Criminalisation of political activism: a conversation across disciplines

Fabio Cristiano, Deanna Dadusc, Tracey Davanna, Koshka Duff, Joanna Gilmore, Chris Rossdale, Federica Rossi, Adan Tatour, Lana Tatour, Waqas Tufail, Elian Weizman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This Intervention presents a conversation amongst a collective of scholars who are in the process of establishing a research network studying the criminalisation of dissent.

The new UK Police, Crime, Sentencing, Courts Act 2022 is just one recent example of attempts by ‘liberal democratic’ states to criminalise political activism and restrict the right to protest. Similar legislative measures, repressive policing practices, and discourses delegitimating dissent can be observed across a variety of geographic and socio-political contexts.

In this discussion, we interrogate both the concept of ‘criminalisation of political activism’ and the practices through which criminalisation is enacted by sharing examples and analyses from our research. We approach criminalisation as a process that changes with circumstances and is shaped by a multiplicity of state and non-state actors and agencies, and question the analytical gentrification that narrows resistance and rebellion to the exclusionary category of activism. Our different disciplinary and regional foci bring together the historical and the contemporary, the (liberal) settler colony and (colonial) liberal democracy, to reflect collectively on the formal and informal tools, technologies and strategies used to criminalise dissent.

The conversation took place in November 2022 and was then transcribed and lightly edited for clarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-125
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Studies on Security
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2023


  • Activism
  • Criminalisation
  • Dissent
  • Policing


Dive into the research topics of 'Criminalisation of political activism: a conversation across disciplines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this