A green cultural criminology and a Southern criminology
A green cultural criminology provides a lens through which to view representations of nature, paying attention to the ‘mediated and political dynamics surrounding the presentation of various environmental phenomena’ (Brisman and South 2014: 6). Importantly, our cultural, literary and visual worlds are saturated with ‘images’ of nature and the natural, both positively and negatively presented—as sources of life and sustenance but also of danger and fear (see generally Brisman and Rau 2009). This is a common feature of most, if not all, cultures, but may be presented in different ways to different degrees. The development of Southern Theory (Connell 2007, 2014; Connell, Collyer, Maia and Morrell 2017) and of a Southern criminology (Carrington, Hogg and Sozzo 2016; Carrington, Hogg, Scott and Sozzo 2018; Carrington et al. 2019) emphasises the need for sensitivity to such differences. Within criminology. Northern/Western and metropolitan/urban dominance has functioned as a means of exporting ideologies and perpetuating colonialist assumptions—imposing
Northern/Western ways of doing things in contexts of culture, knowledge and practice where this was inapplicable, inappropriate, unnecessary and often unwelcome.
A Southern criminology does not seek to offer a form of denunciation or opposition regarding ‘traditional’ criminology, but to enable re-orientation and augmentation (Carrington, Hogg and Sozzo 2016; Carrington, Hogg, Scott and Sozzo 2018; Carrington et al. 2019). While green criminology has roots in critical criminology (e.g., Lynch 1990), it has developed healthy relationships with a range of criminological orientations (e.g., Agnew, this volume, Chapter 2; Burton et al., this volume, Chapter 3; Natali and McClanahan, this volume, Chapter 5). As such. Southern criminology and green criminology complement each other in various ways and our intention here is to admit and address northern bias in thinking about a ‘green cultural criminology’—and thus, if ‘green cultural criminology’ is a ‘perspective within a perspective’ (Brisman 2018: 469), then our goal here might be considered a ‘perspective within a perspective within a perspective’. To emphasise the ‘cultural’ here, we aim, in particular, to make inter-disciplinary links. This is important in helping us to acknowledge the Eurocentric imposition and importation of ‘understandings’ of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ within nations-states of the Global South. One starting point for this project is to explore cultural narratives of human-environment relationships in the Latin American context.1
Power, violence and suppression in the tropes of nature in Latin American literature
We begin by considering literature ‘of and ‘about’ ‘nature’ in Latin America, principally eco-critical scholarship on both fiction and non-fiction, although the two domains often blur in this kind of imagining, reporting and writing. This is necessarily a short exercise in signalling thoughts and directions, but it should become apparent that there is much in the literary academic review of historical and creative accounts of borders and place, boundaries and space, memory and folklore, language and geography and so on, that should be immensely stimulating for a future green cultural criminological project engaging with the countries and continent of Latin America as representative of the Global South.
As Gudynas (2010: 269) remarks,
In the first stages of European conquest and colonisation, according to available information, the dominant conception of the environment [in literature] was as a “savage” space. The prevalent testimonies are about uncontrollable nature imposing itself over human beings, who would then suffer the rhythms of rains and droughts, of soil fertility, of water availability, or plagues affecting crops. The spaces left to colonise were savage spaces, potentially dangerous due to the wild beasts and diseases that could be present."
So, as Boling (2006: 245) writes: ‘As part of the colonizing process, the Spaniards conceived the New World as “the passive object of transplantation and grafting” (O’Gorman : 142)’ and
|t|he literature of discovery and conquest reiteratefd] the motif of a utopian land of plenty in which natural phenomena, including the Indigenous populations, were to he named and catalogued. Nature as abundance is transformed into resource; discovery gives way to conquest.