Who is the victim of crime? Paying homage to the work of Richard Quinney

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In this paper I take the question, who is the victim of crime, posed by Quinney in 1972, and examine the different ways in which victimology has endeavoured to answer this question since that time. In order to do this I trace the coexistence of three interrelated narratives on criminal victimisation-the academic, the cultural and the political-and suggest there are remarkable similarities between the victims we 'see' and the victims we fail to 'see' in each of these narratives, as there was in 1972. In tracing the provocative influence of the questions raised by Quinney's work over the last forty years, I suggest that his latter preoccupation with photography and the questions that he remains interested in to date afford a window of opportunity for the further development of a cultural victimology, but only if, as victimologists, we are prepared to embrace the principle of bearing witness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
JournalCrime Media Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • cultural victimology
  • politics of pity
  • Quinney
  • witnessing

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