Mareile Kaufmann is awarded the Sir Leon Radzinowicz Prize

Mareile receives this prestigious award for an article in the British Journal of Criminology for the article that most contributes to knowledge of criminal justice issues and the development of criminology.

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Mareile Kaufmann. Photo: University of Oslo/Ystehede

Radzinowicz Prize 2019

The British Journal of Criminology (BJC) and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies have selected the article Predictive Policing and the Politics of Patterns to win the Radzinowicz Prize 2019. The article is written by Mareile, together with Simon Egbert  and Matthias Leese.

- I think it's a fantastic recognition of work done by early career-stage scholars and I see this prize as a task not to stop doing the work we started, says Mareile.

A collaborative piece of work

Predictive Policing and the Politics of Patterns is based on data collected from in-depth interviews with police officers in Norway, Germany and Switzerland. In addition, interviews were conducted with software designers and programmers, who create the software that the police eventually uses. The article provides an analysis of how algorithms identify patterns that the police use to decide where to send police patrols. The authors show how the different patterns are based on differing views about crime, which again shape the decision-making process by the police.

- This is a truly collaborative piece of work. Clearly, this article is a result of working with Simon and Matthias. More so, without the investment of all our interviewees who took the time to speak to us, the inspiring work already done about the relationship between society and digital technologies, and the infrastructures we have available to do this type of research - we would not have been able to make this article happen.

- What do you see as your most important finding?

- It is currently en vogue to use algorithms as a starting point for a critique of digitization processes. I think it is important that we pay attention to both, human and technological workings that we find in digital data analysis. We need to learn to identify and analyze the entry points for human interaction with data-technologies. The article also moves away from singular accounts of "the algorithm" and underlines the specificities of different prediction algorithms while not losing sight of the overarching politics of form that prediction processes nurture.

Digital Criminology

Mareile Kaufmann is one of the leading scholars internationally in the field of digital criminology. She is also the first Young Research Talent grantee at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law (IKRS). This specific funding scheme is targeted towards young researchers in the early stages of their careers who have demonstrated the ability to conduct research of high scientific quality, and are intended to give talented young researchers the opportunity to pursue their own research ideas and lead a research project.

- My ongoing work in this field is going in two directions: not only am I interested in digital surveillance technologies, such as algorithms and machine learning. I find it equally important to understand how people answer, critique, engage and play with surveillance. This is why my current empirical and theoretical projects look at practices of hacking, of using steganography (speaking in code), of secrecy and of art that engages with surveillance from within surveillance systems.  A different strand of my work in digital criminology will look at the relationship between technology, DNA and evidence, which I will start later this year, tells Kaufmann.

IKRS congratulates Kaufmann

- It is a grateful job heading our department when I see that our researchers excel, both at home and abroad, says professor May-Len Skilbrei. – The quality of the job our researchers are doing is recognized in a multitude of fields and sectors. Our researchers not only publish a lot, but also write publications of high academic quality. They work both with developing new theories and concepts, as well as creating policy for important societal arenas. Mareile is an interesting and mature researcher, and I am happy on her behalf and the well-deserved recognition. Most of the time, young researchers need to fight to get the attention already bestowed on older and more established researchers. That Mareile is given this prize is quite a feather in her hat - considering the company she is in.

The Radzinowics Prize is awarded once a year and form Norway the only ones to have received the price is professor Katja Franko and professor Helene Gundhus. They received the prize for an article they co-authored in 2015 about Frontex based on data from an ERC starting grant project on crimmigration.


The Radzinowics Prize ceremony will take place later this year in the UK.

See also

About the Prize

The Radzinowicz Prize is awarded annually for the BJC article(s) that, in the opinion of the Editors, most contributes to knowledge of criminal justice issues and the development of criminology

By Per Jørgen Ystehede
Published Feb. 3, 2020 11:45 AM - Last modified Dec. 14, 2020 1:05 PM