Academic excellence at the very forefront of criminology research

The Department of Sociology and Criminology at Essex has been widely regarded as one of the original and strongest homes of a critical and sociological Criminology. The Department has both produced and attracted some of the most influential criminologists of the past 50 years, and continues to push intellectual and policy boundaries, while training and supporting the next generation of criminologists.

Since our inception, we have hosted leading analysts of crime and deviance - even if they didn’t always call themselves criminologists. Our members have included early pioneers such as Stanley Cohen, Kenneth Plummer and Mary McIntosh, through to colleagues who have now moved on, such as Maggy Lee, Dick Hobbs, Jackie Turton and Nigel South.

Today's members organise their cutting edge research through the Centre for Criminology, hosting seminars and visitors, projects and networks, and from 2020 serving as the editorial base for the British Journal of Criminology, one of the world’s top publications in the field.


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"A Centre is ‘more than the sum of its parts’ and at Essex the brilliant work of our individual researchers and writers comes together in the work of C4C and our team-written textbook (now in its 4th edition), our programme of open seminars and events, the involvement of our students and visiting scholars, and our interdisciplinary collaborations."
Professor Nigel South Former Director Centre for Criminology

Our work

We attract research funding, work with partners from the local to the international, produce world class research outputs and engage with schools, colleges and businesses across the UK.

We attract the very best undergraduate and postgraduate research students to our Department and inform our teaching with the results of our cutting-edge criminological research. We also organise seminars and events throughout the year, covering a wide range of topics and open to all.

Highlights from our work


Our academic staff frequently feature within the wider press and media. Below are some examples of their latest appearances: 


At Essex we take the sociological approach to studying crime and deviance to answer questions such as: why are laws made? why are these laws subsequently broken? what can be done about it? why is society fascinated with crime?

One aspect of criminology is to focus on the individual, but here at Essex we take a much broader perspective and research criminology from the social perspective. Our teaching is research based and engaged with the real world.

Teaching and the Centre

Explore our unique offer for UG and PG courses in criminology:

Why we are great:

Top 25 for criminology (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023).

Our textbook

Criminology Text book front coverCriminology: A Sociological Introduction - 4th edition By Eamonn Carrabine, Alexandra Cox, Pamela Cox, Isabel Crowhurst, Anna Di Ronco, Pete Fussey, Anna Sergi, Nigel South, Darren Thiel, Jackie Turton

"One of the strengths of this text and what distinguishes it from many market competitors is that the authors are scholars of international distinction who do groundbreaking research and don’t just report on it. They know their field and this allows them to avoid some of tropes and clichés encountered in other textbooks. And if you are looking for an introduction to criminology that avoids a lot of the parochialism of other texts, this is the one to read, with each new edition increasingly global in scale and ambition."

John Scott, Professor, School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

"Criminology: A Sociological Introduction continues to be one of the most accessible, engaging and stimulating Criminology textbooks on the market. Now in its fourth edition, this book takes students through the most important socio-criminological issues of our time and is a resource that they will return to throughout their degree studies."

Yvonne Jewkes, Professor of Criminology, Department of Social & Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK


Our lecturers and their areas of supervision:

  • Eamonn Carrabine is a professor of sociology at the University of Essex, where his teaching and research interests lie in the fields of criminology, cultural studies and sociology more generally.
    Areas of supervision: Crime and the Media; Cultural and Social Geography; Popular Music and Sociological Thinking; Punishment and Human Rights; Sociology of Imprisonment; Visual Sociology; Youth Culture
  • Alexandra Cox is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Essex. Her research interests lie in the consequences of confinement for young people and in the role of mercy in the lives of people sentenced to extreme prison sentences.
    Areas of supervision: Youth justice; Racism, crime and punishment; Penal ethics; Mercy and equitable discretion; Arts and imprisonment; 'Street level' bureaucrats and the criminal justice system
  • Pamela Cox is a professor specialising in criminal justice history, social history and gender. She is currently leading an interdisciplinary ESRC project on victims’ access to justice in English criminal courts over three centuries.
    Areas of supervision: modern social and cultural history; social policy, social justice and criminal justice; gender relations; youth justice, child rights, family law
  • Isabel Crowhurst is a senior lecturer, and her main research is concerned with the construction and socio-legal treatment of non-normative sexual practices and intimate lives, and how they are negotiated and made sense of in everyday lived experiences.
    Areas of supervision: Gender and sexuality; Sex work and sex industry studies; The intersection of sexual and economic citizenship; Fiscal sociology and critical taxation studies; Comparative methods and psycho-social methodologies
  • Anna Di Ronco is a senior lecturer in criminology. Her main research interests lie in regulation, representation and enforcement regarding urban incivilities, and in the use of social media by criminalized environmental movements.
    Areas of supervision: Regulation and social control of uncivil behaviour; Criminalisation of sex work; Urban policing; Criminalisation of environmental protest; Non-science-based medical practices and their social harm
  • Pete Fussey is a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Essex. His main research interests focus on surveillance, digital sociology, human rights, control and the city, and he has published widely across these areas.
    Areas of supervision: Surveillance and society; Digital Sociology; Security and the city; Terrorism and counter-terrorism; Urban sociology; Resilience and climate change; Informal and criminal economies; Human trafficking
  • Chris Greer is Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research (Designate) and Professor of Sociology. His research and teaching interests are in the broad areas of: Crime, media and criminal justice; Sociology of media and communication; Victimology; Punishment and penality; Criminological theory.
    Areas of supervision: Trial by Media; Scandal; Serious Youth Violence; Victimology; Celebrity
  • Kat Hadjimatheou is a lecturer in criminology. Her areas of expertise include police ethics, surveillance technologies, data-driven policing, domestic abuse and human trafficking.
    Areas of supervision: Police ethics, security surveillance, data, use of algorithms, security technologies and AI, predictive policing, criminal records, preventive policing, human trafficking, domestic abuse
  • Johanna Römer is a lecturer, and her research examines how state power and political authority are produced through the everyday interactions and experiences of persons working within and subject to criminal justice institutions.
    Areas of supervision: Sociology of punishment, political and legal anthropology, urban ethnography, race, ethnicity and justice, law and human rights, gender violence, violence and social media
  • Anna Sergi is a senior lecturer. Her specialism is in organised crime, mafia studies, and comparative criminal justice.
    Areas of supervision: organised crime; mafia studies; criminal mobility; white-collar crime; illicit trafficking; cross-border policing; corruption; power-crime nexus
  • Carlos Solar is a lecturer in criminology. His research interests fit broadly under the areas of democratic governance; criminology, mostly on policing, corruption, and organised crime; and military studies.
    Areas of supervision: Armed Forces and Society; Criminal Policy; Cybersecurity and cyber defence; Policing; Security Governance; States and Organized Crime; Corruption
  • Nigel South is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Essex. His research interests include environmental crime, green criminology and human rights; illegal and legal drug use; theoretical and comparative criminology; and public health and community services.
    Areas of supervision: environmental crime; green criminology and human rights; illegal and legal drug use and markets; crime, inequalities and citizenship; theoretical and comparative criminology; public health and community services
  • Darren Thiel is a senior lecturer with research interests in public policy, criminal justice, policing and economic sociology.
    Areas of supervision: Social class and stratification; economic sociology; migration, globalisation and governance; globalisation and policing; policing terrorism; the criminal justice system; social policy


Our events

We have a vibrant intellectual community which we stimulate through regular events, organized throughout the academic year.

Showcasing expertise and cutting-edge research

We host three seminars per term and invite academics, third-sector organisations and practitioners to discuss topical issues relevant to the criminological field. Our events are open to all!

Highlights from our events


Social media

Follow us on Twitter: you will be updated on our research as well as on the inspiring events we organise throughout the academic year!

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Contact us
Centre for Criminology University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Department of Sociology and Criminology University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873049