|Title||Through the lens of labour; reconceptualising young people’s involvement in organised crime in the global South and beyond|
Child labour is closely related to crime; young people are victims of forced and bonded labour and recent studies from the global South illustrate how young people engage in ‘illicit labour’ within organised crime groups. Despite this, labour is virtually absent from Western criminological theory, illustrating a wider issue of western centrism that permeates the discipline. This paper considers this oxymoron and asks - where did the labour go? Obscured from theory and marginalised in the rhetoric but a reality for millions of the world’s children today.
By drawing on a number of studies from the global South, the paper develops an integrated framework of juvenile delinquency that moves away from existing perspectives, largely derived from global North and into a new domain of child labour. This framework conceptualizes children’s involvement in crime as illicit labour, challenging extant criminological theory that argues that crime is expressive and highlighting the role that children and gangs play in the informal economy. The paper questions how we might deconstruct the potentially damaging structures of criminological coloniality, develop a global labour lens and better understand the realities of children’s involvement in organised crime.
|Conference||British Society of Criminology Annual Conference|