Narrative Criminology Research Network

Narrative criminology is an emergent theoretical framework for the study of stories in criminology. We are interested in how collective and personal narratives instigate, sustain and effect desistance from harmful action.

"The Murderer" by Edvard Munch. Source: Wikiart

About the project

Pioneered by Lois Presser, narrative criminology aims to explain crime and other harm as a function of stories that people tell about themselves in the world, as individuals and as groups. Narratives are understood to be essential for people’s sense-making about their own lives. Narrative criminology is a theoretical and methodological framework based on the idea that stories are interesting as data in their own right. For, whether true or false, the stories people tell reflect values, identities, cultures and communities, and therefore help us understand all of these. The focus of narrative criminology is on understanding the nature of specific narratives surrounding actions that do or undo harm and their social consequences. Particular phenomena of interest include mass violence, indifference toward suffering, white-collar crime, environmental degradation, drug abuse, various drug wars, other wars, state surveillance, punishment, the development of law, psychiatric intervention, and whatever might be called deviance.  


The Narrative Criminology Research Network is a joint initiative of Sveinung Sandberg and Thomas Ugelvik. It is our ambition that the new network will inspire researchers working within the fledgling criminological sub-discipline called narrative criminology, and that such a network will stimulate novel theoretical perspectives and original empirical analyses. The research network is based in the Nordic countries, but it is in continuous dialogue with a large international community working in narrative criminology.

Multidisciplinary cooperation is a main goal; we want to bring together perspectives from the disciplines of criminology, sociology, anthropology, psychology, history and law in a true exchange across national and disciplinary boundaries.


The Narrative Criminology Research Network has received funding from the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology.

Published Dec. 5, 2011 1:28 PM - Last modified May 7, 2018 3:31 PM


Sveinung Sandberg
Thomas Ugelvik


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Second Narrative Criminology Symposium

For more information see symposium webpage.