Spycops Comic

Nathan Stephens Griffin

This comic is based on research I conducted with environmental activists who have been spied on by undercover police officers (or ‘spycops’) in the UK. As discussed in the comic, the scale and scope of undercover policing and intimate state surveillance is believed to have been huge, with more than 150 officers spying on over 1000 political groups. Spycops perpetrated a range of harms, and I interviewed activists to try and better understand the way this has impacted environmental activism. I decided to make a comic as a means of visually representing the findings of the research, in the hope that it would be make it more accessible. The comic also provided a visual space for some autoethnographic reflections on the implicit challenges of doing research of this kind. 

Nathan Stephens Griffin works as a Lecturer at Northumbria University. His academic interest in Critical and Green Criminology developed from his political interest in social, environmental & species justice. Recent research he has done includes work with animal advocacy, and environmental activists, with a particular focus on the criminalisation of political protest. He is also interested in biographical, visual and graphic narrative approaches to social research. He is the author of ‘Understanding Veganism: Biography and Identity‘ which was published by Palgrave in 2017.

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