Unveiling White logic in criminological research: an intertextual analysis

Kate Henne, Rita Shah

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Critical race scholars have called into question the objective neutrality upon which much positivist social science rests, arguing that it discursively masks how whiteness underpins the normative purview of research design and findings. As the scholarly securing of whiteness takes shape through explicit and discursive mechanisms, this article examines how it is manifest in criminological research through an intertextual analysis of contemporary peer-reviewed scholarship. Examining 558 articles in five recognized journals, this paper documents how blind spots towards race and racial stratification surface in criminological research, arguing that most of the articles analyzed do not simply ignore White privilege; they actively uphold it. Findings suggest that they do so through two means: first by whitewashing race, that is, disregarding how race and racism can differentially affect acts and trends of crime and deviance, and secondly, by narrowly representing race as merely explanatory variable without querying the broader power relations it marks. After discussing how these patterns reveal and uphold whiteness as a normative value, we conclude with a discussion of preliminary steps aimed at exposing and unpacking how White logic informs the field.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16
    JournalContemporary Justice Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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