A Successful Symposium

The Second Narrative Criminology Symposium in Oslo was a success with fourteen keynote speakers, forty presentations of papers and over a hundred registered participants from all over the world.

Thomas Ugelvik and Sveinung Sandberg kicks off the conference with an introduction to narrative criminology. Photo: UiO/Ystehede.

The Second Narrative Criminology Symposium was held in Oslo 15th and 16th June and organised by professors Sveinung Sandberg and Thomas Ugelvik. Narrative criminology is an emergent theoretical framework for the study of stories in criminology, and as the name of the conference indicates this is the second time there has been a symposium exclusively devoted to this field.

Ghost Stories, Emotions and Redemption Narratives

On the first day of the symposium, the audience was presented with many different approaches to narrative criminology. Thomas Ugelvik and Sveinung Sandberg welcomed everyone and gave a short introduction to the field of narrative criminology as well as linking it to the history of the University Aula where the symposium was held the first day. Philip Smith was the first invited speaker and started with a friendly critique of narrative criminology.

The symposium was held in the University Aula, where one is surrounded by beautiful Munch paintings. Photo: UiO/Ystehede.

Jeff Ferrell held the presentation Drifters, Ghost Stories and Narrative Ambiguity about so called "drifters" who ride freight trains, your friend one day, gone the next.

Jeff Ferrel. Photo: UiO/Ystehede.

Lois Presser, Alfredo Verde and David Canter spoke about themes of emotion, psychology and offenders personal narratives. Presentations of victims, masculinity and redemption narratives by Anita Heber, Sandra Walklate and Shadd Maruna ended the first day of the symposium.

Anita Heber presenting Violence, Victimization and Masculinites. Photo: Jade Levell.

Inspiring panel sessions

Each of the conference days had inspiring panels with themes like Crime, desistance and identity, Sexual offending, Radical movements, Migrants and ethnic minorities and Gender. These panels included scholars from China (Hong Kong), Prague, Finland, USA, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain. The many presentations of widely different topics show how narrative criminology has established itself as relevant for criminology all over the world.

Litterature, Deception and Visuals

The second day of the symposium included presentations of art forgers, media scandals and iconography. Jennifer Fleetwood started the second day with the presentation Narrative Habitus; Social Structure in the Narratives of Offenders. She was followed by Sarah Colvin who talked about narrative ethics and Keith Hayward who told the audience about The Art of Telling Lies Skillfully.

Keith Hayward speaking to the audience about The Art of Telling Lies Skillfully: A Narrative Criminology of the Art Forger. Photo: Gerhard Ploeg.

Chris Greer, Eamonn Carrabine and Heith Copes held the audience's attention until the end with presentations on Narrative, Media and Scandal, Iconography, Semiotics and Representation and how photographs are used to tell people's stories of methamphetamine use.

Heith Copes told the audience about Alice's search for Normalcy: Using Photographs to Tell People's Stories of Methamphetamine Use. Photo: Mari Ramse Berntsen.

Margareta Hydén got the last word and had some questions and suggestions on the ways forward for narrative criminology.

Sandberg and Ugelvik are very happy with the symposium and state:

The symposium was a huge success. We are so grateful that so many participants from all over the world came to Oslo to present, discuss and develop their work in narrative criminology. The interest in the symposium exceeded our expectations and we were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to attend and even travel a great distance to come here. We welcomed participants from Hong Kong, the US and several European countries. Building on this interest we hope this can be a biannual conference that just keeps on growing.


Symposium supported by Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology.

By Ingvild Knævelsrud Rabe
Published July 11, 2017 2:31 PM - Last modified July 11, 2017 2:31 PM