Photo of Mark Brown

Dr Mark Brown

Position: Senior Lecturer
Email Address: Mark.Brown@sheffield.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 6716


Academic Profile

I joined the School of Law in September 2014. Prior to that I had spent four years developing a small law and justice consultancy focused on actors in the international sphere and based in Geneva, while also working as a Chamonix-based professional mountain guide. Academically, I have spent most of my career in Australia where I was in the criminology program at the University of Melbourne. In 2011 I was a visiting professor at the Institute for Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Lausanne and I held an earlier visiting appointment at Delhi University Law School.

I have published extensively in the area of prisons and penal policy with a focus upon both contemporary and historical penality. In 2014 Routledge published my book Penal Power and Colonial Rule, a study of British uses of law as a strategy of governance on the Indian subcontinent. In 2013 Ashgate published Penal Culture and Hyperincarceration: The Revival of the Prison (co-authored with colleagues from the University of New South Wales), a modern history of the prison in Australia since about 1970. Based initially upon my consultancy work in Geneva I have developed an interest the more global aspects of crime and the armatures of justice and punishment. In that vein I have worked on security sector reform issues and also with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, particularly on environmental crime and on the question of how to reformulate domestic crime control strategies, such as deterrence, to counter transnational criminal threats.

I am currently working on a new book, tentatively titled Remaking Criminology. It builds on work I have been doing on criminology, globalisation and postcolonialism, including my article on ‘Postcolonial Penalities’ in India that won the best article of 2017 prize in the journal Theoretical Criminology. The new book, which I am due to complete in 2019, proposes a new methodological approach for criminology drawing upon the work of postcolonial scholars who have engaged with the problem of how the global south may come to be known on its own terms, yet within a wider field of knowledge that is western in character. The book proposes a number of novel approaches, one of which is a shift from a sociology of urban life – which underpins much of criminological theory – to a political economy grounded in understandings of resource scarcity, that better explains sources of conflict, harm and violence in the global south.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Victoria University of Wellington
  • BA (Hons), Massey University

Teaching and Learning

My teaching is underpinned by three key supports – a philosophy, a strategy and a style.

Philosophically, I believe that students learn best through engagement with their topic and the teaching materials that support it. Learning is enhanced if students can easily ‘find a way in’ to topics. I believe that in criminology and law this is most effectively achieved by organising teaching around a series of narratives, or stories, that draw the student into a topic and help them to see the problem both in its wider context and its important detail.

Strategically, I think that teaching needs to balance foundational information about how legal and criminal justice processes operate with development of the conceptual tools for critique of those processes. The modules I coordinate are thus structured around provision of both the ‘nuts and bolts’ knowledge that students need to take away as well as opportunities to learn and practice the techniques of analysis and critique. Assessment is designed so that students can demonstrate their grasp of both elements.

Finally, I aim for a teaching style that is open and, as far as possible within the large group lecture format, interactive. My module websites provide students with the important points for each lecture – not lecture notes – and I speak to these in the lecture. Students shouldn’t have their heads down taking notes in a lecture: you can’t listen properly when you’re doing that. And you certainly can’t engage in a dialogue. So I think effective teaching involves shifting lectures from being a content transfer exercise (from my lecture notes to the student’s lecture notes) to being an opportunity to listen and think and discuss.

The modules I teach are:

Undergraduate Postgraduate
Criminal Law and Justice Issues in Comparative Penology (Convenor)
Law School Without It No Success 1 Crime and Globalisation (Convenor)
Understanding Criminology
Criminal Law (Advanced)
Introducing Criminological Research
Miscarriages of Justice and Their Consequences
Punishment and Penal Policy

Research Interests

  • Prisons and penal policy
  • Penal history and theory
  • Colonial and post-colonial law and justice
  • Comparative jurisprudence
  • Global criminology
  • Transnational organised crime
  • Security sector reform
  • Fragile and post-conflict states

Member of the Centre for Criminological Research.

Areas of Research Supervision

I invite expressions of interest from students interested in working within any of the areas of my research interest noted above.

Key Publications

View full list of publications

Books

  • Brown M (2014) Penal Power and Colonial Rule. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cunneen C, Baldry E, Brown D, Schwartz M, Steel A & Brown M (2013) Penal culture and hyperincarceration: The revival of the prison. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brown M (2005) The New Punitiveness: Trends, Theories, Perspectives. Willan Pub. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brown M & Pratt J (2000) Dangerous Offenders: Punishment and Social Order. London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Brown M (2013) The iron cage of prison studies In Scott D (Ed.), Why Prison? (pp. 149-169). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brown M (2011) Imprisonment and Detention In de Lint W & Marmo M (Ed.), Crime and Justice. Sydney: Thomson/Reuters. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brown M (2010) Theorising Dangerousness In Nash M & Williams A (Ed.), Handbook of Public Protection. Collompton, Devon: Willan Publishing. RIS download Bibtex download