harm and the reduction of harm usually (although not always) begins with the explanation of the causes


Critical Criminological Methodology

of harm. The epistemic criterion for doing criminology is therefore the explanation of the causes of harm and all of my examples in the previous three chapters have demonstrated that this can be achieved by an allegory. Vidmar Jovanović’s theory of literary philosophy thus underpins my allegorical criminology and facilitates the development of criminological criticism from a critical criminological method to a critical criminological methodology, that is to a theory of research, set of principles, and system of methods that regulate a particular inquiry (McGregor 2018). Fictional testimony To return to the set of questions with which I began this chapter, how do we know that the insights into sexism, racism, and elitism in Fury Road, Carnival Row, and The Cuckoo’s Calling extend beyond their fictional world to our own? Because allegories meet the epistemic criterion for critical criminology by providing explanations of the causes of these harms that we can recognise. One does not have to experience these allegories to know that hegemonic masculinity, decivilisation, and celebrity culture are harmful, but experiencing them provides us with a cognitively-​enriched conceptualisation that we assimilate into our referential framework. Some social scientists may object on the basis that the allegories do not meet the epistemic criterion because the explanation of the causes of harm must refer to our world, not the fiction, and the recognition requirement is insufficient to bridge the gap between the two.2 Vidmar Jovanović (2019; Vidmar 2010, 2012, 2019a, 2019b; Vidmar and Baccarini 2010) accepts this as a potential problem for literary philosophy and presents a second argument for literature meeting the epistemic criterion by means of her conception of fictional testimony. There are four main sources of knowledge for human beings: perception, memory, reason, and testimony (Audi 2011). Testimony is distinguished from the other three by not having its own cognitive faculty, which



is because its source is external to the epistemic agent. In epistemological terms, testimony is knowledge that I acquire from communication by others. This is a very broad category that includes knowledge acquired through participation in conversations and through the experience of representations, that is all of the knowledge one might gain from chatting to a friend, watching a news broadcast, browsing the internet, and reading a textbook. As such, testimony is the primary source of knowledge for most people in late modern society. Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar and Baccarini 2010: 334) uses fictional testimony ‘to refer to the testimony coming from narrative artworks.’ Her approach to the distinction between fictional and nonfictional testimony replicates her approach to the distinction between literature and philosophy. The aim in each case is to demonstrate that the similarities are more significant than the differences from an epistemic point of view. In the case of testimony, the same or significantly similar mechanisms are at work in both fiction and nonfiction. Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar 2017b: 384) draws attention to the fact that fiction is ‘about the mode of presentation, not about the falsity of that which is presented’ and her argument runs parallel to several others who have examined the distinction between fiction and nonfiction from different perspectives (Matravers 2014; Worth 2017; McGregor 2021a). The idea is that the difference between narrative representation and non-​narrative representation is more significant than the difference between fictional narrative representations and documentary narrative representations when considered in epistemological terms. To use Vidmar Jovanović’s terminology, the mechanisms by which fictions and documentaries communicate knowledge are very similar while the mechanisms by which narrative representations and non-​narrative representations communicate knowledge differ greatly. My own view is that Vidmar Jovanović offers evidence for a stronger claim than she is prepared to make and that the two mechanisms are not similar but identical: narrative representations, specifically complex


Critical Criminological Methodology

narratives, provide knowledge in the same way regardless of whether they are verbal, visual, or some combination of the two; or fictional, nonfictional, or some combination of the two (McGregor 2018). Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar 2010: 523) notes that nonfiction and fiction can ‘be true or false, both of them can deceive us, give us false ideas, generate untrue beliefs and be the product of a deceptive mind’. On the other hand, they can both be informative of the world, enhance human understanding, and –​ in the case of narrative representations –​provide knowledge of what particular experiences are like. She (Vidmar Jovanović 2019: 70) proposes a ‘Broad View’ of testimony that recognises the similarities between fictional and nonfictional testimony by not excluding the former on the basis that it is fictional and by recognising that both fictional and nonfictional testimonies require evaluation before they can be accepted as informative. Most if not all of our knowledge about complicated matters requires corroboration, that is, confirmation from at least a second source and perhaps several. This is the sense in which Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar and Baccarini 2010; Vidmar 2012) requires the receivers of testimony to do their share of epistemic work in order to overcome their epistemic inferiority. In other words, the reception of testimony is not an epistemologically passive process. Before knowledge can be acquired from testimony, the testifier must be evaluated for –​at least –​their sincerity and reliability: are they telling what they believe to be true and is what they believe to be true likely to be true? I might, for example, know that a friend of mine is scrupulously honest, but that their expertise in critical criminology is very limited, in consequence of which I would be unlikely to regard their explanation of a particular type of harm as actual knowledge (because they are, in this instance, sincere but unreliable). In contrast, multinational media corporations have access to vast financial resources and multiple sources of information so they should be reliable, but most if not all pursue their own economic or political



agendas, which calls their sincerity into question. The testifier is the source of knowledge but their testimony is not accepted as knowledge until the recipient has evaluated it against the criteria for sincerity and reliability. There is thus an extent to which testimony is interpreted by the recipient, which recalls the way in which we gain knowledge from films, television series, and novels, and is further suggestive of the similarity between fictional and nonfictional testimony. Vidmar Jovanović (Vidmar 2019b: 354) concludes: A literary work can be seen as a special kind of testimony in which an author assumes the role of an informant and the reader that of a listener. As in any testimonial exchange, in order for a listener to learn something, the informer has to be sincere and reliable, and a listener should not trust blindly but on the basis of evidence that supports the testimony (even if such evidence consists of the prior reliability of a particular informer). As such, works of literature and other types of narrative art are justifiable sources of knowledge. Literary and cinematic narratives are a special kind of testimony in which the author, director, or studio testifies to the reader or audience and in which their testimony is –​just like the other kinds of testimony evaluated by readers and audiences –​subject to corroboration. Fictional testimony meets the epistemic criterion because there is no essential difference between nonfictional and fictional testimony. One cannot doubt fiction as testimony without also doubting documentary as testimony and documentary narratives are uncontroversial –​perhaps even paradigmatic –​examples of testimony. As testimony, works of fiction are straightforwardly sources of knowledge and also subject to the usual evaluation to which all such sources are subject. So the question Vidmar Jovanović faces –​is the philosophy of Never Let Me Go relevant beyond the fiction? –​ceases to be relevant; as testimony, Never Let Me Go is in, about, and of our world and the relevant epistemic


Critical Criminological Methodology

question is whether it is sincere and reliable philosophy. Similarly, if all three of my examples are regarded as fictional testimonies, then the important question is whether the testimony is sincere and reliable, not whether it has relevance beyond the representation. In other words, the question is not whether Fury Road is fictional sociology, but whether it is sincere and reliable sociology. A second and significant advantage of Vidmar Jovanović’s theory of fictional testimony is that it accounts for the extra-​representational dimensions of the allegories with which I am concerned. Testimony is an act, a communication made by the testifier, and my engagements with Fury Road, Carnival Row, and The Cuckoo’s Calling have been with the allegories as both objects and acts. Critical criminological methodology In the previous two sections, I argued that Vidmar Jovanović’s theory of literary philosophy is convincing and that it establishes the criteria by which allegories can be said to be criminological and thus provide an alternative to more traditional sources of data on the causes of harm. I noted that the way in which the epistemic criterion is met was controversial and suggested the value of Vidmar Jovanović’s conception of fictional narratives as a particular type of testimony to critical criminology. Fictional testimony –​or fiction as testimony –​makes a more robust case for some allegories (such as my three examples) meeting the epistemic criterion and makes a more direct link between representation and reality. The allegories in which I am interested are fictional, but if one regards them as testimony, then that testimony –​the production and reception of the allegory –​necessarily takes place in the world rather than in the work. The allegory as testimony also draws attention to its extra-​representational dimension, which is produced by the interaction of the four levels of meaning that constitute its representational dimension. What, then, does it mean to conceive of Fury Road, Carnival Row, and The Cuckoo’s Calling



as the testimonies of their respective director, studio, and author? Fury Road is testimony of the urgency of radical feminist governance, which argues that feminist statehood is distinct from feminist supremacy and that it is a possibility emergent from both resistance to hegemonic masculinity and the availability of genuine gender cooperation. Carnival Row is testimony of the instability of democracy, revealing the vulnerability of its fundamental principles to urban revanchism and the extent to which this vulnerability is facilitated by the perpetration of the harms of racism, alienation, and decivilisation. The Cuckoo’s Calling is testimony of the celebration of elitism, the way in which celebrity culture contributes to both the diversification of the uppermost class conditions and the aggravation of the distance between them and the rest by means of media capital and mediated culture. Conceiving of these fictional works as testimony precludes the objection that, as fictions, they don’t tell us anything about the world. Fiction as testimony, like the extra-​ representational dimension of the allegories, is a communication that occurs in the world and thus begs the question of whether there is a relationship between the work and the world. Edward Said (1983: 4) refers to the phenomenon as the worldliness of the text, by which he means that all texts are of and in the world, ‘a part of the social world, human life, and of course the historical moments in which they are located and interpreted’. Allegorical works as fictional testimony are always already worldly. My claim is that if allegories are conceived as fictional testimony, they have the potential to provide critical criminological insights along the full range of ideas, arguments, hypotheses, and theories. I am not using idea in any specialist or technical sense, but in the everyday sense of something that exists in the mind: an awareness, an impression, or a thought. Reading Octavia Butler’s (1993) Parable of the Sower, for example, gave me the idea that social progress is reversible, which was subsequently confirmed when I lived through the rise of the right in the second decade of the 21st century. An argument, as I shall employ the term, is ‘an


Critical Criminological Methodology

inference from one or more starting points (truth claims called a “premise” or “premises”) to an end point (a truth claim called a “conclusion”)’ (Baggini and Fosl 2010: 2). A complex argument may have more than one conclusion. An argument whose conclusion(s) follow logically from its premises is valid. A valid argument with true premises is sound: its conclusion is true. The following argument, which does not do justice to the novel’s depth, may be derived from China Miéville’s (2009) The City & the City: P1 If split cities can be created by both physical and psychological divisions, then many contemporary global metropolises are split cities. P2 Split cities can be created by both physical and psychological divisions. C Therefore, many contemporary global metropolises are split cities. The argument is valid, which means that if the first (P1) and second (P2) premises are true, then the argument is sound and the conclusion (C) also true. Arguments are contrasted with explanations, with the former used to demonstrate the truth of a statement (the conclusion) and the latter to show how that statement is true. Explanation is often made by means of a hypothesis. Broadly speaking, a hypothesis is an expectation based on the truth of an idea, argument, or theory. Scientists use the process of deduction to identify testable claims by means of which the hypothesis is either corroborated or falsified (Baggini and Fosl 2010). In scientific terminology, a hypothesis is ‘a precise statement of the observations expected to be found in data which are collected and analysed to establish patterns of association or causal process’ (Perri 6 and Bellamy 2012: 304). Returning to Parable of the Sower, one could derive the following hypothesis: the fear of crime plays a more substantial role than the actual crime rate in social disintegration.



