Dr Christopher Birkbeck

Professor Christopher Birkbeck

Professor of Criminology


I was born and educated in the UK, studying geography at the University of Oxford (1974) and completing a Ph.D. on crime in Latin America (1981) at what is now Swansea University. In 1980, I moved to Venezuela to work in the Universidad de Los Andes, where I was involved in the development of South America’s first undergraduate degree programme in Criminology (which opened in 1992). I remained with the Universidad de Los Andes until the end of 2005, having been a Professor of Criminology since 1993 and co-founder of the Criminology Research Group. Between 1987 and 1999, I also spent more than five years as a visiting teacher and researcher at the University of New Mexico, in the United States. I joined the University of Salford in 2006, where I am now a Professor of Criminology. I have also been a visiting scholar at the University of Montreal (2003) and the University of Florida (2009).


I have taught a wide variety of courses in Criminology and related subjects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including comparative criminology, research methods for criminology, criminological theory, juvenile delinquency and state terror.

My current teaching mainly relates to the workings of the criminal justice system. With Muzammil Quraishi, I have led the planning and implementation of an innovative new undergraduate module on ‘The Criminal Justice Process’, which is jointly delivered with a group of senior criminal justice practitioners. I also explore the sociological and narrative dimensions of the criminal justice process in a module on ‘Constructing Guilt and Innocence’.

Research Interests

My research has for long looked at Latin America and now has widened its focus to include the UK as well. Over the years, I have studied a variety of topics relating to crime and criminal justice, including the situational perspective on crime, use of force by the police, prisons and community sanctions, and juvenile crime. My current research focuses mainly on the moral dimensions of crime. A quantitative strand is looking at varieties of immorality among adolescents. A qualitative strand is looking at what offenders and victims say during restorative justice conferences.

Qualifications and Memberships

  • B.A. (Hons.) Geography (First), University of Oxford, 1974
  • M.A., University of Oxford, 1979
  • Ph.D., University of Wales, 1981


Juan Antonio Rodríguez, Neelie Pérez-Santiago, Christopher Birkbeck, Freddy Crespo, Solbey Morillo (2016) ‘Internationalizing the Study of Gang Membership: Validation Issues from Latin America.’ British Journal of Criminology DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azw058.

Juan Antonio Rodríguez, Neelie Pérez-Santiago, Christopher Birkbeck (2015) ‘Surveys as Cultural Artefacts: Applying the International Self-Report Delinquency Study to Latin American Adolescents.’ European Journal of Criminology 12(4):420-436. DOI: 10.1177/1477370815581701.

Christopher Birkbeck (2014) ‘Media Representations of Crime and Justice.’ Oxford Handbooks Online - Criminology and Criminal Justice, edited by Michael Tonry. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935383.013.15.

Christopher Birkbeck (2013) Collective Morality and Crime in the Americas. London: Routledge.

Christopher Birkbeck (2011) ‘Imprisonment and Internment: Comparing Penal Facilities North and South.’ Punishment and Society 13(3)307-332.

See complete list: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/view/authors/2569.html

Postgraduate research

  • Restorative justice
  • International comparative criminology
  • Theories of crime
  • The criminal justice process