Our history

The Centre for Criminology at the University of Essex is a local and international centre of excellence for the study of criminology and one of the original and strongest homes of a critical and sociological criminology in the country and beyond. The Centre was established within the Department of Sociology in February 2013 under the directorship of Professor Dick Hobbs, who was succeeded in 2015 by Professor Nigel South – our director for six consecutive years – who was in turn succeeded in 2021 by Dr Anna Di Ronco. The Centre builds upon a long history of engagement with criminology, anchored in sociology and social psychology, as exemplified in the work of Professors Stan Cohen and Ken Plummer as members of the Department in the early 1970s. Since its inception, the Centre has hosted leading analysts of crime and deviance, including early pioneers such as Stan Cohen, Ken Plummer and Mary McIntosh, through to colleagues who have now moved on, such as Maggy Lee, Dick Hobbs, Jackie Turton and Nigel South.

The Centre today

Today the Centre has substantially expanded and counts over fifteen members – all of whom are research active and undertake cutting-edge research in many areas of criminology. Our members often come from different disciplines, including law, sociology, history, anthropology, political science, art and film studies, geography and urban studies – backgrounds that help them enrich their criminological analyses with interdisciplinary insights. The Centre and its members are also a teaching team: they teach undergraduate and postgraduate students on the many criminology degrees offered by the Department of Sociology. We have also authored a best-selling criminology textbook, now in its fourth edition.

But there are many more things that the Centre and its members are involved with.. The Centre organises a lively seminar series through the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms, and other key events in the course of the year. Our members host international visitors, attract undergraduate and postgraduate students, and engage in outreach activities to relevant bodies, regionally, nationally and internationally. Since 2020, the Centre has also served as the editorial base for the British Journal of Criminology, one of the world’s top publications in the field. Many of our members have been awarded national or international grants, prizes or fellowships and invited to take up prestigious professional positions.

Our hopes and vision for the future

Our aim is to continue to be a leading centre for the study of criminology in the country and beyond and to produce cutting-edge research also grounded on cross-national and interdisciplinary collaborations. Such research is also crucial for our work as lecturers at the Department of Sociology, as our research fundamentally informs our teaching approach. Ultimately, our aim is to continue to push intellectual boundaries while training and supporting the next generations of criminologists for the future.

Join our celebration

We celebrate our first 10-year anniversary on February 2nd from 4 to 7pm at the Essex Business School. To mark this achievement, we’ve invited back our very first speaker, Professor Tim Newburn (LSE), who will give a talk on his new book (with A. Ward) ‘Orderly Britain’. The talk will start at 4pm and will be hosted in EBS.2.65. It will be followed by a nice reception at the EBS Foyer, from 5.15pm onwards, with free drinks and nibbles – everyone is invited!

For more information follow this link

Cover images for book Criminology : an introduction all four editions