Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 39–52

Event and Victimization

Original Paper


This article contributes to recent existentialist interventions in critical criminology (see Lippens and Crewe 2009) and offers the existential concept of ‘event’ as a guiding image for critical victimology. Whereas existential criminologists have examined crime and wrongdoing, very little attention has been given to victimization. I utilize the existential phenomenology of Martin Heidegger and Claude Romano to offer a critique of existing approaches to victimization within mainstream criminology and develop an eventialanalytic to understand the event of victimization. This paper brings together existential philosophy and victimology to offer an alternative approach to victimization. I engage with the ‘problem of number’ in conventional victimology and offer a critique of quantitative approaches to victimization based on the unsubstitutability and singularity of existence. Through a discussion of selfhood and embodiment from an evential standpoint, this paper moves beyond existing victimological approaches to identity. I also consider the relationship between victimization and trauma. In the final section of the paper I carve out an alternative research agenda through a discussion of bearing witness and events of victimization.


Events Victimization Selfhood Existentialism Trauma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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