Broadly speaking, a theory is a coherent set of propositions that determine the assumptions upon which research is based and the context within which research is undertaken. In the natural and social sciences theories are concerned with predictions, specifically the prediction of future observations. A theory is significantly more complex than a hypothesis –​hypotheses are in fact derived from theories in order to test them –​but most critical criminological theories can be presented as a précis. The City & the City is more than sufficiently complex to underpin a critical criminological theory and the following is a précis of what, for want of a better term, one might call the theory of split cities: The theory of split cities claims that the segregation of different groups of people (along the lines of class, religion, race, or nationality) in the urban environment contributes to the individual’s failure to recognise members of a different group as fully human. This failure contributes to urban violence as perpetrated by both the dispossessed and the state. In the novel, failed recognition is staged as a practice in which the inhabitants of one of the cities see those in the same city as themselves and ‘unsee’ those in the other city regardless of their physical proximity (Miéville 2009: 44). The violence is staged in the concept of breach: ‘breach’ is the criminalised act of crossing between the two cities by physically moving from one to the other, speaking to someone in the other city, or even looking at someone in the other city –​seeing them (Miéville 2009: 44); ‘Breach’ is also the mysterious agency that enforces the porous border between the cities, with an extensive and intrusive surveillance network and powers of detention without trial and forced disappearance (Miéville 2009: 46). Once allegories are recognised as fictional testimonies, there is no reason that they should not be a source of critical criminological ideas, arguments, hypotheses, and


Critical Criminological Methodology

theories. Critical criminology is concerned with both theory and practice, however, in consequence of which criminological criticism must be able to able to negotiate not only the space between representation and reality but between theory and practice. I turn to the second of these spaces in the next chapter.



Interdisciplinary Intervention

Allegorical criminology Thus far, I have demonstrated that criminological criticism is a method by means of which allegories can be mined for their critical criminological insights, insights into the causes of harm (Chapters Three to Five), and that criminological criticism is also a critical criminological methodology, that is, there is no compelling reason to dismiss insights derived from allegories (Chapter Six). I expressed these insights in terms of ideas, arguments, hypothesis, and theories and I shall focus on the latter two in this chapter, as being the most useful to critical criminologists in their pursuit of harm reduction. Let me be clear about precisely where my argument for a new methodology is before I proceed. I have reached a point where I have a hypothesis and a theory each derived from an allegory. The hypothesis, from Butler’s (1993) Parable of the Sower, is: the fear of crime plays a more substantial role than the actual crime rate in social disintegration. The theory, from Miéville’s (2009) The City & the City, is: the segregation of different groups of people in the urban environment contributes to the individual’s failure to recognise members of a different group as fully human, which in turn contributes to urban violence as perpetrated by both the dispossessed and the state. Regardless of the fact that they have been derived from allegories, they should be taken as seriously as any other and, prima facie, both the hypothesis and the theory appear to have great critical criminological potential. The question is now how I, as a criminological critic, get from the hypothesis and


Interdisciplinary Intervention

the theory to actually reducing the harms caused by the fear of crime and by urban segregation or, more realistically, to placing others in a position where they can reduce these harms. This gap between theory and practice raises a further question: is the reduction of harm the only way to do critical criminology? To answer this question, I turn to sociology, specifically to Michael Burawoy’s (2005) now famous Presidential Address to the American Sociological Association in 2004. Burawoy suggests that there are four divisions of sociological labour: professional sociology, policy sociology, critical sociology, and public sociology. Professional sociology is concerned with ‘the creation, elaboration, [and] degeneration of multiple research programs’ (Burawoy 2005: 12). Typical activities include presenting papers to academic audiences, publishing in academic journals, publishing monographs and edited collections for academic audiences, teaching, and publishing textbooks for students. Policy sociology ‘is sociology in the service of a goal defined by a client’ (Burawoy 2005: 9). The client may be from the public, third, or private sectors and may define the sociologist’s agenda broadly or narrowly. Burawoy employs the sociologist as an expert witness as an example of a narrowly-​defined relationship with a client. As I noted in Chapter Three, Burawoy defines critical sociology as examining the foundations of the research programmes of professional sociology. This is a reflexive activity that includes presenting papers to academic audiences and publishing papers and books for academic audiences. Typically, critical sociologists will draw attention to the sexist, racist, or elitist assumptions of professional sociology or its failure to take ecology into account. Public sociology ‘strikes up a dialogic relation between sociologist and public in which the agenda of each is brought to the table, in which each adjusts to the other’ (Burawoy 2005: 9). Typical activities involve being interviewed by the media, speaking at public events, taking part in public debates, publishing articles in the media, and publishing books for a public audience, nonfiction rather than academic titles.



Burawoy considers all four of these categories to be essentially rather than contingently interlinked, with each embracing aspects of the other in addition to its distinctive core role, but I think the divisions are useful in conceiving of the different pathways to impact available to academics. Where does this leave criminology and critical criminology in particular? Although criminology as practised in the 21st century is essentially interdisciplinary, it remains closest to sociology, from which it emerged as a discrete discipline in the latter half of the 20th century. As such, Burawoy’s divisions map neatly onto criminology: professional criminology involves the creation, elaboration, and degeneration of multiple research programs; policy criminology is criminology in the service of a goal defined by a client; critical criminology examines the foundations of the research programs of professional criminology; and public criminology is criminology in dialogue with the public. I am not suggesting that critical criminology is confined to the third of these divisions, a reflexive activity aimed only at realigning professional criminology in terms of gender, race, class, and ecology. I distinguished critical criminology from traditional criminology on the basis of the former’s concern with harm and the latter’s concern with crime in Chapter Two. As such, I take critical criminology to include critical sociology, urban zemiology, and cultural criminology and use ‘reflexive criminology’ for the critique of professional critical criminology. As Burawoy mentions, his four divisions can be paired in terms of the direction at which their impact is aimed. Professional and reflexive critical criminology are internal practices, their outputs produced for other academics and for students in academic institutions. Policy and public critical criminology are external practices, their outputs produced for recipients outside the academy, for particular institutions and particular publics, which may reach a local, regional, national, or global audience. My interest is in developing a methodology for critical criminologists that has a measurable impact beyond the academy, that is in bridging


Interdisciplinary Intervention

the gap from critical criminological theory to the reduction of harm. This brings me back to my first question, which is about how the gap is bridged. The reduction of harm is achieved by employing theoretical and empirical investigation and verification to direct or inform public policy and evidence-​based practice (Matthews 2014). The chain of causation from critical criminology to harm reduction proceeds as follows: critical criminological inquiry identifies the cause or causes of a particular harm; the findings of the research are translated into a policy for one or more public, third, or private sector agencies with the aim of reducing or removing the causal factor or factors; and the policy is put into practice resulting in the reduction of certain types of harm or of the commission of various harms by certain categories of perpetrator (McGregor 2021a). The key factor that links critical criminological research to harm reduction is the explanation of the cause or causes of the harm, which I mentioned in Chapter Six (Agnew 2011). The process I have described here is a progression from professional critical criminology to policy critical criminology. Regardless of whether the practice of policy critical criminology is the most effective way of reducing harm in reality, it is certainly the most direct. Also likely to be effective, albeit it indirectly, is public critical criminology, in which critical criminologists influence the public who, in turn, influence the policies pursued by the public, third, or private sectors at local, regional, national, or global levels. In the remainder of this chapter I establish a model of collaboration by means of which the criminological critic and the critical criminologist can both contribute to the actual reduction of harm in practice. The criminological critic The purpose of this short monograph is to establish a new methodology for critical criminology and, in so doing, to provide a model for collaboration between literary critics



and critical criminologists that may also serve as a model of collaboration between literary studies and the humanities on the one hand and criminology and the social sciences on the other. In my model, the criminological critic and the critical criminologist have distinct functions derived from their respective disciplines in order to take advantage of the synergy between them. The criminological critic may be a literary or film critic or have a background in literary or cinematic aesthetics and should have some expertise in sociology, zemiology, or criminology. In contrast, while the critical criminologist is likely to have expertise –​or at least an interest –​ in media and culture, the model requires neither, merely a willingness to work with the criminological critic. Each has three roles to play and the collaboration begins with the criminological critic. They must first deploy their expertise in literature, cinema, or narrative to assess, articulate, and abstract the insights into harm afforded by a particular allegory. These insights may be absent or trivial, in which case the allegory will be of no further interest to the criminological critic (but may of course be of great interest to the literary critic pursuing the aims of their own discipline). The insights may also be vague or ambiguous. This is my experience of HBO’s Watchmen (2019). I can see its potential for critical criminology, but the themes of racism and exceptionalism are not developed to the extent where they make a clear contribution to the explanation of the causes of these harms. (I have, in consequence, filed my notes on the series as a potential example that may reward renewed attention in the future.) How, the critical criminologist may ask, is this abstraction performed by the criminological critic? Interpretation and appreciation are the skills practised and perfected in the disciplines of literary and film studies and literary and cinematic aesthetics. Tzachi Zamir (2020) outlines the principles that underpin interpretation and appreciation in his theory of philosophical criticism. In a similar manner to the way in which Vidmar Jovanović’s (2019; Vidmar 2010, 2019a, 2019b) literary


