Criminology or Zemiology? Yes, Please! On the Refusal of Choice between False Alternatives

Justin Kotzé*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Buried deep within the zemiological movement and its supportive literature is the implicit assumption that the word zemia, the organising concept around which zemiology is built, simply represents ‘the Greek word for harm’. This interpretation has supported numerous drives to ‘move beyond criminology’ and erect strict borders between the study of crime and harm. However, a deeper, albeit still rather brief, exploration of zemia reveals that it possesses a broader range of meaning than that commonly afforded to it. By beginning to unpick zemia’s semantic genealogy, it appears that the conventional use of the word to support the imposition of false alternatives between criminology and zemiology is untenable. Accordingly, this chapter attempts to foreground a more integrated approach to the study of crime and harm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZemiology
Subtitle of host publicationReconnecting Crime and Social Harm
EditorsAvi Boukli, Justin Kotzé
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783319763125
ISBN (Print)9783030094614, 9783319763118
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCritical Criminological Perspectives
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2731-0604
ISSN (Electronic)2731-0612


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