From May 14 to 16, 2008, the Nathanson Centre’s Professor James Shypticki organized a SSHRC-funded workshop entitled “Guns, Crime and Social Order: An International Workshop.” The Nathanson Centre co-funded and sponsored the workshop, which was organized around the following premises and issues.
Crime involving firearms has become a high priority public issue in many places around the world and academic criminologists have targeted it as a priority. Debates about gun crime and gun control are highly polarized, especially in North America, but at the same time it seems relatively clear that firearms are becoming an increasingly visible and problematic cultural artifact. Worldwide public debate on this issue is couched in highly rhetorical terms, which sheds more heat than light, but equally the available evidence makes it relatively clear that, internationally speaking, gun-related crimes in conditions other than war now kill or injure more people than at any time during the modern period. The aim of this workshop is to consolidate the existing theoretical and empirical research base and to do so with regard to both the transnational and comparative lessons that need to be drawn. One thing is certain – that there is a generally held expectation that gun-related crime is a central concern for policing. This international workshop will bring scholars and researchers from the United Kingdom and other European jurisdictions, as well as from the United States and the Caribbean, together with interested Canadian scholars. It will have three linked but distinct themes: the first concerning empirical studies of policing gun crime and illicit firearms markets; the second concerning broad sociological questions about gun-crime and its control; and the third relating specifically to transnational and comparative analyses of these issues. The workshop will allow a transnational synthesis of state-of-the-art knowledge about the social and cultural phenomena associated with guns, gun-crime and criminal networks, and about the policing thereof including its broader regulatory and informal social control aspects.
Other sponsors of the workshop were the Law Foundation of Ontario; the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, York University; Criminology Program, York University; Division of Social Science, York University; and Ryerson University.