This paper provides some schematic genealogical observations of a rich and varied field of scholarship in Australia loosely badged as critical criminology. Those working in the critical criminology tradition have been centrally concerned with the social construction, variability and contingency of the criminal label and the power effects that flow from state definitions of deviance. The paper selects scholarship being undertaken around four topics—Indigenous criminalisation, feminist concerns about crime, youth crime and the creation of a new class of criminal through border controls—to exemplify the richness
and diversity of this current research. We are well aware that it is a somewhat invidious exercise to single out certain bodies of work like this from the broad and diverse inquiries that constitute
contemporary critical criminology in Australia. Our selection has been guided in part by the desire to relate salient connections with the historical, geo-spatial, national, political and social context from which critical criminological work in Australia springs. We eschew a certain style of analysis tacitly conducted in terms of the failed or blocked realisation of some general principle (‘full sociality’, social equality, non-patriarchal society) in favour of a wide and open definition of what may count as critical
work in criminology. We also consciously refrain from assuming that critical research is qualitative or discursive, and non-critical research quantitative. The paper concludes with some comments about the
possibilities for promulgating the criminological imagination.