Criminology and the Fictional Social Reality



Criminologists are increasingly exploring nontraditional objects, sources of information, methods of analyzing this information, and explanatory frameworks for helping guide analysis and interpretation. One such nontraditional object is the “fictional reality.” Fictional realities are fictional social realities, such as those found in novels and film. There is a precedent for the analytical and pedagogical use of “fictional realities” in criminology, but in general this has been limited to seeing fiction and film as a stock of readily accessible and useful examples rather than as complex objects to be deconstructed and theorized. This chapter will examine three approaches from criminology that offer a way of conceptualizing the role and place of the fictional reality in social science. These “imaginative” criminologies offer some valuable insights about the pedagogical and analytical place of fictional realties for criminology. Importantly, the emergence of these imaginative criminologies challenges orthodox criminology, specifically on theoretical and methodological grounds. This chapter draws out themes from these materials to suggest a way toward a fuller, more robust conception of the criminological imagination, which is developed in the next chapter.


Criminal Justice Popular Culture Crime Control Cultural Artifact Analytical Narrative 
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© Jon Frauley 2010

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