The “Kriminologisches Journal” (KrimJ) is a quarterly scientific journal which is published by Beltz-Juventa. The journal features original scientific articles, discussion papers, practice and research reports on criminological theory and practice in German and English language. The thematic focus is on critical approaches to the structures and measures of social control bodies. All manuscripts undergo selective editorial and peer-review assessment prior to acceptance for publication. The peer-review process is strictly anonymous.

The “Kriminologisches Journal” is available both in print and online. Single issues and subscriptions are available at Beltz Juventa.

Issue 1/2019


Special Issue: "Social Work and Social Control"












Editorial: Social Work and Social Control

Sylvia Kühne, Christina Schlepper and Jan Wehrheim

Full Papers

Hilfe als Konditionalprogramm: Eine Systematisierung sozialer Kontrolle als Kernaufgabe Sozialer Arbeit (German)

Support as a conditional program: A systematization of social control as a key principle of social work


Bernd Dollinger

The contribution resumes a ‘conventional’ issue of social work, viz. the connection of support and social control. After earlier (critical) debates have long evaporated, it has become textbook knowledge to assume a duality or dialectic of support and social control, which seem to be inseparably intertwined in social work practice. There are good reasons to doubt this conjecture as its prevailing understanding insinuates a ‘pure’, ‘ingenuous’ concept of support, which appears to be unwittingly burdened with the implementation of social control. I argue that, in contrast, social work is primarily a particular mode of social control. In most cases, social work assumes a semblance of benevolence, but it still embodies an exercise of control, which it cannot abandon. I illustrate this supposition using systematic, historical and empirical references.


Warum ich mich für den Umgang von Sozialarbeiter_innen mit Devianten
interessierte. Biographische und soziologische Anmerkungen (German)

Why I was interested in social workers’ handling of deviants. Biographical and sociological notes

Helge Peters

In “Die sanften Kontrolleure” Helga Cremer-Schäfer and I showed that social workers at the beginning of the nineteenhundredseventies it’s true practiced social control. Nevertheless they acted mostly in the subjective interest of their clients. The social workers did not try to ascribe responsibility of their clients or to blame them. Findings of present investigations are different. I try to explain this change by comments on developments of post-welfare states. Social workers are more subjected to polit-economically founded influences than social workers have been in the time of “Die sanften Kontrolleure”.


Wie Sozialarbeiter_innen Devianz zuschreiben. Eine diachrone Analyse von Praktiken des legal reasonings in der Jugendgerichtshilfe (German)

How social workers ascribe deviance. A diachronic analysis of practices of legal reasoning in the field of youth court assistance

Sylvia Kühne and Christina Schlepper

The article examines changes in practices of ascribing deviance in the field of youth court assistance. By comparing data from the early 1970s and 2016 our results indicate that social workers’ practices are rather still guided by their occupational mandate for action than by an orientation based on increased control and punitive attitudes as current discourses of transformational changes in Social Work are suggesting. Nevertheless, the results also reveal transitions riveting on these practices according to which a shift of social works mandate towards cooperation with other institutions of social control is superseding a once critical attitude of social workers towards these agencies and partisanship for their addressees.


Die Allianz von Verbrechen & Strafe und Schwäche & Fürsorge zwischen sozialer Kontrolle und sozialer Ausschließung oder: weshalb soziale Kontrolle doch untauglich wurde, Ausschließung zu kontrollieren (German)

The alliance of Crime & Punishment and Weakness & Care between social control and social exclusion or: why social control could not be used to control social exclusion

Helga Cremer-Schäfer

The idea of civilising politics of criminalization and punishment via transferring delinquents in institutions of social control is reconstructed as a difficult and demanding “social artifact” in welfare states. Preconditions in the fields of politics and ideology existed just in a short period of prosperous Fordism. Institutionalising (since the second half of the last century) a coexistence of benevolent (“soft”) forms of social control by professionals of social work and “wars” on crime, terrorism, violence, drugs etc. as an instrument of symbolic politics and authoritarian populism terminated in the abolition of power to resist the neoliberal instrumental turn: the rehabilitation of punitivity. Critical research that gives conflicting “underlife” practices a voice is needed and possible.


Special Contributions in celebration of 50 years  Kriminologisches Journal

Soziale Kontrolle (German)

Social Control

Birgit Menzel

Sociology defines all actions and mechanisms intended to sustain social norms and/or societal order as social control. By contrast (critical) criminology has a limited understanding of social control with a restricted focus on criminal law. Based on two examples this paper shows how this criminological "reductionism" in the understand of social control undermines the scientific possibilities to understand and analyze social developments.

Conference Reports

„Abschaffung des Rechts“. Bericht über den vierten Kongress der
deutschsprachigen Rechtssoziologie-Vereinigungen vom
13. bis 15. September 2018 an der Universität Basel (Busch/Zech)




Open-Access publications

Open Access publications

From issue 1/2022 onwards all English-language papers published in the Kriminologisches Journals will be made available as open access papers. The papers can be downloaded from the publisher's homepage or via content-select. Additionally the download links can be found if you click on the respective issues.

German papers can also be published via open access within the framework of the usual conditions of our publisher Beltz Juventa.

Changes on the Editorial Board

New editors-in-chief of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of Issue 2/2021the position of editor-in-chief passed over from Meropi Tzanetakis to Christine Graebsch and Jens Puschke.

Drugs and Digital Technologies

Call for Abstracts for a special issue of the KrimJ

Illicit drug markets are undergoing a significant transformation: digital technologies have a profound influence on how illicit drugs are accessed, and they have also changed information- sharing about drugs. In addition, the proliferation of information and communication technologies has changed law enforcement activity. Digitalisation also comes with rapid changes in communicative environments across time and geographic location. While online forums and other internet resources have massively increased the amount of available information and discourse on psychoactive substances for more than two decades, mobile phones, encrypted platforms, cryptocurrencies, social media and messaging applications have recently diversified the ways in which illicit drugs are distributed. This diversity includes hybrid forms of distribution, e.g. using social media applications to make physical appointments.


New Editorial Board

New Editors of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of January 1st 2021 the Editorial Board of the Kriminologisches Journal consists of Prof. Dr. Jens Puschke LL.M, Dr. Meropi Tzanetakis, Dr. Simon Egbert, Prof. Dr. Christine Graebsch, Prof. Dr. Dörte Negnal und Dr. Bernd Werse.