Criminology

Criminology

We are seeking outstanding PhD candidates for University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow Joint PhD Studentships below:

This theme will examine, theorise and evaluate a range of interconnected contemporary policy challenges within the sphere of crime and justice.

The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have longstanding working relationships within the discipline of criminology and criminal justice. These were strengthened by the establishment of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) in 2006 and the Applied Quantitative Research Network Research Centre in 2013.

The proposed PhD projects will have a strong inter-disciplinary focus, using innovative and diverse methodological approaches, and deliver rich theoretical and policy narratives that will stimulate positive debate and action.

We will also offer a series of joint training opportunities that include Away Days and ‘taster sessions’ in association with SCCJR research projects.  We would also seek paid internship opportunities at Scottish Government and other relevant organisations for skills enhancement during the course of the PhD. 

How to Apply

1) Prospective students should review the list of potential projects proposals and queries regarding eligibility can be directed to cahsspg.awards@ed.ac.uk (University of Edinburgh) or pgr@glasgow.ac.uk (University of Glasgow).

2) Applicants should register their details online. Please note that this is not an application to study at the respective universities.

3) Unless otherwise stated, applicants may submit applications, via email to pgr@glasgow.ac.uk, up until the application deadline of 5.00pm, Monday 21 January 2019.  

Required documentation should be submitted as a combined PDF document using the file name '<Theme>, <Applicant First name Surname> ie 'Criminology, Phillipa Dean':

University of Glasgow Led Projects

University of Glasgow Led Projects

Understanding vicarious traumatisation amongst professionals in criminal justice settings

Project Description:

Those who work closely with victims/survivors of psychological trauma may experience psychological and somatic symptoms of acute stress that can result from their close and constant work with such individuals. This is known as vicarious traumatisation (VT) and core dynamics include isolation, helplessness, hopelessness, depletion, and altered or collapsed belief systems. Many of those drawn into criminal justice systems are considered to have experienced high levels of victimisation and trauma, leading to trauma-informed services. The concurrence of traumatic disruptions and symptomatology amongst that group and those who work closely with them (such as social workers, prison officers, youth and project workers) creates a tremendous pull on resources at various levels of policy and praxis. Using qualitative and psychometric approaches, the PhD would examine how a process of VT may manifest in the personal and professional spheres of criminal justice professionals and how VT can impinge upon the quality and efficacy of service provision.

Supervisors:


Better Safe than Sorry? Exploring the extent, experience and impact of Scotland’s Orders for Lifelong Restriction

Project Description:

Orders for Lifelong Restriction (OLRs) are a discretionary life sentence, that is a life sentence that can be issued for convictions short of murder. They were introduced in 2003 as a means of imposing lifelong state supervision in cases where there was a high risk of a person committing a serious violent or sexual crime. They were also intended to be used sparingly and allow for management in the community. These assumptions are belied by the fact that 99% of those on OLRs remain in detention and the numbers of people under an OLR is growing; the use of discretionary life sentences was abolished in England and Wales after research revealed similar patterns of use and detention. OLRs have never been studied in depth, and little is known about the kinds of cases they are used in, nor about the management and experiences of those under them. This project would involve gathering basic information about their use, and in-depth qualitative research with those serving, administering and managing them. Final research questions and design would be negotiated with the successful candidate and supervisors based on skillset and interests.

 

Supervisors:


Mapping the politics and impact of penal reform in Scotland

Project Description:

Scotland is a small nation with a large prison population; it leads much of Europe in the proportion of its people it places in detention. It also has identified high prison numbers as a problem, with a series of reforms over the past 20 years seeking to reduce the size of is penal population. This PhD project would explore the dynamics of penal reform and debate exploring how the context of Scotland – its size, political culture and structure, and penal trends in use and policies of punishment (including changes in use of prison, probation and community sanctions, prosecutorial diversion) – can shed light on the failure of reform to realise any meaningful decrease in the amount of punishment delivered in the nation. The methodological approach could involve a range of techniques depending on applicant interest and skillset, including use of archives and policy history methods, discourse analysis, interviews, collation of descriptive statistics on penal trends, or other methods.

 

Supervisors:


Policing organised crime in a changing political environment

Project Description:

Recent work on organised crime in Scotland has demonstrated the shifting nature of illicit markets in an age of social media, new technology and population mobility. In this changing environment policing must adapt its methods to suit a changing local and transnational picture, forging transnational alliance through Europol as well as reconfiguring the policing of local criminal markets. These efforts are however cast into increasing doubt as austerity cuts and the renegotiation of the UK's place in Europe unfold. This has potential impact both on organised crime (in relation to flows of people, goods and finance) and on the ways in which it is policed in terms of resources available and structures for cross-border collaboration. The proposed study will seek to examine the way in which policing of organised crime responds and reconfigures to a Scotland in transition, asking how police organisations and those responsible for directing them respond set goals and priorities and deliver services in a period of transition and uncertainty.

Supervisors:


Young people, digital cultures and cyber-security

Project Description:

The twenty-first century has become increasingly seen as the age of social media. Young people coming of age in the post-millenial context have grown into a world where smartphone technology, high-speed Internet and constant connectivity are a normalised part of everyday life. For these 'digital natives' there are no sharp distinctions between online and offline identities, but instead exist in a hybrid cultural space of online/offline relationships. While there has been public concern relating to the consequences of technology on the quality of young people's social relationships - and the potential for abuse - there has been a surprising lack of empirical research as to the social meanings attached to digital cultures for young people themselves, nor the prevalence of online victimisation. The proposed study will used mixed methods to interrogate the changing nature of youth identity in the digital age, and its consequences for security, safety and sexuality.

 

Supervisors:


A different kind of desistance? Examining post-prison reintegration in rural settings.