Interdisciplinary Intervention

philosophy can be mapped directly on to critical criminology, so Zamir’s philosophical criticism can be mapped directly on to criminological criticism. Zamir’s (2020: 1) introduction to philosophical criticism is particularly helpful in this regard: Its essence could be formulated in three sentences: (1) Exceptional literary creations owe much of their value to the relationship between the insights they enable and the experiential pathways via which these insights are reached. (2) Aesthetic value (that which makes a work worthy as literature) and epistemic value often interlock. (3) Philosophical criticism is an attempt to respond to this correspondence. Criticism becomes philosophical when it traces and enriches the synergy between being moved and grasping something new. If one replaces ‘literary’ with ‘allegorical’ and ‘philosophical’ with ‘criminological’, then criminological criticism is an attempt to trace and enrich the synergy between being moved and grasping something new about the causes of harm. Zamir elaborates on these principles by identifying three tasks for the philosophical critic: evaluation, existential amplification, and experience. Critical evaluation is constituted by the attribution of merit, the perception of significance, and the experience of meaningfulness. These refer to the values perceived, the personal relevance of reading, and reading as an ongoing activity respectively. Reading closely and critically ‘means relating anew to the vocabulary which determines our experiences’, facilitating an existential amplification whereby the reader extends her living possibilities and exceeds her habitual conceptualisations (Zamir 2020: 13). The most familiar existential amplification is empathy, the imaginative experience of the beliefs, emotions, and attitudes of others. Finally, the philosophical critic must chart the relationship between the experience of a literary work and the conceptual insights communicated by that work, decoding the way in



which the experience produces the insights. The critic’s aim in this respect is not to paraphrase the insight so that it need not be experienced by others, but to encourage others to experience the work themselves by demonstrating its value. Similarly, one can understand the criminological critic as evaluating a particular allegory, enabling her existential amplification through the allegory, and describing the experiential insight thus gained. If this does not make a great deal of sense to the critical criminologist or social scientist, then that does not matter much. Her role, as I claimed earlier, is distinct from that of the criminological critic and I present this short summary as an indication of the latter’s expertise. Where an allegory succeeds in affording aetiological insight, the criminological critic must then proceed to her second role, which is to assess the scope of the insight. In other words, she must decide whether the abstraction from the allegory is an idea, an argument, a hypothesis, or a theory. I began this chapter with a reminder of my two examples in Chapter Six, a hypothesis derived from Parable of the Sower and a theory derived from The City & the City. In my examples in Chapters Three to Five, I practised criminological criticism on Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Carnival Row (2019) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013) in such a way as to present the full extent of their respective insights into the causes of the harms of sexism, racism, and elitism. As my aim in this monograph is to establish a new methodology rather than a new critical criminological theory, I stopped short of assessing the scope of these insights. While I performed only the first of the criminological critic’s three roles, I am nonetheless confident that each one of the allegories could provide either a hypothesis or a theory. I offer them as examples to any colleagues who may find them useful, whether as a source of stimulation for critical criminological thinking or as fully-​fledged case studies. The third and final role of the criminological critic is to articulate her abstraction from the allegory –​whether an idea, argument, hypothesis, or theory –​ in critical criminological terminology: as a


Interdisciplinary Intervention

subject for social scientific investigation. The terminology should reflect existing disciplinary definitions and be capable of being operationalised, as in my examples of: social progress, global metropolises, split cities, fear of crime, social disintegration, and urban violence. In practice, this may involve some simplification or deliberate omission. I omitted discussing transphobia and ableism in Chapter Three in spite of their relevance to Fury Road and I mentioned xenophobia and speciesism only briefly in my evaluation of Carnival Row in Chapter Four. The reason for the omissions and simplifications is that my aim is to present each as a potential contribution to critical criminology and that the most obvious and extensive contributions to critical criminology are the insights related to the harm of sexism in Fury Road and the harm of racism in Carnival Row. Once the criminological insight of an allegory has been assessed and that insight formulated as an idea, argument, hypothesis, or theory, then the essential part of the criminological critic’s role in the collaboration is complete. The critical criminologist The critical criminologist must first draw on her knowledge of the discipline to determine whether the idea, argument, hypothesis, or theory presented by the criminological critic is original. In other words, they must ask whether it breaks new ground in critical criminology or merely revises or revisits previous research conducted by more traditional means. If the insight is not original, then there is little point in pursuing the criminological criticism further and the collaboration between the criminological critic and the critical criminologist would end before it became synergic. In Chapter Six, I mentioned living through the rise of the right in the second half of the last decade and while the idea that social progress is reversible may have been original at the time of the publication of Parable of the Sower it is hardly the case now, after more than five years of right wing populism on both sides of the Atlantic. In



consequence, that idea alone would not be worth pursuing. In contrast, while the argument that many global metropolises are split cities has already been made from the perspective of economic divisions (for example: Dear 2000; Soja 2000), the relationship between physical divisions and psychological divisions derived from The City & the City may be worth pursuing. (This would, at least in part, depend upon the way in which a criminological critic fleshed out the very brief argument for many contemporary global metropolises as split cities that I used as an example.) If the insight abstracted from the allegory by the criminological critic is original, then the second role of the critical criminologist is to deploy her social scientific expertise to make an assessment of whether the theory or hypothesis can be tested. One, albeit not the only, way to do this is to determine whether the hypothesis or theory is falsifiable and, if necessary, revise the criminological critic’s articulation in falsifiable terminology. Both of the examples I have used could be tested if they were judged as likely to make original contributions to critical criminology and the hypothesis is falsifiable in its present form. The fear of crime plays a more substantial role than the actual crime rate in social disintegration would be false if the actual crime rate was shown to play an equal or greater role than the fear of crime in social disintegration. The split cities theory of urban harm as presented in the previous paragraph would need revision, for example: urban segregation contributes to failed recognition, which in turn contributes to urban violence. This hypothesis would be false if urban segregation did not contribute to failed recognition or if failed recognition did not contribute to urban violence or if urban segregation did not contribute to failed recognition and failed recognition did not contribute to urban violence. If the insight abstracted from the allegory by the criminological critic is testable, then the critical criminologist can proceed to her third role in the collaboration, which involves conducting the actual test or set of tests, either confirming or falsifying


Interdisciplinary Intervention

the hypothesis or theory by empirical means. The hypothesis that the fear of crime plays a more substantial role than the actual crime rate in social disintegration would be difficult to test, but might be achieved by comparing data from two examples of crime-​fuelled social disintegration, one in which there was a high fear of crime and the other in which there was a low fear of crime. A more rigorous test would involve four data samples: high fear/​high crime, high fear/​low crime, low fear/​ high crime, and low fear/​low crime. The theory that urban segregation contributes to failed recognition, which in turn contributes to urban violence would be even more difficult to test, involving two distinct causal relations, first between urban segregation and failed recognition, and then between failed recognition and urban violence. I do not have sufficient expertise in empirical research to undertake such testing on my own and would ideally want a research partner with expertise in quantitative research, which I lack. I have no doubt, however, that the theory could be tested. The important point is that once the insight from an allegory becomes a hypothesis or theory, its origin ceases to matter. Another way of putting this is that it is no longer allegorical criminology, just criminology –​or, more accurately, critical criminology. As such, the hypothesis or theory becomes available to policy (and public) criminology, with the potential to inform public, third, or private sector initiatives, to be translated into policy, and to be implemented in criminal justice or social activist practice. The notion that allegories can provide criminological insights that can contribute to public policy is new, but the notion that synergy between the social sciences and humanities can produce better public policy is not. Two recent projects by colleagues of mine spring to mind. Representation of Transnational Human Trafficking in Present-​Day News Media, True Crime, and Fiction (Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research 2021) was led by Christiana Gregoriou from the School of English at the University of Leeds and combined her previous work on the subject (Gregoriou 2017a) with input



from academics in other disciplines, professional journalists and authors, and government and third sector stakeholders to produce a policy briefing (Gregoriou 2017b). The purpose of the project was to explore the ways in which the representation of transnational human trafficking in the mass media, true crime genre, and crime fiction novels shapes public perception of the phenomenon, with a particular focus on the way in which the victims of transnational human trafficking are portrayed. Video Game Photography: An Examination of Reflective Gameplay (University of Southampton 2021) was led by Vladimir Rizov from the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton and combined his previous work on the subject (Rizov 2021) with input from academics in other disciplines, creative professionals, and private sector stakeholders to produce a policy briefing and podcast series (both of which are currently in production). The purpose of the project was to explore the phenomenon of video game photography for insights into artificial intelligence, the knowledge economy, and the production of smart spaces by comparing the sense-​making practices of developers and players. Both projects are paradigmatic examples of utilising the synergy between the social sciences and the humanities to create a policy output that constitutes a genuine positive intervention in social reality. Interdisciplinary intervention My last journey abroad before COVID-​1 9 disrupted international travel was for professional reasons, to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) as a visiting lecturer in December 2019. I had spent most of the year attempting to interest academics in the UK in Narrative Justice (McGregor 2018) without success, but had received more positive responses from colleagues in Israel, Croatia, and the US. My intention was to show that narrative justice was not merely a theory of the impact of culture on the actualisation of social justice,


