Balkan Criminology

Partners

A Max Planck Partner Group

Mapping the Criminological Landscape of the Balkans

Mapping the Criminological Landscape of the Balkans

One of the core reasons for establishing the MPPG was to boost criminological and criminal justice research throughout the Balkans. Such an endeavour would of course have to be able to rely on criminological expertise from the region itself, preferably grouped around a common concept and on a long term basis. Therefore the project’s main goal was to ‘map’ the criminological landscape in order to detect key actors and institutions, their areas of interest and expertise, the state of art on the different national levels as well as common challenges on the regional level. Based on prior studies into the criminological research setting in the region the basic assumption was that there is little if any coordinated criminological activity going on. That is why the project aimed at bringing together experts from all the countries of the region and conducting a first research study into the current state of art in criminology and crime in the Balkans.

On the occasion of the official presentation of the MPPG in Zagreb in June 2013 the group of researchers met for the first time and discussed the state of art in criminology in the Balkans. Prior to the meeting all participants provided basic information about criminology and crime in their countries. This ‘pilot study’ together with the topics that came up during the discussions were then used for constructing the ‘guidelines’ on investigating criminology and crime in all 14 countries of the region. The group of researchers eventually transformed into the Balkan Criminology Network (BCNet) which is being hosted by the MPPG.

The criminological mapping covered the following topics:

  • criminological education:
  • history and development of criminology; major institutions providing criminological education and their areas of specialisation; description of criminological education; criminology’s position in the classification system of sciences; bibliographical data on major criminological textbooks;

  • criminological research:
  • major institutions conducting criminological research and their areas of specialisation; description of the criminological research; relationship between criminological theory and research and the government; major domestic criminological studies that have been conducted; areas that have not yet received appropriate research attention; involvement in major international and European surveys; data on domestic criminological journals, or if there are not any such journals, data on journals in which domestic criminological articles are published.

The second part, the crime mapping, concentrated on the following topics:

  • crime trends and problems:
  • major sources of data about crime with assessment of access and reliability; current levels, trends and patterns of crime and their relation to basic socio-demographic variables; country specific crime problems; political and media discourses about crime;

  • the criminal justice system:
  • basic facts about the criminal justice system: criminal law and procedure, policing, prosecution, courts, probation, prisons, recidivism etc.; impact of the European Union on the criminal justice system; recent major criminal law reforms; major problems of the criminal justice system and measures taken in response.

The project findings were discussed for the first time at the 1st Annual Conference of the MPPG in Zagreb in 2014, whereas the research results have been published as the first volume of the MPPG Balkan Criminology publication series. Some common fields of interest and potential further areas of scientific and educational cooperation could be identified: joint BCNet PhD study programme, Balkan Criminology textbook, BCNet Database of Who’s Who, BCNet Research Agenda for the Balkans, BCNet Newsletter and potentially even a Journal of Balkan Criminology.

MPPG contact for Mapping the Criminological Landscape of the Balkans: Assoc. Prof. Anna-Marie Getoš Kalac