Book Review: Race and crime: Geographies of injustice

AuthorSarah Britto
Published date01 December 2022
Date01 December 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
differences on specif‌ic subjects. The authorsability to build on each othersideas, questions, and
disagreements is an important strength of this volume. Very few limitations could be identif‌ied.
The most evident shortcoming may be the absence of original research by the authors in this
book. While they report on f‌indings from previous studies to support and elucidate their arguments,
conducting original research to assess the usefulness of their proposed strategies to combat sexual
harm would have fortif‌ied their message. This book would be of interest to feminist scholars, policy-
makers, sex offender treatment providers, probation and parole off‌icers, and individuals wishing to
get involved in the movement to reform the sex offender legal regime.
Brown, E., & Barganier, G. (2018). Race and crime: Geographies of injustice. Oakland: University of California
Press. 425 pp. $65.00, ISBN: 9780520294189.
Reviewed by: Sarah Britto ,University of Regina, Regina, Canada
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819856674
Race and Crime: Geographies of Injustice (2018) by Elizabeth Brown and George Barganier f‌irmly
places the study of race, crime, and the criminal justice system in the context of colonialism. The
authors delineate historical connections to modern policy that allows coloniality to continue to
play a def‌ining role in the inequality experienced by Black and Brown populations in the United
States in the 21st century.
Rather than starting with crime, as most criminologists in the past have done, Brown and
Barganier start with race, explaining how its construction is tied to oppression and how the def‌inition
of race was built into the legal, political, economic, and social structure of American society. The
taken-for-granted common perceptions of the meaning of race is deconstructed and challenged in
the f‌irst chapter of this text. This crucial def‌initional step is missing from most books on crime
and opens the door to a greater theoretical understanding of colonialism and how historical practices
continue to shape the opportunities available to all people along racial boundaries in the United
States. The text further challenges critical theorists in criminology to more fully acknowledge the
role of race in class relations.
Beginning with a def‌inition of colonialism as the occupation and domination of a foreign terri-
tory and people(p. 34), the authors explain the underpinning of this process is rooted in a system of
knowledge production that privileged the perspectives of colonists. Furthermore, geographical con-
quest was justif‌ied by knowledge production premised on a racial understanding of the colonizers
superiority(p. 35). Historically, biased scientif‌ic observations and religious ethnocentrism, based on
domain assumptions of racial superiority, were used to legitimize inhumane practices such as slavery,
relocation, and genocide. These practices formed the foundation of the American and global eco-
nomic systems, which allowed for the accumulation of wealth and power in White populations
that continues to contribute to massive racial inequalities in our society.
Coloniality is the sublimation of colonialism into modern practices including the current operation
of the criminal justice system. Brown and Barganier clearly map out how racism, which has been
challenged and led to numerous reforms, is still operating at a structural level in political, economic,
social, and legal institutions. They show through examples, like the White nationalist demonstrations
in Charlottesville, VA, how the discourse of racial superiority is far from dead. The powerful histor-
ical examples utilized in this book include an exploration of how connections were made between the
eugenics movement and criminology, social problems and immigration, and housing inequality and
racial segregation. The shocking nature of this history is demonstrated by numerous quotes from
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