Established in 1941, the American Society of Criminology is arguably one of the oldest international societies in the field of criminology. The European Society of Criminology was founded in the year 2000. Until recently, Finnish criminologists did not have a scientific society of their own. The situation changed in 2019 with the founding of The Finnish Society of Criminology (FSC). The new organization defines criminology as an empirical discipline investigating crime and reactions to crime. As stated in the founding charter, FSC aims to:
- Advance criminological research and teaching;
- Support the status of criminology at universities and other educational institutions;
- Support the independence and objectivity of criminological research;
- Support applied criminology in policy evaluation in both public and private sector as well as among NGOs;
- Promote research on the history of criminology;
- Advance the interdisciplinary character of criminology;
- Support communication among criminologists in Finland, and cultivate interactions and relationships between Finnish criminologists and members of the international criminological community;
- Provide a forum for the discussion of ethical dimensions of criminological research and applied criminology.
In Finland, criminology has historically been seen as either a subfield of other disciplines, especially law or sociology, or as an applied field linked to criminal justice policy concerns. This tradition marginalized criminology into a “supporting actor” role in the main stage of the Finnish social science. In departure from this tradition, the new society views criminology as an independent discipline. The recent increase in the supply of and demand for criminological teaching in Finnish universities is consistent with this updated view of the status of criminology in Finland.
The activities of the FSC are modelled after the European Society of Criminology and the American Society of Criminology. However, given the size of the criminological community in Finland, FSC decided to follow a bi-annual rather than annual schedule of meetings. The first such meeting will take place this year, 14-15 December 2020, in Helsinki. The bi-annual meetings are supplemented by smaller thematic meetings and research seminars.
Currently, there is no Finnish language journal in criminology. Finnish criminologists wishing to publish in their native language must submit their texts to journals representing other disciplines. We are therefore investigating the idea of creating a new criminology journal – or perhaps an online bulletin – publishing in Finnish and Swedish, the two official languages of Finland.
With this “declaration of independence”, Finnish criminology asserts its own identity and institutional framework. Members of the FSC believe that this mode of organization will improve the ability of the criminological science to become a more productive partner with other fields of behavioural and social science. Within its domain of inquiry, the FSC aims to be an inclusive organization that supports diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. We value both basic research as well as applied research. As such, we welcome both scholars and practitioners to join the organization.
Jukka Savolainen and Janne Kivivuori
Jukka Savolainen is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, USA. Janne Kivivuori is Professor of Criminology, University of Helsinki.
Note added 25 May, 2020: the biannual FSC conference is probably postponed to May, 2021. Huom. Kriminologian päivien ajankohta siirtyy todennäköisesti toukokuulle 2021.