Project Description:

Much of the desistance literature has been based on research in urban settings, where participants have described isolating themselves due to a lack of opportunities and connections. The Scottish context provides an ideal opportunity to examine how desistance pathways might be different in rural isolated settings, where connections and opportunities will be differently configured. Rural locations offer little anonymity, but relationships are such that someone who has served a sentence (whether in prison or in the community) will be seen as more than just an offender. This PhD will examine what opportunities and obstacles rural post-sentence pathways present to desistance journeys. This speaks directly to the Scottish Government’s priority to focus on recovery and reintegration: both by examining reintegration in a new rural  context and by identifying any opportunities in rural communities that can be emulated in urban areas. The research will involve longitudinal qualitative methods, but the final research questions and design would be negotiated with the successful candidate based on their skills and interests. 

Supervisors:


University of Edinburgh Led Projects

University of Edinburgh Led Projects

Understanding changing patterns of domestic and non-domestic violence in Scotland

Project Description:

Recent reductions in violent crime within Glasgow have been lauded across the UK and internationally, especially in comparison to the meteoric rise in violence in London.  Existing research shows that the falling trend in violence predominantly reflects major reductions in non-domestic, public-space violence committed amongst young men using weapons (especially knives).  However, there has been far less change in domestic forms of violence, either between intimate partners or between same-sex relatives or associates (primarily men).  Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, this PhD would examine underlying reasons for differential rates of change in domestic and non-domestic violence within Scotland, including the role of key initiatives and practitioners set up to tackle violence and knife crime in Glasgow. 

Supervisors:


Investigating the topologies and resilience of cyber security in Scotland

Project Description:

This doctoral research project will explore and map the range of human actors who are involved in cyber security in Scotland, examining in particular the role of networks and topologies, and assess how resilient cyber security is in Scotland today. The research will feature both theoretical and empirical dimensions in order to generate a framework for study as well as map the actors involved and the contours of their institutional relationships in the specific case of Scotland. The theoretical dimension would build upon and develop previous work by Shearing and Berg, and on Jones and Berg’s research interest in this field. The research will examine networks and linkages of cyber security, studying the various diverse actors involved, drawn from various governmental departments, the private sector, law enforcement, academia, and beyond. The empirical dimension, will likely be qualitative in approach, involving interviews and quasi-ethnographic research of cyber security actors based in Scotland. The overall aim would be to understand better the mechanisms currently facilitating cyber security in Scotland, and assess the degree to which Scottish cyber security networks of human actors are resilient in the face of various risks and challenges that may arise in the future, including the post-Brexit era.

Supervisors:


From state ideology to individual criminal actions: testimony and evidence from the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Project Description:

The proposed project asks how atrocity crime takes place (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity) by examining the role of individual perpetrators and the organisational frameworks that structure their activity.  The research brings together Criminology, History and Oral History to deliver methodological and substantive advances in understanding atrocity crimes, using the archives of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) as data. The project will extend on previous methodological innovation in order to push robust analysis of tribunal outputs to achieve its maximum potential alongside other more established approaches in perpetrator studies. The methodological imperative drives the disciplinary interface between criminology and history, and the specific supervisory team combining disciplinary knowledge, methodological knowledge of archival and alternative forms of research, and substantive knowledge of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Supervisors:


Police Reform in Democracies: Readiness for Safeguarding Human Rights

Project Description:

The central aim of this research project is to contribute to a more comprehensive analysis of police reform in democracies with a focus on human rights. The principal question will explore what is the nature of, and what are the underlying drivers of police reform in democracies, especially in terms of human rights readiness. The ancillary research questions will revolve around the dynamics of democratic policing in a context of multiple demands, challenges and relationships: police-military relations, police-media relations, private security, criminal justice, police culture, police corruption, transitional justice, and the trade-offs between human rights and security. The existing literature, and a growing number of instances of failed police reform projects across the globe, provides motivation and plenty of scope for further investigation into police reform in different democratic contexts. The research design will primarily be qualitative in nature and once sites are selected, will apply observation, interviews and group discussions to gather data. 

Supervisors:


The Use and Impact of Progress Reviews in Scottish sentencing

Project Description:

Since 2010, Scottish sentencers have had discretionary power to carry out 'progress reviews' at any stage during a Community Payback Order (CPO). This significant development of the sentencing role carries potential to improve outcomes for offenders by supporting desistance narratives and providing motivation for change. However, very limited use has been made of progress reviews to date (16% in 2016-17) and with significant, unexplained variations between types of orders (e.g. 40% for drug treatment, 13% for unpaid work or other activity). Addressing a key Scottish Government Justice Priority to use prison only where necessary, focusing instead on offenders' recovery and integration, this PhD will investigate the use, contribution and impact of progress reviews. Relevant research methods will be discussed with the successful applicant and supervisors and are likely to include interviews with sentencers and offenders completing CPOs.

Supervisors:

 


Segregation in Scottish Prisons in Comparative Context

Project Description:

Throughout their modern histories, prisons around the world have managed trouble by spatially separating certain prisoners. In Scotland, although orders for prisoners to be placed in a ‘Separation and reintegration unit’ under Rule 95 of the Scottish Prison Rules are initially made for a period of up to 72 hours they can be repeatedly extended with reference to the delegated authority of Scottish Ministers. For certain prisoners such extensions mean that they come to be removed from ‘the mainstream’ for many months in succession. Despite some controversial court cases there has been almost no research or policy discussion on this question in Scotland in recent years. What circumstances tend to produce long-term segregation?  Can we imagine alternative arrangements that would reach beyond these impasses? If we consider these question in international context we may on one hand gain a fuller appreciation of the scale, depth and complexity of  these questions but also encounter some more imaginative and humanly viable approaches.

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