Using our own experiences in attempting to 'do' public criminology in the wake of a violent sexual assault on our campus, we offer a critique of the emerging public criminology framework. Focusing specifically on tensions between fact and emotion and representations of expertise in the news media, we argue for a greater respect for emotional responses to crime in moving the public criminology agenda forward. We suggest that if public criminology sets as its goal educating the public about crime with an eye towards injecting a counter/critical discourse into 'get tough' crime control policies, then public criminologists need to recognize and take seriously the public's emotions rather than negate them. Drawing on the work of Ahmed (The cultural politics of emotion. Routledge, London, 2004), we suggest that the role of the expert is not to simply inform citizens of the 'facts' about crime, but to establish-through emotions-the relationship between themselves and the imagined criminal Other (Young in Imagining crime: Textual outlaws and criminal conversations. Sage Publications, London, 1996). Thus, alongside trying to convince the public to be more 'rational' when it comes to crime, critical criminologists must start to accept people's fear and anger as legitimate reactions and try to redirect these emotions toward more productive ends.

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Journal The Journal of Human Justice
Mopas, M, & Moore, D. (2012). Talking Heads and Bleeding Hearts: Newsmaking, Emotion and Public Criminology in the Wake of a Sexual Assault. The Journal of Human Justice, 20(2), 183–196. doi:10.1007/s10612-011-9134-z