Interdisciplinary Intervention

but a methodology that contributed to the existing narrative criminological framework by juxtaposing documentary and fictional narratives. As such, I was somewhat nervous about presenting to the Institute of Criminology at HUJI, where criminology is for the most part practised using a traditional approach and quantitative methods. I selected a subject that had tangential relevance to Israel without pretending expertise I do not possess and made sure that the lecture addressed a practical rather than theoretical question. My presentation was, in consequence, an attempt to bring my work on political violence –​specifically, the use of death squads by the apartheid regime in South Africa –​to bear on the debate surrounding the release of Eugene de Kock, the most notorious of the state’s assassins, on parole in 2015. Much to my surprise it was well received, even though my conclusion drew heavily on insight derived from Ron Shelton’s Dark Blue (2002), a fictional film about the Los Angeles Police Department’s controversial Special Investigation Section. The questions and comments at the end were constructive and helpful in the way one always hopes they will be, but the most useful part was a conversation with two criminologists over lunch. Notwithstanding their quantitative training and my combination of data derived from documentary and fictional sources, my Israeli colleagues were prepared to accept both my findings and my methodology. The question they posed was why a criminologist should employ my methodology when they could discover the same findings using tried and tested traditional social scientific methods. As is often the case, I had no immediate answer to offer and, after further reflection, decided that they were right and that it was the narrative justice theory rather than the narrative justice methodology that had value for criminology. An answer to the question eventually struck me nine months later, about six months into the COVID-​19 pandemic in the UK and immediately after reading Richard Sparks’ (2020) report to the Economic and Social Research Council on the present and future of criminology. One of the main themes of



the report is the urgent need for interdisciplinary work, which is crucial to maintaining the impact and relevance of criminology in the 21st century, and literary studies is identified as one of the subjects ripe for collaboration. Sparks (2020: 476) not only calls for interdisciplinary collaboration, but identifies six gaps in current research, one of which is a perfect fit with my work in Narrative Justice: ‘Representations, discourses, politics’. My Israeli colleagues were right to point out the problems with a criminologist trying to do literary criticism, but the problem could be solved by interdisciplinary collaboration. The relevant question is then why a criminologist would want to collaborate with a literary critic. My answer, adapted from Sparks, is that collaboration with literary studies and related disciplines contributes to the impact and relevance of critical criminology with respect to (at least) representations, discourses, and politics. There is a second part to my answer, however; a reason that I could not have given in December 2019. The data collected from allegories can be collected at any time and anywhere, regardless of restrictions on global or local travel, as long as the researcher has internet access (and even that may not be required at all times). I researched, wrote, and edited Chapters Three and Five of this book over several months in which I did not leave home except to walk my dog. Not only the initial research, but the whole of the criminological critic’s role and the first two parts of the critical criminologist’s roles in my model of collaboration can be completed in conditions where movement is restricted with precisely the same rigour that they could be completed before the pandemic made such an intrusion into everyday life. The question of why scholars from the disciplines of literary studies, film studies, and philosophical aesthetics would want to collaborate with criminologists and social scientists is, regrettably, much easier to answer. Ever since the neoliberalisation of higher education, by which I mean the reduction of the multiple values of the institution of higher education to its quantifiable economic value, humanities


Interdisciplinary Intervention

departments and programmes have been under significant threat (Spivak 2012; Collini 2012, 2017; Small 2013). This is not the place to detail this process, which became official policy in the UK in 2012, and its consequences, which had an immediate and negative impact on both students and staff. One does not have to look very far or very hard to see Vice Chancellors exploiting COVID-​19 as a means of achieving a quicker and smoother transition to an end that appears to be the transformation of the institution of higher education into an institution of higher training, turning a public good into a kind of academic-​industrial complex that will generate profit for shareholders by placing the burdens of risk on students and staff (raising the cost of a university education while casualising the profession that delivers it). In general, humanities subjects fare poorly when their value is measured quantitatively and reduced to a cost–​benefit analysis. When compared to the social sciences and the natural sciences upon which the social sciences are modelled, humanities research outputs typically have low scores in terms of outputs, impact, and income. So, for a literary or film critic, collaboration with a critical criminologist provides a way in which she can both deploy her disciplinary expertise and raise the impact of her research in terms of the metrics that are ultimately going to determine both her job security and promotion prospects. I have set out my model of collaboration in what may appear to be a rather rigid –​perhaps even simplistic –​manner in the previous paragraph. I did this in order to maximise the synergy between the two disciplines and because the overlap of expertise between them is typically limited. There may well be literary critics with sufficient expertise in sociology, zemiology, or criminology to perform some of the roles of the critical criminologist and critical criminologists with sufficient expertise in media and culture to perform some of the roles of the criminological critic. Alternatively, the two could work together on every stage of the process. Working together from beginning to end could either waste time by doubling the work



or save time by making a more careful selection of the allegories to be studied. I have called my description of this collaboration a model, however, because it is precisely that, a model that can be imitated but is more likely to be useful when adapted to suit the needs of a particular team of researchers. Similarly, I have focused exclusively on allegories in this monograph –​because Jameson’s (2019) scholarship has convinced me that they are a valuable resource for critical criminologists that has thus far been completely overlooked –​but literary and film critics may well find other categories of fiction that can be valuable to critical criminologists in similar or completely different ways. I suggested other avenues that humanities scholars can pursue –​ the genres of hardboiled and science fiction in particular –​in A Criminology of Narrative Fiction (McGregor 2021a), but did not go into detail. I am not sure what direction future research might take, but I am sure that collaboration between literary critics and critical criminologists is worth pursuing and that allegories can underpin genuine interventions in late modern life in virtue of the way in which they hold up a mirror and a microscope to its complexity. Having established the value of criminological criticism as both a method of and methodology for critical criminology, I am now in a position to summarise my argument for the model.




Critical criminological method In Chapter One, I introduced my argument for a new methodology for critical criminology with a rationale, literature review, and extended abstract. The rationale drew attention to the extent to which most literary criticism and much critical criminology has little impact on social reality and to my conviction of the need to change this situation. The literature review presented a summary of the only three sustained criminological engagements with fiction to date: Vincenzo Ruggiero’s (2003) Crime in Literature: Sociology of Deviance and Fiction, Jon Frauley’s (2010) Criminology, Deviance, and the Silver Screen: The Fictional Reality and the Criminological Imagination, and my own (McGregor 2021a) A Criminology of Narrative Fiction. I characterised the remainder of the book as introducing criminological criticism as a method, providing three examples of criminological criticism in practice, and then expanding the method into an interdisciplinary methodology. Chapter Two started with a definition of a complex narrative as the product of an agent that is high in narrativity in virtue of representing one or more agents and two or more events which are causally connected, thematically unified, and conclude. I then presented Fredric Jameson’s (2019) model of fourfold allegory in which the literal, symbolic, existential, and anthropic meanings interact such that the meaning of the work taken as a whole is more than the sum of the meanings of its representational levels. Fourfold allegories are also complex



narratives and the levels of allegorical meaning correspond with the four philosophical values attributed to narrativity: aesthetic, cognitive, ethical, and political. In consequence, the practices of the interpretation of meaning and the appreciation of value are mutually complementary. Both of these practices can be applied to both the representational and extra-​representational capacities of the work and are constituent elements of criminological criticism, which is the employment of allegories for the purpose of explaining the causes of harm and social injustice with the intention to contribute to the reduction of that harm and social injustice. The purpose of Chapter Three was to practise criminological criticism on George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) in order to disclose the feature film’s insight into the causes of the harms associated with sexism. The film is an action thriller set in a dystopian future where the Earth’s ecosystem and human civilisation have collapsed. Interpreted and appreciated as an object, Mad Max resists hegemonic masculinity, provides a model of gender cooperation, and imagines the possibility of feminist statehood at its symbolic, existential, and anthropic levels of meaning respectively. Interpreted and appreciated as an act, the film is a demand for the urgency and desirability of radical feminist governance as proposed by Angela Davis (1981, 1989), who argued that social transformation should be led by the most marginalised in society. As such, Mad Max demonstrates the relationships among feminist resistance, gender cooperation, feminist statehood, and radical feminist revolution, making a substantial contribution to critical sociology. The purpose of Chapter Four was to practise criminological criticism on Prime Video’s Carnival Row (2019) in order to disclose the television series’ insight into the causes of the harms associated with racism. The series is an urban fantasy in which human beings and mythical creatures coexist and combines features of both the postcolonial epic and murder mystery genres. Interpreted and appreciated as an object,



