Event: Working Paper Session with Chloe Peacock

October 3, 2023

SPIN is delighted to host SPINster Dr Chloe Peacock (University of Sheffield) for a Working Paper session. During this session, Chloe will share a draft of the concluding chapter of her monograph – Justifying (In)Justice: Racism, ignorance and the cultural politics of punishment. After a brief introduction to the paper, the event will be open for questions and discussion. 

Join us for this presentation and online discussion – available via the Zoom link below. 


About the Event:

Date and Time: Wednesday 18th October at 15.00 (GMT+1) 

Dr Chloe Peacock (University of Sheffield) 

Chair: Dr Elspeth Van Veeren (University of Bristol)

Location: Zoom  


ZOOM address 

Join Zoom Meeting 


Meeting ID: 939 5070 6323 

Passcode: 953990 


About the Paper:


Justifying (In)Justice: Racism, ignorance and the cultural politics of punishment 


Focusing on the 2011 English ‘riots’, which were met with a startlingly harsh reaction from the police, courts and prisons alongside a series of punitive social policy reactions, the preceding chapters of the monograph examine how politicians, journalists, professionals and policymakers mobilised forms of denial, distortion, amnesia and mystification to justify a harsh law-and-order response that disproportionately targeted working class communities and people of colour. I set out four key elements that worked together to legitimise the state’s response to the 2011 unrest: delimited, decontextualised and depoliticised conceptions of ‘crime’, distorted imaginations of criminality, an imagined punitive public, and strategic ignorance of the harms of criminal sanctions.  

This concluding chapter ‘zooms out’ from my focus on 2011 to explore how scholarship on ignorance, in its broadest sense, helps us to make sense of the violence of law and criminal punishment. It traces how these forms of ignorance continue to characterise political, media and public debate around more recent protest movements, and have been mobilised to secure consent for the introduction of authoritarian legislation that looks set to further criminalise and harm those resisting injustice and state violence, and to license and normalise the classed, racialised and gendered harms of punishment.  

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