Book Reviews

Future CrimeMarc Goodman, Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can do About It. Doubleday: New York, 2015; 393 pp; ISBN: 9780385539005; CND $22.00

Reviewed by: Vincent Harinam, Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada

It was not too long ago that political analysts and security experts were up in arms over Russia’s supposed involvement in hacks of the DNC during the 2016 US presidential election. While the exact effect of Russia’s technological tampering in aiding or obstructing the success of the candidates is a matter of speculation, one thing is abundantly clear: technology has imbued malicious entities (whether domestic or foreign, individual or nation-state) with the capacity to influence our most sacred of democratic traditions. Indeed, if democracy itself can be challenged what other domains of human life can technology negatively impact? See Full Review

UnwantedSandra Bucerius, Unwanted: Muslim Immigrants, Dignity, and Drug Dealing. Oxford University Press: New York, 2014; 272 pp; ISBN: 9780199856473; CAD $43.84

Reviewed by: Jona Zyfi, Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada

Sandra Bucerius takes us on the other side of the Atlantic, introducing the unmapped lives of fifty-five male Muslim immigrant drug dealers from the streets of Frankfurt, Germany. Having spent five years in the field, her impressive ethnography reveals rich and fascinating insights on not only illicit drug economies, but also on gender inequality, the intersections of class, race/ethnicity and religion, as well as, the participants’ perceptions of mainstream society and their engagement with the formal economies. See Full Review

Civilian Oversight of Police: Advancing Accountability in Law Enforcement, edited by Tim Prenzler and Garth den Heyer. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015.  269pp. CDN$79.46 hardcover

Reviewed by Jihyun Kwon

Police forces around the world have long been haunted with the issues of accountability and appropriate oversight. In the West, external oversight, the civilian oversight of police in particular, has gained popularity over internal oversight. As police forces continuously face corruption scandals and accusations of misconduct in various jurisdictions, there has been a growing amount of research in this area. See Full Review

41oF6kT61ML._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Heather Macdonald. The War on Cops. How the Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe. (2016) Encounter Books.

Reviewed by: Vincent Harinam, 2018

Contemporary discourse surrounding questionable law enforcement practices and associated interactions with minority communities has been spurred by the high-profiled deaths of several African-American men. An amalgam of case studies and credible data, Heather Mac Donald’s The War on Cops attempts to refocus these discussions by examining the statistical and political reality of the American criminal justice system. Mac Donald examines the validity of various policy prescriptions in facilitating criminal justice reform but situates her conclusions within statistical analyses. It is important to clarify that the “war on cops” epitaph is not a literal claim of greater violence against law enforcement. Rather, Mac Donald’s use of this phraseology reflects her thesis that increasing pushback against police proactivity amid sensational reporting and public hostility increases the likelihood of crime spikes in areas where law enforcement have disengaged. Notwithstanding its orientation towards political conservatism, The War on Cops provides broader insight into the nascent politicization of criminological research. See Full Review

Alice Goffman,  On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL:, 2014. 277p.

Reviewed by: Erick Laming, 2016 Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada

The “tough on crime” approach in American criminal justice is ever so present in Alice Goffman’s On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. The book presents a first-hand account into the lives of several African-American individuals who are constantly involved with the justice system – either running into or running from it. Goffman’s six year urban ethnographic research of a small, disadvantaged Black neighbourhood (described only as “6th Street”) in Philadelphia is an eye-opening experience of how young Black men (and women) are caught up in the criminal justice system. See Full Review

Hoang, K. K. Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work. (2015) University of California Press.

Reviewed by: Grace Tran, University of Toronto, Canada

Elizabeth Bernstein’s (2000) book, Temporarily Yours, laid the groundwork for a more global intimate ethnography. In her most recent book, Hoang (2015) extends Bernstein’s (2000) analysis of the meaning-making and economics behind sex work to explore how sex work is engaged in outside of the West, in the complex, postcolonial contexts of Southeast Asia. In Dealing in Desire, Hoang (2015) provides an in-depth look into the lived experiences of sex workers in a postcolonial setting through her ethnographic study of sex workers and their clients in Vietnam, a country experiencing rapid economic growth in the global economy. See Full Review

Luis Elva. Local Space, Global Life: The Everyday Operation of International Law and Development. (2015) Cambridge University Press.

Reviewed by: Giancarlo Fiorella, 2016 Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada

In Local Space, Global Life, Luis Eslava outlines how international law and development understandings have shifted their operational stage from the nation state to the local jurisdiction. Eslava undertakes this task by examining how the city of Bogota, Colombia has handled the issue of illegal neighbourhoods through a series of administrative and development tools that engage directly with global normative institutions and rationales that have historically been the domain of the nation. See Full Review