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UAB Rector thanks Anthony Bottoms for his sensitivity and generosity

22 Nov 2022
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In his speech, UAB Rector Javier Lafuente praised the "sensitivity when delving into a socially controversial field" of British criminologist Anthony Bottoms in the awards ceremony held on 22 November in which Professor Bottoms was made an honorary doctor by the UAB. Rector Lafuente also showed his appreciation for his collaboration with the UAB Faculty of Law, as well as "his enthusiasm as a disseminator and generosity with new researchers".

3Q: Anthony Bottoms

In his laudation, Josep Cid, Professor in Criminal Law and sponsor of the new honorary doctor, thanked Professor Bottoms for both his "production of new criminological theory" and the fact that he was "always striving for more social justice". Professor Bottoms, in his acceptance speech, expressed his "confidence" that "the research and teaching in criminology at the UAB Faculty of Law will continue to prosper for many years to come".

The new honorary doctor dedicated his speech to the details of the research he has conducted during his lifetime, emphasising that in the past few years, he has focused "particularly on the desistance of crime and the legitimacy of the justice system". The study conducted by Professor Bottoms and his colleagues on different prison systems led them to introduce the concept of legitimacy. According to him, "every social community, including prisons, has a problem of order; and when we talk about the problem of order, we are talking ultimately about the best way to order that community so that the people in it feel that their interests and their future are being properly attended to”.

His research made it clear that the legitimacy of authorities in the prison system is related to the success or failure of measures taken to help offenders stop committing crimes, such as policies based on incentives and earned privileges (IEP initiative). Desistance of crime has been precisely the central point of criminology during this century, Professor Bottoms pointed out. The majority of people have the will to stop committing crime, but desistance "is usually a gradual process, not a sudden one". The work of this British criminologist has established that in this process of desisting from crime, there are key factors such as the relationships with "their girlfriends, friends and family, particularly their mothers".

An "orderly and open" viewpoint

The ceremony ended with a speech by Rector Lafuente in which he pointed out "the capacity of criminology to create an original and stimulating theoretical framework" in a "field of study with great social repercussion and which many times is subject to controversies and scarcely informed debates". In this sense, he praised both the "orderly and open" viewpoint offered by Professor Bottoms academic work, and the work conducted by the UAB Faculty of Law, which "has demonstrated an important ability to integrate new disciplines and take advantage of the multi-disciplinarity found on campus", demonstrated by the start of the first academic programmes in Criminology in the 2005/2006 academic year.

Rector Lafuente reflected on the fact that "the UAB has a clear vocation in exercising its role in society through the creation and transfer of knowledge, but also through a strong involvement with society and commitment in training qualified professionals and socially responsible citizens". And within this mission, "the vitality of UAB teaching centres is significant and the Faculty of Law — which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary — is a fundamental piece of this institution".

The UAB, with Sustainable Development Goals

  • Reduced inequalities
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Quality education