14 November 2019

Students to explore 'green criminology'

Students to explore 'green criminology'

A picture of Dr Andrew Samuel outside Abertay Library

Abertay University is expanding a criminological programme to explore perceptions surrounding the actions of climate change activist groups like Extinction Rebellion.

From next year, third year students from the Division of Sociology will take on a new ‘Green Criminology’ module, the first of its kind in Scotland, designed to analyse a wide range of environmental issues.

The State, Environment and Crime course has been designed to offer an enhanced focus on the climate change emergency and will look at how society views and responds to the increasing global demand for action.

The topic will include a range of issues around climate change activism, as well as other ‘green’ themes such as analysis of grouse moor management in the context of land reform, animal abuse, and the use of fossil fuel in relation to world-wide and national commitments as regards the sustainable development goals.

"We live in hugely uncertain times, and over the course of this new module we will be asking our students to take a fresh look at crunch points where the ecological meets the criminological." - Dr Andrew Samuel

In addition to on-campus study, students will be taken to relevant sites across the country and asked to investigate and interpret the blurred societal perceptions around what constitutes environmental harm and crime.

Course leader and experienced researcher Dr Andrew Samuel said he aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to deal with this growing and important area of social science.

He added: “Over the coming years, climate change is going to have to be at the root of all public policy, so it is more important than ever that students are asked to engage with this issue, have the opportunity to analyse facts and, crucially, to take part in academic analysis and discourse.

“We live in hugely uncertain times, and over the course of this new module we will be asking our students to take a fresh look at crunch points where the ecological meets the criminological. For example, where does society draw the line between an eco-activist and an eco-terrorist? And at what point does a democratic protest become deemed unacceptable civil unrest?

“Applying criminological theory to a wide range of mainstream ‘green’ issues and social problems allows us to look more widely at the implications of environmental harm, criminality and offending behaviour.”

Abertay University offers a range of degrees from its Division of Sociology.

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