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Sensory “Heteroglossia” and Social Control: Sensory Methodology and Method

Herrity, Kate; Schmidt, Bethany E.; Warr, Jason


Kate Herrity

Bethany E. Schmidt


Mary Dodge

Rita Faria


Heteroglossia refers to the presence of multiple voices and views – exchanges that are central to the academic project (Bakhtin, The dialogic imagination: four essays (trans. and ed: Emerson C, Holquist M). University of Texas Press, 1981; Clarke, Critical dialogues: thinking together in turbulent times. Policy Press, 2019). We use this concept in two ways: first, to bring Stanley Cohen’s seminal book Visions of Social Control (1985) into conversation with more recent work in sensory criminology, and second, to demonstrate the ways in which the sensory can itself bring different aspects of experience into dialogue, thereby enriching the research process. We contend that the sensory provides a means of investigating how practices of social control extend far beyond our vision. Contrary to conventional understandings of how we identify, classify and process people defined as criminal – or ‘ways of looking’ – we draw on wider academic literature and empirical examples to illustrate how our broader sensory palate is equally implicated in social ordering. We consider what this does for our assumptions about how we produce knowledge, as well as how we go about altering our research methods to make the sensory both the focus of and the instrument of inquiry. The sensory, we argue, has always formed various modes of understanding which we are unaccustomed to echoing in our research practice. Doing so has profound implications for how we ‘do’ social science.


Herrity, K., Schmidt, B. E., & Warr, J. (2022). Sensory “Heteroglossia” and Social Control: Sensory Methodology and Method. In M. Dodge, & R. Faria (Eds.), . Springer.

Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2022
Publication Date Nov 19, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 27, 2023
Publisher Springer International Publishing
Pages 125-139
Series Title Qualitative Research in Criminology
ISBN 9783031184000
Keywords Sensory criminology, Qualitative methods, Prisons research, Social control, Sensemaking
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Additional Information © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG