The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology

By Terence Morris | Go to book overview

FOREWORD by Hermann Mannheim

'In Britain...', writes Dr. Morris, 'the study of criminology has never enjoyed more than a precarious foothold in the Universities from which the impetus of research must ultimately come'. How very true this is; and those who may ask for chapter and verse for this statement can now find at least part of the story in the recent UNESCO survey of The Study of Criminology in ten selected countries, including Great Britain. Still, as so often not only in military history but also in the history of scientific disciplines, even the most precarious foothold has occasionally led to important conquests extending far into the mainland of the opposing party. Among others, the various sections of this Library, with their diverse contributions to the study of crime and delinquency from the viewpoints of the sociologist, lawyer, psychologist, psychiatrist and penal administrator bear witness of such conquests in the field of Criminology. The present book with sub-title "A Study in Social Ecology" -- it might perhaps just as well have been: "ecological Criminology" -- is an important addition to the International Library, and it gives me much pleasure to introduce it to the reading public. Dr. Morris has produced what is perhaps the clearest exposition so far written of the merits as well as the limitations of the ecological interpretation of crime and juvenile delinquency and, more specifically, of the work of the so-called Chicago School. Moreover, his analysis of conditions in Croydon shows his ability not merely to criticize the work of others but also to apply ecological concepts and techniques in order to test the principal findings of Clifford Shaw and his fellow-workers. In the course of his historical researches he does full justice to the significant contributions to ecological Criminology made by such mid-nineteenth century writers as A. M. Guerry, R. W. Rawson, Joseph Fletcher, Henry Mayhew and others who, although still belonging to what might

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