Biography

Following the completion her degrees in BA Criminology and MRes Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies, Elizabeth undertook an ESRC-funded PhD in Criminology at the University of Manchester supervised by Dr Jon Shute and Professor Sandra Walklate. She was the recipient of the University of Manchester Outstanding Academic Achievement Award 2013, Faculty Award for Distinguished Achievement 2014 and Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice Chair's Prize 2014.

She previously worked as a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield on a project to reduce the effects of violence within cities and understand the role that civic organisations might play in managing these harms.

Elizabeth joined the Centre for Criminology in the Faculty of Law in January 2019 as an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She is currently working on a project entitled 'Bereaved Family Activism in the Aftermath of Lethal Violence'. This research explores the phenomenon of 'bereaved family activism': the attempts by bereaved relatives to confront their experiences of violent bereavement to engage in organised, responsive and public campaigns. The aim of this project is to better understand the experiences of those bereaved by lethal violence and what role bereaved families can play in shaping criminal justice policy and practice.

Publications

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  • E Cook, 'Bereaved Family Activism' in P Davies and J Tapley (eds), Victimology: Research, Policy and Activism (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) (forthcoming)
  • E Cook and S Walklate, 'Excavating Victim Stories: Making Sense of Agency, Suffering and Redemption' in L Presser, J Fleetwood, S Sandberg and T Ugelvik (eds), The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology (Emerald 2019) (forthcoming)
    The potential for a 'narrative turn' in victimology carries with it all kinds of possibilities and problems in adding nuanced understandings smoothed out and sometimes erased from the vision of victimhood provided by criminal victimisation data. In this chapter, we explore the methodological and theoretical questions posed by such a narrative turn by presenting the case of Eve: a mother bereaved by gun violence that unfolded in Manchester two decades ago. Excavated using in-depth biographical interviewing, Eve told the story of the loss of her son, the role of faith in dealing with the aftermath of violence and eventually, how this story became a source for change for the community in which it was read and heard. Eve’s story provided an impetus for establishing a grassroots anti-violence organisation and continued to be the driver for that same group long after the issue it was formed to address had become less problematic. As a story it served different purposes for the individual concerned, for the group they were a part of, and for the wider community in which the group emerged. However, this particular story also raises questions for victimology in its understanding of the role of voice in policy and concerning the nature of evidence for both policy and the discipline itself. This chapter considers what lessons narrative victimology might learn from narrative criminology, the overlaps that the stories of victims and offenders might share, and what the implications these might have for understanding what it means to be harmed.
  • E Cook, 'Witnessing, Responsibility and Spectatorship in the Aftermath of Mass Violence: Fieldwork Reflections from Srebrenica' in Walklate, S. and Hviid Jacobsen, M. (eds), Towards a Criminology of Emotions – Connecting Crime and Emotions (Routledge 2019) (forthcoming)
    The act of witnessing the suffering of others is an unfortunately characteristic feature of modern life. Contemporary media culture has prompted a proliferation of new ways of seeing and spectating irrespective of where, when, or who you are. The trends towards globalisation, the collapse of public and private spheres in late modernity, and the saturation of society with visual representations of suffering have encouraged us to understand, empathise with and imagine the suffering of others. These developments have raised new questions in criminology regarding the moral responsibility of witnessing suffering, the ethics of spectatorship and the dangers of empty gestures of outrage and voyeurism. Following Richard Quinney’s notion of ‘criminologists as witnesses’, this chapter explores the responsibilities of criminologists in bearing witness to the aftermath of mass atrocities. The discussion draws upon fieldwork reflections on attending the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The notion of witnessing is used here as a way of making sense of these experiences arguing that criminologists should move beyond mere spectatorship and towards how we act upon these experiences. The act of witnessing can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. However, for an exhaustive insight into lethal violence these emotions must be written in rather than written out of criminological research.

Research Interests

  • Victims
  • Homicide
  • Traumatic Bereavement
  • Families of victims and offenders
  • Secondary victimisation

 

 

Research projects