Carnival Row reveals the relationships among the harms of racism, alienation, and decivilisation at its symbolic, existential, and anthropic levels of meaning. Interpreted and appreciated as an act, the series exemplifies the instability of democracy and its vulnerability to what Gareth Millington (2011) refers to as urban revanchism, a process in which the urban centre is reclaimed by the wealthy, White population. As such, Carnival Row demonstrates the causal effects of racism, alienation, and decivilisation on urban revanchism, making a substantial contribution to urban zemiology. The purpose of Chapter Five was to practise criminological criticism on J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013) in order to disclose the novel’s insight into the causes of the harms associated with elitism. The novel is a murder mystery set in contemporary London and written in the style of a hardboiled detective story. Interpreted and appreciated as an object, The Cuckoo’s Calling provides convincing explanations of the constituents of class condition, the psychological impact of celebrity culture, and the harm of elitism at its symbolic, existential, and anthropic levels respectively. Interpreted and appreciated as an act, the novel rejects the conception of celebrity culture as a social equaliser, deploying a similar model of mass media critique to Stuart Hall and his colleagues’ critique of the mass media’s complicity in racism in 1978. As such, The Cuckoo’s Calling illuminates the connections among media capital, mediated culture, prejudice, and the celebration of elitism, making a substantial contribution to cultural criminology. Critical criminological methodology Having demonstrated both the practice and the value of criminological criticism in the previous three chapters, I turned to developing the method into a fully-​fledged methodology in Chapter Six. I defined methodology as the combination of a systematic method with a theory of research and a set of principles. The main challenge to meet with respect to deploying



criminological criticism as a method for critical criminology is the distance between the causes of harm as represented in fiction and those same causes as they exist in reality. I used Iris Vidmar Jovanović’s (2019; Vidmar 2019a, 2019b) theory of literary philosophy to identify two criteria for the validity of allegorical criminology: first, the knowledge provided must be knowledge of the reality, not just knowledge of the fiction (epistemic criterion); and second, the knowledge must be extracted from the fiction not imposed upon it (aesthetic criterion). The first of these is achieved by what Vidmar Jovanović refers to as the recognition requirement, in which there is a significant overlap in the goals pursued by both artistic practice and academic research, and the second by the extra-​representational capacity of the allegories I have used as examples. Vidmar Jovanović’s (2019; Vidmar 2010, 2012; Vidmar and Baccarini 2010) theory of literary philosophy is underpinned by her principles of fictional testimony: the fictional mode of presentation is a form of testimony that shares many of the features of nonfictional testimony, in consequence of which fictions are always in and of the world and are able to represent reality in detail and with accuracy. If allegories are conceived as fictional testimony, they have the potential to provide insight into, arguments for, hypotheses about, and theories of, harm causation. Chapter Seven aimed to demonstrate how the criminological critical methodology established in the previous chapter can be used to produce actual interventions in social reality. I proposed a model of collaboration between critical criminologists and literary critics that set out three distinct roles for each, for the purpose of maximising the synergy between the two disciplines. Typically, the research would begin with the criminological critic, who must first abstract the insights of the allegory, then assess their scope, and finally articulate the abstractions in critical criminological terminology. At this point, the critical criminologist would usually take over, first determining the originality of the insights, then assessing whether the insights can be tested, and finally conducting the test or set of tests



necessary to falsify or confirm the insights. If the argument, hypothesis, or theory abstracted from the allegory is confirmed, then it becomes indistinguishable from other criminological arguments, hypotheses, or theories and enters the public arena, where it has the potential to inform government initiatives, be translated into policy, or implemented in criminal justice or social activist practice. Next, I suggested that this model of collaboration can be extended beyond partnership between literary studies and criminology to other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences more broadly. I concluded with a brief reflection on the usefulness of criminological criticism as a critical criminological methodology during the COVID-​19 pandemic as well as in other circumstances where resources or travel are restricted. Critically ever after I began this book with a quote from Inspector Tyador Borlú, the protagonist and narrator of China Miéville’s (2009) The City & the City. I used Borlú’s observation on a conference he had attended to introduce the literary studies conference that prompted me to reflect on my research programme. My reflection found that programme wanting and my belated perception of this failure motivated me to write Critical Criminology and Literary Criticism as the first of several corrective measures. In Chapter Six I mentioned the way in which Miéville stages failed recognition as a practice in which the inhabitants of Besźel and Ul Qoma see those in the same city as themselves and unsee those in the other city regardless of their physical proximity. ‘Unseeing’ (Miéville 2009: 161) is not a bad description of the existing relationship between critical criminologists and literary critics. Each knows that the other is ‘grosstopically’ (Miéville 2009: 160) close, usually sharing the same workplace, but both tend to ignore one another’s research programmes, failing to recognise that many if not most are to at least some extent ‘crosshatched’ (Miéville 2009: 161) with



respect to their goals. I have characterised critical criminology as being concerned with social rather than criminal justice and the same can be said of at least some literary criticism since the inauguration of the Marxist tradition by philosophers such as György Lukács, Leon Trotsky, and Walter Benjamin in the 1920s (and perhaps long before that). More recently, the ethical turn in criticism at the end of the 20th century has prioritised the relationship between literature and social justice for a broad range of critics and philosophers, encompassing three distinct traditions: the neo-​Aristotelian (exemplified by Martha Nussbaum), the post-​Hegelian (exemplified by Richard Rorty), and the post-​structural (exemplified by Jacques Derrida). Notwithstanding, most of us most of the time continue to ignore one another’s work, perhaps passing a polite comment at a faculty meeting or staff social, but largely restricting our gaze to the confines of our disciplines in the same way that Miéville’s characters restrict their gazes to the confines of their city. The reason that academics unsee one another in reality is also shared with the citizens of Besźel and Ul Qoma in Miéville’s fiction: while Breach acts as a deterrent to the crime of breach, most citizens most of the time simply unsee one another out of habit. Borlú commits breach when he shoots a fleeing murderer in Ul Qoma from Besźel, not only recognising the man in the other city, but breaching the invisible border by means of a bullet. Instead of the expected detention or execution, he finds himself recruited by Breach, exiled to an existence in which he is located neither in Besźel nor Ul Qoma and in both Besźel and Ul Qoma. While he is wistful about the life and the colleagues he has left behind, he nonetheless embraces the new world in which he finds himself. The novel closes with an affirmation by Borlú of the degree to which his transgression has led to a new way of living that is richer and more rewarding than the old. I urge all social scientists and humanities scholars to see rather than unsee the research programmes of other disciplines and to recognise them as equally valuable means to the shared



end of creating a more just world. My suggestion is that those of us who engage with one another’s work are likely to find our academic transgression as worthwhile as Borlú found his legal transgression. That is the end of the case of Orciny and the archaeologists, the last case of Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Besźel Extreme Crime Squad. Inspector Tyador Borlú is gone. I sign off Tye, avatar of Breach, following my mentor on my probation out of Besźel and out of Ul Qoma. We are all philosophers here where I am, and we debate among many other things the question of where it is that we live. On that issue I am a liberal. I live in the interstice yes, but I live in both the city and the city. (Miéville 2009: 373)


Notes three The Critical Sociology of Mad Max: Fury Road  1


I discuss elitism in detail in Chapter Five. Briefly, I employ the term to denote prejudice based on social class: preconceived antipathy or hostility for those of an inferior class condition. Both women prospered in the Reagan administration in the US (1981–​1989), O’Connor as the first woman associate justice of the Supreme Court and Kirkpatrick as the first woman US Ambassador to the UN.

four The Urban Zemiology of Carnival Row  1 2


This chapter is based on a previously published paper (McGregor 2021b). I am grateful to the publisher for permission to reproduce it here. This recalls Beauvoir (1949) on the second gender as the negation of the first, which I discussed in Chapter Three. Beauvoir and Fanon were in fact part of the same philosophical movement, as Webber (2018) explains in Rethinking Existentialism. I discuss class condition in detail in Chapter Five. Briefly, I employ the term to denote the causal relationship between economic, cultural, and social capital on the one hand and dispositions and behaviour on the other hand.

five The Cultural Criminology of The Cuckoo’s Calling  1


As such, Rowling’s series is one of several to employ serving or former Service Police investigators as protagonists, following Nelson Demille’s (1992) military murder mystery, The General’s Daughter. I think the Strike novels are superior to their competitors –​the series of Lee Child, Adrian Magson, and David Baldacci –​so much so that reading The Cuckoo’s Calling was one of the reasons I abandoned writing a sequel to my own contribution to the subgenre, Bloody Reckoning (McGregor 2017). Rowling’s tweets in the lead up to the 2017 UK general election (which was won by the Conservative Party) suggest quite the opposite. She was critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party on the basis that his overtly socialist platform would alienate too many voters and facilitate a Conservative victory. Notwithstanding, the similarities between



the two critiques are salient and extend beyond the points noted in my brief discussion here.

six Critical Criminological Methodology  1


This is in fact Perri 6 and Christine Bellamy’s definition of construct validity as opposed to internal validity, but my concern is exclusively with the former. If I appear to be labouring this point, it is because of the responses I received when I submitted my first paper on criminological fiction in 2018 (published as McGregor 2020a). The editors of the British Journal of Criminology, Theoretical Criminology, and Criminology and Criminal Justice all stated that criminological fiction was literary theory rather than criminology and the peer reviewers of Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal would not accept an approach external to the cultural criminological framework. I mention this experience not as a criticism of my peers, but as evidence of resistance to the aetiological value of fiction within the discipline.


References Agnew, R. (2011). Toward a Unified Criminology: Integrating Assumptions about Crime, People, and Society. New York, NY: New York University Press. Alcoff, L.M. (2006). Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Allen, T.W. (1994/​2012). The Invention of the White Race Volume I: Racial Oppression and Social Control. London: Verso Books. Aristotle (2004). Poetics. Trans. P. Murray and T.S. Dorsch. In: Murray, P. (ed.). Classical Literary Criticism. London: Penguin, 57–​97. Audi, R. (2011). Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Routledge. Auerbach, E. (1946/​2003). Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Trans. W.R. Trask. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Baggini, J. and Fosl, P.S. (2010). The Philosopher’s Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-​Blackwell. Ber nstein, A. (2015). The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road. London: Titan Books. Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2007). Directed by Ridley Scott. US: Warner Bros. Boorstin, D. (1961/​1992). The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-​Events in America. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Bourdieu, P. (1972/​1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. Trans. R. Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1980/​1992). The Logic of Practice. Trans. R. Nice. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P. (1983/​1986). The Forms of Capital. Trans. R. Nice. In: Richardson, J. (ed.). Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 15–​29. Bourdieu, P. (1989/​1996). The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Trans. L.C. Clough. Cambridge: Polity Press.



Brisman, A. (2016). On Narrative and Green Cultural Criminology. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 6 (2), 64–​77. Brisman, A. (2019). The Fable of The Three Little Pigs: Climate Change and Green Cultural Criminology. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8 (1), 46–​69. Brown, M. (2004). Crime Fiction and Criminology. Criminal Justice Review, 29 (1), 206–​20. Burawoy, M. (2005). For Public Sociology. American Sociological Review, 70 (1), 4–​28. Butler, J. (1999). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge. Butler, O.E. (1993/​2019). Parable of the Sower. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. Carnival Row (2019). Originally released 30 August. US: Prime Video. Cavender, J. and Jurik, N.C. (2012). Justice Provocateur: Jane Tennison and Policing in Prime Suspect. Champaign, IL: Illinois University Press. Chandler, R. (1939/​1949). The Big Sleep. London: Hamish Hamilton. Chandler, R. (1948/​2015). Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story. In: Chandler, R. The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler. New York, NY: Ecco, 35–​40. Cohen, A. (1955). Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang. New York, NY: Free Press. Cohen, S. (1972/​2011). Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. Abingdon: Routledge. Collini, S. (2012). What are Universities For? London: Penguin. Collini, S. (2017). Speaking of Universities. London: Verso Books. Currie, G. (2010). Narratives & Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dark Blue (2002). Directed by Ron Shelton. US: MGM Distribution Co. Davis, A.Y. (1981/​2 019). Women, Race and Class. London: Penguin Books. Davis, A.Y. (1989/​1990). Women, Culture, and Politics. New York, NY: Vintage Books.



Davis, A.Y. and De Guzman, R. (2020). A Question of Memory: A Conversation with Angela Y. Davis. In: Beegan, G. and Gustafson, D. (eds). Angela Davis: Seize the Time. Munich: Hirmer, 81–​90. D e a r, M . J. ( 2 0 0 0 ) . T h e P o s t m o d e r n U r b a n C o n d i t i o n . Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. de Beauvoir, S. (1949/​2010). The Second Sex. Trans. C. Borde and S. Malovany-​Chevallier. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Demille, N. (1992). The General’s Daughter. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. Douglass, F. (1845). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston, MA: The Anti-​Slavery Office. Elias, N. (1939/​2000). The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations. Trans. E. Jephcott. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Elias, N. (1986). Introduction. In: Elias, N. and Dunning, E. Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 19–​62. Elias, N. (1988). Wir sind die späten Barbaren. Der Spiegel, 21 (42), 183–​90. Fanon, F. (1952/​2008). Black Skin, White Masks. Trans. R. Philcox. New York, NY: Grove Press. Ferrell, J. (1996). Crimes of Style: Urban Graffiti and the Politics of Criminality. Boston, MA: Northeastern. Ferrell, J. (1999). Cultural Criminology. Annual Review of Sociology, 25(1), 395–​418. Ferrell, J., Hayward, K. and Young, J. (2015). Cultural Criminology: An Invitation. 2nd ed. London: SAGE Publications. Flacks, R. and Turkel, G. (1978). Radical Sociology: The Emergence of Neo-​Marxian Perspectives in US Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 4, 193–​238. Frauley, J. (2010). Criminology, Deviance, and the Silver Screen: The Fictional Reality and the Criminological Imagination. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Gibson, J. (2018). On the Ethical Character of Literature. In: Hammer, E. (ed.). Kafka’s The Trial: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 85–​110.



Goldie, P. (2012). The Mess Inside: Narrative, Emotion, and the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gouldner, A.W. (1970). The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. New York, NY: Basic Books. Gregoriou, C. (2017a). Crime Fiction Migration: Crossing Languages, Cultures and Media. London: Bloomsbury. Gregoriou, C. (2017b). PaCCs Policy Brief: The Representation of Transnational Human Trafficking in present-​day News, True Crime and Fiction. Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research. Available at: ​ p olicy-​ br iefings/​ t ransnational-​ h uman-​ t rafficking/ ​ f iles/ ​ a ssets/​ common/​downloads/​PaCCS%20Transnational%20Human%20 Trafficking%20Representation.pdf Hall, S. (2007). Richard Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy and the Cultural Turn. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 10 (1), 39–​49. Hall, S. and O’Shea, A. (2013). Common-​sense Neoliberalism. Soundings: A journal of politics and culture, 53, 8–​24. Hall, S., Critcher, C., Jefferson, T., Clarke, J. and Roberts, B. (1978/​ 1987). Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order. London: Macmillan Education. Hall, S., Evans, J. and Nixon, S. (eds.) (1997). Representation. London: SAGE Publications. H a l l , S. , M a s s ey, D. a n d R u s t i n , M . ( 2 0 1 3 ) . A f t e r Neoliberalism: Analysing the Present. Soundings: A journal of politics and culture, 53, 8–​22. Harcourt, B.E. (2020). Critique and Praxis. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Hayward, K. (2004). City Limits: Crime, Consumer Culture and the Urban Experience. London: Glasshouse Press. Hayward, K. and Hall, S. (2021). Through Scandinavia, Darkly: A Criminological Critique of Nordic Noir. British Journal of Criminology, 61 (1), 1–​21. Hillyard, P. and Tombs, S. (2004). Beyond Criminology? In: Hillyard, P., Pantazis, C., Tombs, S. and Gordon, D. (eds.). Beyond Criminology: Taking Harm Seriously. London: Pluto Press, 10–​29.



Hook, D. (2004). Frantz Fanon, Steve Biko, ‘Psychopolitcs’ and Critical Psychology. In: Hook, D. (ed.). Critical Psychology. Cape Town: Juta Academic Publishing, 84–​114. Hopkinson, N. (1998). Brown Girl in the Ring. New York, NY: Warner Books. Internet Movie Database (IMDb) (2021). Carnival Row. Filming & Production. Available at:​title/​tt0489974/​ locations?ref_​=tt_​ql_​dt_​5 Jameson, F. (1981). The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. New York, NY: Routledge. Jameson, F. (2019). Allegory and Ideology. London: Verso Books. Jameson, F. (2020). The Benjamin Files. London: Verso Books. Jewkes, Y. (2004). Media and Crime. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Jewkes, Y. and Linnemann, T. (2018). Media and Crime in the U.S. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. Kurasawa, F. (2017). An Invitation to Critical Sociology. In: Kurasawa, F. (ed.). Interrogating the Social: A Critical Sociology for the 21st Century. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 1–​34. Lefebvre, H. (1968). The Right to the City. Trans. E. Kofman and E. Lebas. In: Lefebvre, H. (1996). Writings on Cities. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 61–​181. Lynd, R. (1939/​2016). Knowledge for What: The Place of Science in American Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. MacKinnon, C.A. (1987). Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. MacKinnon, C.A. (1989). Towards a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Mad Max (1979). Directed by George Miller. Australia: Warner Bros. Mad Max 2 (1981). Directed by George Miller. Australia: Warner Bros. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie. Australia: Warner Bros. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Directed by George Miller. Australia: Warner Bros. Pictures. Marx, K. (1849/​2000). Wage-​Labour and Capital. Trans. F. Engels and D. McLellan. In: Marx, K. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 273–​94.



Marx, K. (1850). The Class Struggles in France. Trans. F. Engels and D. McLellan. In: Marx, K. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 313–​25. Marx, K. (1867). Capital. Volume I. Trans. S. Moore and E. Aveling. In: Marx, K. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 452–​525. Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1846/​2000). The German Ideology. Trans. W. Lough, C. Dutt and C.P. Magill. In: Marx, K. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 175–​208. Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1848/​2000). The Communist Manifesto. Trans. E. Paul and C. Paul. In: Marx, K. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 245–​71. Matravers, D. (2014). Fiction and Narrative. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Matthews, R. (2014). Realist Criminology. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Matza, D. (1964). Delinquency and Drift. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. McGregor, R. (2015a). Narrative Thickness. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 52 (1), 3–​22. McGregor, R. (2015b). Literary Thickness. British Journal of Aesthetics, 55 (3), 343–​60. McGregor, R. (2016). The Value of Literature. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. McGregor, R. (2017). Bloody Reckoning. London: Lume Books. McGregor, R. (2018). Narrative Justice. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. McGregor, R. (2020a). Criminological Fiction: What is it Good For? Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical Criminology, 12 (January), 18–​36. McGregor, R. (2020b). The Logic of Adventure: Marlow’s Moral Malady in Lord Jim. Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, 43 (3), 13–​22. McGregor, R. (2021a). A Criminology of Narrative Fiction. Bristol: Bristol University Press.



McGregor, R. (2021b). The Urban Zemiology of Carnival Row: Allegory, Racism and Revanchism, Critical Criminology: An International Journal. DOI: 10.1007/​s10612-​020-​09549-​7. Miéville, C. (2009). The City & the City. London: Macmillan. Millington, G. (2011). ‘Race’, Culture and the Right to the City: Centres, Peripheries, Margins. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Mills, C.W. (1959). The Sociological Imagination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Monster (2003). Directed by Patty Jenkins. US: Newmarket Films. Morgan, E.S. (1975/​2 003). Amer ican Slavery, Amer ican Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. Murray, C. (1984). Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–​1980. New York, NY: Basic Books. Murray, C. (2020). Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class. New York, NY: Twelve. Page, B.I., Seawright, J. and Lacombe, M.J. (2019). Billionaires and Stealth Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (2021). Representation of Transnational Human Trafficking in Present-​day News Media, True Crime, and Fiction. Available at:​ representation-​of-​transnational-​human-​trafficking/​ Pemberton, S. (2016). Harmful Societies: Understanding Social Harm. Bristol: Policy Press. Penfold-​Mounce, R. (2009). Celebrity Culture and Crime: The Joy of Transgression. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Perri 6 and Bellamy, C. (2012). Principles of Methodology: Research Design in Social Science. London: SAGE Publications. Piper, A. (1992). Passing for White, Passing for Black. Transition, 58, 4–​32. Plato (1997). Republic. Trans. G.M.A. Grube and C.D.C. Reeve. In: Cooper, J.M. (ed.). Plato: Complete Works. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 971–​1223. Presser, L. (2018). Inside Story: How Narratives Drive Mass Harm. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.



