Article Resulting from Graduate Thesis Published in British Journal of Criminology

John J. Brent, who earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in 2009, recently had an article resulting from his graduate thesis – an ethnographic study of underground fighters – published in the “British Journal of Criminology,” one of the top three journals in criminology and the most prestigious journal in international criminology circles.

Brent, currently a full-scholarship student in the University of Delaware’s Sociology/Criminology doctoral program, had decided on the subject of his thesis by his second semester at Eastern. Since he already had a background in mixed martial arts, he felt he would be able to secure informants and ground-level data to fully explore the topic.

He began working on the project with Dr. Peter Kraska, chair of graduate studies and research and professor in the College of Justice and Safety’s School of Justice Studies at EKU. They secured funding from the College’s Program of Distinction internal research grant program and went through a full internal review board hearing/process due to the sensitive and potentially dangerous nature of the research project.

In 2010, Brent won an international student paper competition with his EKU thesis, and in 2011, he and Kraska began the process of submitting their paper – titled “Fighting is the Most Real and Honest ThingViolence and the Civilization/Barbarism Dialectic” – to academic journals. After several reviews and revisions (and a rejection from one journal), the article was accepted for publication in the British Journal of Criminology.

The paper examines the growing world of underground sport fighting and offers a theoretical and ethnographic exploration of the motivations and emotive frameworks of these unsanctioned fighters, according to the paper’s summary.

“More broadly,” it continues, “we attempt to understand the interrelationship between contemporary controls and sport fighting as a microcosm of the long-running struggle between civility and barbarism.”

The journal was released electronically on Feb. 11 and the full article can be seen at bjc.oxfordjournals.org.

“It is quite an accomplishment for an EKU graduate student to have his master’s thesis published in a journal that only the leading professors and researchers around the world are able to publish in,” said Kraska. “Aside from the prestige, this accomplishment will bolster considerably John’s ability to find a quality academic position when he graduates next year with his Ph.D.”

Published on February 28, 2013