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NCJ Number: 68532 Find in a Library
Title: STUDY OF THE PHENOMENON OF CRIME AND ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIAL REACTION TO CRIME IN BLACK AFRICA
Journal: REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE CRIMINOLOGIE ET DE POLICE TECHNIQUE  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL-JUNE 1979)  Pages:119-132
Author(s): Y BRILLON
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 14
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Switzerland
Annotation: THE PROBLEMS OF INTERPRETING NATIVE AFRICAN CRIMINALITY FROM A WESTERN POINT OF VIEW ARE ANALYZED WITH AN EMPHASIS ON UNREPORTED CRIME.
Abstract: TWO PRINCIPAL FACTORS FALSIFY CRIME STUDIES ON BLACK AFRICA: THE USE OF SECOND-HAND DATA WHICH ARE INTERPRETED OUSIDE THEIR CULTURAL CONTEXT AND THE PROJECTION OF OCCIDENTAL IDIOSYNCRACIES OF FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT NATIVE CONDITIONS. THUS A FRENCH LEGAL EXPERT ATTRIBUTED AFRICAN RAPE RATES TO FEMALE NUDITY WITHOUT REALIZING THAT, AMONG NATIVES, NUDITY DOES NOT HAVE THE SEXUAL CONNOTATION IT HAS IN EUROPE. THE WESTERN COLONIALISTS MADE THE MISTAKE OF IMPOSING THEIR OWN 'SUPERIOR' CONCEPT OF JUSTICE ON THE NATIVES; BY DECRIMINALIZING TABOO OFFENSES AND PUNISHING BEHAVIOR ACCEPTABLE TO THE NATIVES, THEY ERODED NATIVE CONFIDENCE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, THUS ENCOURAGING CLANDESTINE JUSTICE AND UNREPORTED CRIME. THIS PROCESS WAS CONTINUED BY THE AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS THEMSELVES WHICH REPRESENTED UPPER-CLASS ELITIST ATTITUDES TOWARD CIVILIZING PRIMITIVE PEOPLE. BECAUSE THE OCCIDENTAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS STILL NOT ACCEPTED IN WIDE PARTS OF AFRICA, OFFICIAL CRIME REPORTS AND STATISTICS MUST BE INTERPRETED WITH GREAT CARE. THUS, THE STAGGERING CRIME RATES OF AFRICAN CITIES ARE EXPLAINABLE NOT SO MUCH BY THE PROBLEMS OF URBANIZATION BUT BY THE EASY ACCESS TO WESTERN COURTS. IN MANY AFRICAN COUNTRIES, OFFENSES DEALT WITH IN TRIBAL COURTS ARE NOT INCORPORATED INTO THE OFFICIAL STATISTICS. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT IN ORDER TO AVOID ERRORS, CRIMINOLOGISTS MUST USE AN ETHNOCRIMINOLOGICAL APPROACH IN BLACK AFRICA. THE ARTICLE INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS AND A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY. --IN FRENCH.
Index Term(s): Africa; Crime Statistics; Criminology; Ethnic groups; Socioculture; Tribal community relations; Tribal history; Unreported crimes
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68532

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