Readings in Comparative Criminology

Readings in Comparative Criminology

Readings in Comparative Criminology

Readings in Comparative Criminology

Excerpt

Crime has existed nearly universally throughout all of recorded history. No major society has been exempt from the problem and no major culture has been able to eliminate criminality. The search for explanations of its universality and tenacity makes crime an ideal candidate for comparative analysis. The pervasiveness of this social problem suggests that crime is inextricably connected with the society in which it exists and that no aspect of society can be ignored in probing the phenomenon of crime. In the words of a distinguished criminologist, "crime is not merely an individual act; it is also a reflection of rapidly changing contextual conditions. Each crime has therefore to be seen in the setting of its own time."

For crime to be understood in terms of the social forces that shape it, it must be studied comparatively. Only comparative criminology can explain the impact of different political, social, and economic conditions on the levels and forms of criminality. Research in one society and one time period cannot hope to explain all aspects of crime, which is itself a barometer of the changing social order.

Comparative criminology is the historical and cross-cultural study of crime and criminal justice. It analyzes the dynamics of criminality and the social response to criminality in different regions and cultures of one country and across countries and historical periods. Comparative criminology studies crime as a social phenomenon determined by the legal norms and customs of each society. It allows research at numerous analytical levels ranging from the individual offense and offender to overall crime trends and criminal justice systems. As comparative criminology elucidates the relationships between crime and society, it will be answering some of the larger questions about the nature of social order.

Comparative criminology can address the issues of the relationship . . .

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