Rafter, N. (2000). Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Rafter, N. (2006). Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Rafter, N. (2007). Crime, Film and Criminology: Recent Sex-crime Movies. Theoretical Criminology, 11 (3), 403–​20. Raymen, T. (2018). Living in the End Times Through Popular Culture: An Ultra-realist Analysis of The Walking Dead as Popular Criminology. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, 14 (3), 429–​47. Richard III (1995). Directed by Richard Loncraine. UK: United Artists Pictures. Rizov, V. (2021). PlayStation Photography: Towards an Understanding of Video Game Photography. In: Bonner, M. (ed.). The Architectonics of Game Worlds. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Press, 49–​62. Rowling, J.K. (2013). The Cuckoo’s Calling. London: Sphere Books. Rowling, J.K. (2014). The Silkworm. London: Sphere Books. Rowling, J.K. (2015). Career of Evil. London: Sphere Books. Rowling, J.K. (2018). Lethal White. London: Sphere Books. Rowling, J.K. (2020). Troubled Blood. London: Sphere Books. Ruggiero, V. (2003). Crime in Literature: Sociology of Deviance and Fiction. London: Verso Books. Ruggiero, V. (2020). Visions of Political Violence. Abingdon: Routledge. Said, E.W. (1983). The World, the Text, and the Critic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Singer, P. (1993). Practical Ethics. Cambr idge: Cambr idge University Press. Slobodian, Q. and Schrader, S. (2018). The White Man, Unburdened: How Charles Murray Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Racism. The Baffler, 40. Available at: https://​​ salvos/​the-​white-​man-​unburdened-​slobodian-​schrader Small, H. (2013). The Value of the Humanities. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Soja, E.W. (2000). Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.



Sparks, R. (2020). Crime and Justice Research: The Current Landscape and Future Possibilities. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 20 (4), 471–​94. Spivak, G.C. (1999). A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Spivak, G.C. (2012). An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Strike (2017–​2020). Originally released 27 August. UK: BBC One. Stoller, R.J. (1968). Sex and Gender: On The Development of Masculinity and Femininity. New York, NY: Science House. Tennyson, A. (1842). Ulysses. In: Tennyson, A. Poems. Volume II. London: Edward Moxton, 88–​91. Ugwudike, P. (2015). An Introduction to Critical Criminology. Bristol: Policy Press. University of Southampton (2021). Video Game Photography: An Examination of Reflective Gameplay. Web Science Institute. Available at: ​ w si/ ​ research/ ​ s timulus-​ f und-​ projects/​ Vidmar, I. (2010). Against the Cognitive Triviality of Art. Proceedings of the European Society of Aesthetics, 2, 516–​31. Vidmar, I. (2012). Plato’s Ion in the Context of Literary Cognitivism. Glasnik za Društvene Nauke, 4, 111–​52. Vidmar, I. (2013). Thought Experiments, Hypotheses, and Cognitive Dimension of Literary Fiction. Synthesis Philosophica, 55–5​ 6 (1–2​ ), 177–​93. Vidmar, I. (2015). Literature and Philosophy: Intersection and Boundaries. Arts, 4, 1–​22. DOI: 10.3390/​arts4010001. Vidmar, I. (2016a). Challenges of Philosophical Art. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, 8, 545–​69. Vidmar, I. (2016b). Identity, Humanity and Bioethics: Philosophical Aspects of Never Let Me Go. In: Prnjat, A. and Kolarić, V. (eds.). Shadows in the Cave: Film and Philosophy. Beograd: Alfa Univerzitet, 7–​28. Vidmar, I. (2017a). Epistemic Game of Thrones. Synthesis Philosophica, 63 (1), 215–​34.



Vidmar, I. (2017b). On Literary Cognitivism from the Perspective of Difference between Literature and Philosophy. Synthesis Philosophica, 64 (2), 371–​86. Vidmar, I. (2019a). Rethinking the Philosophy-​L iterature Distinction. Rivista di estetica, 70 (1), 156–​71. Vidmar, I. (2019b). Literature and Truth: Revisiting Stolnitz’s Anti-​ cognitivism. Croatian Journal of Philosophy, XIX (56), 351–​70. Vidmar, I. and Baccarini, E. (2010). Art, Knowledge and Testimony. Synthesis Philosophica, 50 (2), 333–​48. Vidmar Jovanović, I. (2019). Cognitive and Ethical Values and Dimensions of Narrative Art. In: Vidmar Jovanović, I. (ed.). Narrative Art, Knowledge and Ethics. Rijeka: University of Rijeka, 17–​85. Wakeman, S. (2018). The ‘One Who Knocks’ and the ‘One Who Waits’: Gendered Violence in Breaking Bad. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, 14 (2), 213–​28. Wallerstein, I. (2006). Who Is Radical Sociology, What Is She? Contemporary Sociology, 35 (2), 109–1​1. Watchmen (2019). Originally released 20 October. US: HBO. Webber, J. (2018). Rethinking Existentialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. White, H. (1987). The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. (2009). The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. New York, NY: Bloomsbury. Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. (2018). The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-​being. London: Allen Lane. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/​2 009). Philosophical Investigations. Trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, P.M.S. Hacker and J. Schulte. Chichester: Wiley-​Blackwell.



Wolff, J.S. (2018). Hamburg, Germany: A Preliminary Case Study of Refugees in Towns. Refugees in Towns. April. Available at: https://​​static/​599720dc59cc68c3683049bc/​ t / ​ 5 c e 7 e e 9 9 4 1 9 2 0 2 8 3 9 3 8 b 9 0 3 9 / ​ 1 5 5 8 7 0 3 7 7 1 9 4 5 /​ RIT+Report+Hamburg+Germany.pdf Wood, M.A. (2019). Algorithmic Tyranny: Psycho Pass, Science Fiction and the Criminological Imagination. Crime, Theory, Culture: An International Journal, 15 (2), 323–​39. Woodson, C.G. (1935). The Story of the Negro Retold. Washington, DC: The Associated Publishers Inc. Worth, S.E. (2017). In Defense of Reading. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. Zamir, T. (2006). Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Zamir, T. (2018). Ascent: Philosophy and Paradise Lost. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zamir, T. (2020). Just Literature: Philosophical Criticism and Justice. New York, NY: Routledge.


Index References to endnotes show both the page number and the note number (116n3).

Beauvoir, S. de  27–​8 Bellamy, C.  81, 91 Bernstein, A.  34 Black identity  74 Black subjects  48 Black women  38 Boorstin, D.  65–​6, 75 Bourdieu, P.  62–​3 Brexit  47 Brown Girl in the Ring (Hopkinson)  1 Buroway, M.  36, 95–​6 Butler, J.  27–​8

A actions  19 advanced marginality  57 aesthetic value  10–​11, 15 Agnew, R.  97 agonopolis  56, 57, 58–​9 Alcoff, L.M.  28 alienation  48–​9, 49–​51, 55, 56, 58–​9 allegorical criminology  84–​5, 94–​7, 99, 103, 112 allegorical meaning  12–​14, 15, 18, 21, 110 allegorical staging  18–​19, 37, 55, 72 allegories  11–​12, 100, 103 as fictional testimony  85–​90, 92 fourfold  11–​14, 22, 109–​10 extra-​representational capacity  20–​1 interpretation and appreciation  14–​18 narrative events  18–​19 anthropic meaning  13, 17 Carnival Row  51–​4 Cuckoo’s Calling, The (Rowling)  69–​71 Mad Max: Fury Road  33 appreciation  15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 98 arguments  90–​1 Aristotle  16, 80 art  19, 82–​4 Audi, R.  85 Auerbach, E.  12 autobiographies  8

C capital  63 Carnival Row  42–​59, 110–​11 alienation  49–​51 decivilising process  51–​4 fictional testimony  90 plotlines  42–​3 representation and reality  78, 80 speciesism  44–​6, 52 xenophobia  47–​8 zemiological value  55–​9 celebrity culture  65, 66–​8, 72, 74, 75–​7 Chandler, R.  61, 62 Christian figural realism  12 cinema  3–​4 cinematic narrative  88 City & the City, The (Miéville)  1, 14–​15, 91, 92, 94, 102, 113–​15 civilising process  54 see also decivilising process class  57, 62–​3, 69 see also underclass

