Developing a ‘global south’ perspective of street children’s involvement in organised crime
posted by Department of Sociology for HKU and Public
Event Type: Public Lecture/Forum/Seminar/Workshop/Conference/Symposium
Event Nature: Law and Politics
The majority of studies about gangs come from the ‘global north’ meaning that we know very little about young people’s involvement in organised crime in the ‘global south’, particularly in Asia. By drawing on extensive fieldwork in Dhaka, the author argues that in order to understand street children’s involvement in Bangladesh’s organised crime groups – the mastaans - it is necessary to expand the boundaries of criminology to include development studies’ concepts of social protection, patron-clientism and child labour. The author then considers the involvement of migrant children in gangs and organised crime in Mainland China. The author reflects on the emerging themes from the fieldwork in China, and the similarities between the data gathered in Bangladesh. The paper concludes with a reflection on the importance of developing Pan-Asia understandings of children’s involvement in gangs and organised crime, to contribute to the advancement of a ‘southern criminology’ and better protect vulnerable children in Asia.
Dr. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard is a criminologist and strategist from the UK. She was awarded her PhD from King’s College London in 2015 after completing an ethnographic study into street children’s involvement in organised crime groups in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Sally began her career as a researcher for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London, where she worked with young offenders engaged in violent offending, developed the MPS first Gangs Manual and represented the MPS at both the Mayor’s Office and in a collaborative study with the British Prison Service which explored the psychology of gang related violence. Sally went on to advise on variety of criminal justice reform projects in Bangladesh, including leading the Bangladesh Prison Directorate and the Bangladesh Anti-Corruption Commission through the development of their first strategic plans. Sally now lives and works in Beijing; she is leading the first study into migrant children’s involvement in gangs and organised crime in China.
Atkinson-Sheppard, S. (in press) Developing a ‘Global South’ Perspective of Street Children’s Involvement in Organised Crime. Palgrave Handbook of Southern Criminology. London: Palgrave.
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