n 2004, a landmark book was published: Crime, Punishment and the Search for Order in Ireland (Kilcommins et al). This book was a milestone for Irish academia as it was the first Irish Criminology monograph. The importance of this was noted in the book’s opening line which described Criminology as Ireland’s ‘absentee discipline’. The adoption of this phrase, which had first been used by Tomlinson and Rolston in 1982, speaks to the under-development of the discipline.
The publication of Crime, Punishment and the Search for Order in Ireland came at a time of resurgent interest in Criminology in Ireland, marked by an increase in Irish Criminological enquiry. In 2001, an Institute of Criminology was established by University College Dublin, and taught and research postgraduate degrees are now offered at a growing number of institutions. September 2014 has also seen the introduction of Ireland’s first Criminology undergraduate degree in University College Cork, and in 2015 the first Routledge Handbook of Irish Criminology will be published.
The growing interest in Criminology in Ireland has seen greater numbers of postgraduate students conducting Irish research within the discipline in Ireland, Northern Ireland and further afield. These students are researching issues across the broad spectrum of criminology and the volume and scope of this work speaks to a demand for a forum in which research, ideas and approaches can be disseminated. Moreover, criminology is a ‘rendezvous’ discipline, drawing together work from sociology, history, philosophy, law, economics, politics and psychology to explore fundamental issues of crime and punishment. Criminology’s multi-disciplinary variety makes it an exciting and important social science as it provides new frameworks for deciphering and advancing our understandings of Irish historical, cultural, social and political life more broadly.
The rapid mushrooming of this academic area suggests that we are at the beginning of what is to become a significant disciplinary field in Ireland and as such this is an important time to generate a constituency of Irish researchers interested in Criminological questions which can begin to take stock of the Irish Criminological enterprise. The inaugural Postgraduate Criminology Conference presents an opportunity to begin such a task.
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