Areas of Emphasis
The Chair deals with criminological matters as well as questions regarding criminal law and criminal procedure. We emphasize a critical and reflexive approach combining empirical research and dogmatic legal theory. Theoretical topics are taken into account as much as aspects of “law in action” and the context of social developments.
More than anywhere, criminological teaching and research thrive on an interdisciplinary grasp and approach. Aside from social sciences and psychology, computer sciences and other technical disciplines are of particular interest at the Chair. As for the law, in addition to criminal law and criminal procedure, emphasis is primarily placed on constitutional law, police law and data protection and privacy law.
A main focus of our criminological work lies with specific delinquency areas such as transnational corporate crime, unlawful police violence, and far-right politically motivated crimes. Another focal point is placed on the societal responses to deviance and crime, as can be summarized under the headline “Social Control and Society”. This includes topics of police and judiciary and especially criminal prosecution and research on the practice of criminal proceedings. At the same time, research is conducted on the social handling of deviance from a fundamental approach, taking into account other kinds of social control, the social construction of deviance, and the social needs concerning these interactions. Put this way, the chair pursues a critical form of security research which scrutinizes the growing significance of individual, civil security in Western societies. Research on these subjects is generally of empirical nature and mostly third-party funded.
Concerning substantive criminal law, elementary matters are covered, particularly broaching the issue of criminal law’s societal function and the according professional certainties. Additional topics are official wrongdoing and penal laws protecting the administration of justice. Both areas are closely linked to our criminological research priorities. Beyond this, the protection of data and information and communication systems and of informational self-determination by criminal law are addressed.
Criminal procedure focuses mainly on the law of evidence, criminal investigation measures and coercive measures, and informational self-determination and data processing in criminal proceedings. Specific attention is paid to the collection and analysis of digitally stored data, technology-based and covert investigation measures, and subsequent utilization of data collected for criminal proceedings. In the future, issues concerning criminal investigations and sources of error in criminal proceedings are to be covered distinctively, generating strong links with the current empirical criminological research.
The Chair was established on the 1st of March 2017 as twin chair and early succession to Prof. Dr. Thomas Feltes’ Chair of Kriminologie, Polizeiwissenschaft und Kriminalpolitik. Both chairs cooperate closely with each other. Thomas Feltes has been representing the criminology department at RUB since 2002. Before that, the chair was held by Hans-Dieter Schwind from 1974 to 2001.