B Baggini, J.  91



class conditions  58, 63–​5, 69, 72–​4, 75–​7, 116n3 cognitive value  11, 15 Cohen, S.  74 collaborative work  103–​4, 106–​8, 112–​13 colonialism  48–​9 see also postcolonialism complex narratives  8–​11, 12, 21, 81–​2, 86–​7 conclusions  91 cosmopolis  56–​7, 58 COVID-​19  107 crime, fear of  74–​5, 94, 102, 103 Crime in Literature (Ruggiero)  3–​4 criminological criticism  21–​3, 80–​1, 93 see also critical criminology criminological critics  97–​101 criminological fiction  3–​5 criminological imagination  1 criminology  96 Criminology, Deviance, and the Silver Screen (Frauley)  3–​4 Criminology of Narrative Fiction, A (McGregor)  79, 108 Criminology of Narrative Film (McGreggor)  5 critical autonomy  20 critical criminological method  109–​11 critical criminological methodology  89–​93, 111–​13 critical criminologists  98, 101–​4, 113–​14 critical criminology  15–​16, 78, 79, 84–​5, 92–​3, 96–​7 collaborative work  103–​4, 106–​8, 112–​13 see also criminological criticism critical realist framework  4 critical sociology  36, 95 Cuckoo’s Calling, The (Rowling)  60–​77, 111 class conditions  63–​5, 72–​4, 75–​7 cultural criticism  65–​71

fictional testimony  90 plot  60–​1 representation and reality  78–​9, 81 ‘Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story’ (Chandler)  61–​2 cultural capital  63, 64, 71 cultural criminology  71–​7, 79–​80 Currie, G.  10

D Dark Blue (Shelton)  105 Davis, A.  37–​8, 41 decivilisation  55, 56, 58–​9 decivilising process  51–​4 democracy  90 nepotistic  55–​6 radicalisation of  54 Differences Engine, The (Gibson and Sterling)  2–​3 documentaries  86

E economic capital  63, 64, 71 Elias, N.  51, 54 elitism  38, 69–​71, 72, 75, 77, 116n1 empathy  99 emplotment  10 ethical meaning  13 ethical value  11, 15, 16–​17 ethnic identity  68 evaluation  99 existential amplification  99 existential meaning  13, 16–​17 Carnival Row  48–​51 Cuckoo’s Calling, The (Rowling)  67–​9 Mad Max: Fury Road  30–​3 experience  99–​100 explanations  91 extra-​representational capacity  17–​21 fictional testimony  89 Mad Max: Fury Road  40 Trial (Kafka)  20, 33



see also zemiology Hayward, K.  72 hegemonic masculinity  27, 35 Mad Max: Fury Road  26, 36 hermeneutic methodology  83 higher education  2, 106–​7 history  16 Hollywood blockbusters  25 Hook, D.  48 hospitable contexts  19 human trafficking  103–​4 humanities  98, 103–​4, 106–​7, 114 hyper-​masculinity  28, 29–​30 hypotheses  91, 92

F Fanon, F.  45, 48–​9 fear of crime  74–​5, 94, 102, 103 feature films  3–​4 see also Mad Max: Fury Road femininity  28, 30 feminism  34–​5 radical  36–​41, 90 feminist state  33, 37 Ferrell, J.  72 fiction  16, 79–​80, 86 fictional testimony  85, 86–​90, 92 film critics  98, 107 films  3–​4 see also Mad Max: Fury Road five act structure  25 Flacks, R.  36 form of life  19–​20 Fosl, P.S.  91 fourfold allegories  11–​14, 22, 109–​10 extra-​representational capacity  20–​1 interpretation and appreciation  14–​18 narrative events  18–​19 frameworks  10 Frauley, J.  4–​5

I ideas  90 Index of Health and Social Problems  73 inequality  69–​70, 71, 73 inhospitable contexts  19 Insurgent Sociologist  36 interdisciplinary work  103–​4, 106–​8, 112–​13 internet technology  9 interpretation  15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 98 interpretive code  14–​15 interventions  1, 2 Islamic extremists  54

G gender and sex  27–​30, 35 genuine allegories  see fourfold allegories Gibson, J.  11, 19–​20, 33 global metropolises  56, 102 Goldie, P.  10 ‘Graphic Revolution’  65–​6 Gregoriou, C.  103–​4 Grimké sisters  38

J Jameson, F.  12–​14, 15, 16, 18–​19, 80, 108 Jewkes, Y.  65, 66

K Kafka, F.  20 Kirkpatrick, J.  39, 116n2 (ch 3) Kurasawa, F.  36

H habitus  63 Harcourt, B.  55–​6 harm reduction  55, 84–​5, 94, 95, 97

L Lacombe, M.  56 Lathouris, N.  26 Lefebvre, H.  57



left feminism  34 liberal feminism  34 life, form of  19–​20 literal meaning  13, 16, 17 Carnival Row  43 Cuckoo’s Calling, The (Rowling)  60 literary criminology  84 literary criticism  2 literary critics  97–​8, 107, 113–​14 literary narrative  88 literary philosophy  81–​5, 98–​9, 112 literary studies  2, 106 literature  1 Losing Ground (Murray)  68–​9

methodology  111 Millington, G.  56, 57, 59, 111 moral panic  74–​5 Morgan, E.S.  47 multinational media corporations  87–​8 murderous martyrdom  51, 52, 53 Murray, C.  68–​9, 71, 76

N narrative event  18–​19, 37, 55, 72 narrative fiction  5 narrative justice  104–​5, 106 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Douglass)  8 narrative representation  9, 10, 86–​7 narratives  8 cinematic  88 complex  8–​11, 12, 21, 81–​2, 86–​7 literary  88 thick  14 National Association of Colored Women’s Club (NACWC)  38 nepotistic democracy  55–​6 Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro)  88–​9

M MacKinnon, C.  33, 34–​5, 37 Mad Max 2  24 Mad Max: Fury Road  24–​41, 110 context and plot  24–​6 fictional testimony  89, 90 male supremacy  30–​6 radical feminism  36–​41 representation and reality  78, 80 sex and gender  27–​30 male supremacy  30–​6 Marx, K.  62 masculinity  27, 28, 29–​30, 35 mass media  65–​6, 74–​5 Matravers, D.  86 Matthews, R.  97 McGregor, R.  aesthetic value  11 complex narratives  9 critical realist framework  4 harm reduction  97 literary criminology  84 narrative fiction  5 narrative representation  86–​7 narratives  8 thickness  14 media  65–​6, 74–​5 media attention  67–​8 media capital  76 media corporations  87–​8 melancholia  57

O O’Connor, S.D.  39, 116n2 (ch 3) Othering  45, 46

P Page, B.  56 Parable of the Sower (Butler)  1, 90, 91, 94, 101 Penfold-​Mounce, R.  66, 75 Perri 6  81, 91 philosophical criticism  98–​100 philosophy  81–​4 Pickett, K.  73 Piper, A.  46 poetry  16 Policing the Crisis (Hall et al)  74–​5



policy criminology  96, 103 policy critical criminology  96, 97 policy sociology  95 political meaning  13 political value  11, 15, 17 political violence  51 postcolonialism  57 Presser, L.  9 professional criminology  96 professional critical criminology  96, 97 professional sociology  95 psychopolitics  48 public criminology  96, 103 public critical criminology  96, 97 public sociology  96

Schrader, S.  71 science fiction  1 Seawright, J.  56 Second Sex (Beauvoir)  27–​8 segregation  92, 94, 95, 102, 103 sex and gender  27–​30, 35 Singer, P.  44 slavery  38, 46–​7 Slobodian, Q.  71 social capital  63, 64–​5, 71 social class  see class; underclass social justice  15, 22, 114 Mad Max: Fury Road  40–​1 social media  66, 72, 75 social mobility  65, 73 social progress  101–​2 sociological labour  95–​6 Sparks, R.  105–​6 speciesism  44–​6, 52 Spivak, G.C.  11 split cities  91, 92, 101, 102 stealth politics  56 Stoller, R.  27 stories  8 see also narratives Strike  60 symbolic meaning  13, 16, 80–​1 Carnival Row  45–​8 Cuckoo’s Calling, The (Rowling)  62–​6 Mad Max: Fury Road  27–​30 systemic violence  51, 53

R racial discrimination  49 racialised outer-​inner cities  57 racism  45, 46–​8, 55, 56, 58–​9, 71, 74–​5 radical change  38 radical feminism  36–​41, 90 radical sociology  36 radicalisation of democracy  54 reality and representation  78–​81 reflexive criminology  96 religion  12 representation and reality  78–​81 Representation of Transnational Human Trafficking (Gregoriou)  103–​4 representational capacity  17 Mad Max: Fury Road  40 see also extra-​representational capacity representations  8, 17 revanchism  56–​9, 80, 90, 111 revanchist metropolis  57, 58 Rizov, V.  104 Rowling, J.K.  116n2 (ch 3) Ruggiero, V.  3–​4, 51, 54

T testimony  85–​6 text, worldliness of the  90 textual meaning  4, 5 theories  92 Theron, C.  25, 29–​30 thickness  14 Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (McKinnon)  34–​5 transnational human trafficking  103–​4 Trial (Kafka)  20, 33 truth  16

S Said, E.  90



truth claims  91 Turkel, G.  36 ‘Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story’ (Chandler)  61

W Wallerstein, I.  36 Watchmen  98 Webber, J.  13 White, H.  9 White supremacists  47 Wilkinson, R.  73 Wittgenstein, L.  19 Wolff, J.S.  45 Women, Culture, and Politics (Davis)  38 Women, Race and Class (Davis)  38 work  18 worldliness of the text  90 Worth, S.E.  86

U Ugwudike, P.  16 underclass  68–​9 United Kingdom (UK)  73 unmodified feminism  34–​5 urban revanchism  56–​9, 80, 90, 111 urban segregation  92, 94, 95, 102, 103



validity  81, 91 values  10–​11, 15, 21 Video Game Photography (Rizov)  104 Vidmar, I.  11, 84, 85, 86, 87, 89, 112 Vidmar Jovanović, I.  82–​4, 85, 86–​9, 112 violent crime  74–​5 Virginia Slave Act  47

xenophobia  47–​8

Y Young, J.  72

Z Zamir, T.  82, 98–​9 zemiology  54–​5 Carnival Row  55–​9