[In response to the Editor’s question, “What do you think of the essay?]
I am familiar with these researchers and this project, which has generated an array of interesting and inspiring outputs. This essay and video focus on the case study of JC and the dilemmas of manhood/masculinity in the US South. Whilst a great deal has been written about masculinity and crime, this video essay offers a vivid snapshot. As such, it ‘takes us there’ reflecting the best in the ethnographic tradition.
To be more critical, I find the essay and video both rather short – I am left wanting for more. I wonder about including some links to other, connected, work in this project inviting the interested reader to engage with that work also. I think that readers would also benefit from a short methodological statement—just a couple of sentences on how you met JC, and acknowledging his willingness to be on camera and involved in the project.
[In response to the Editor’s questions, “How do you think such essays should be evaluated? How does this particular essay and the broader genre fit into the wider landscape of criminological inquiry?”]
This is an extremely difficult question! It’s worth noting that this video essay is extremely well produced—it’s beautifully filmed and slickly edited. This is especially important given they are representing people who are often stigmatized. A standard way of assessing academic work is to ask whether it moves the field forward or makes an intellectual ‘contribution’. Certainly it makes a contribution to the criminological study of masculinities. But, these parameters are rather narrow. I think the real value of this essay is in bringing to life JC’s situation, which it does vividly. I also consider the text and essay to be well matched (although I think both are quite short). Did it make me think differently? Definitely. Perhaps that is a good question for assessing work of this kind.