Criminology: A Sociological Introduction

Criminology: A Sociological Introduction

Criminology: A Sociological Introduction

Criminology: A Sociological Introduction

Synopsis

This sociological introduction provides a much-needed textbook for an increasingly popular area of study. Written by a team of authors with a broad range of teaching and individual expertise, it covers almost every module offered in UK criminological courses and will be valuable to students of criminology worldwide. It covers: * key traditions in criminology, their critical assessment and more recent developments * new ways of thinking about crime and control, including crime and emotions, drugs and alcohol, from a public health perspective * different dimensions of the problem of crime and misconduct, including crime and sexuality, crimes against the environment, crime and human rights and organizational deviance * key debates in criminological theory * the criminal justice system * new areas such as the globalization of crime, and crime in cyberspace. Specially designed to be user-friendly, each chapter contains boxed material on current controversies, key thinkers and examples of crime and criminal justice around the world with statistical tables, maps, summaries, critical thinking questions, annotated references and a glossary of key terms, as well as further reading sections and additional resource information as weblinks.

Excerpt

Criminology has many meanings but at its widest and most commonly accepted it is taken to be the scientific understanding of crime and criminals. But such a definition will really not get us very far. For hidden within the term there come many different topics, different approaches to 'science' and different disciplines.

Much criminology stays firmly within the existing confines of the criminal law. Criminology explores the bases and implications of criminal laws - how they emerge, how they work, how they get violated and what happens to violators. But we know that laws vary from time to time and from place to place. Laws are relative, and always historically shaped. Even something as seemingly universally condemned as killing others has its moments when it is acceptable (e.g. in war). Many criminologists believe therefore that they should not be confined by the bounds of law - this would make criminology a very traditional, orthodox and even conservative discipline. Rather, criminologists should also be able and willing to take on wider matters. As you will see, although our main focus in this book is indeed the existing laws, we also include an array of areas that are not quite so clearly defined by the current law: crimes against human rights, environmental crimes, and hate crimes. These are often not crimes in a strict sense of the word. But they are included here.

Some criminologists make very orthodox claims to be scientists: observing, testing, measuring and trying to produce law like statements around crime. We will meet some of this work in Chapter 3, where we introduce the ideas of positivism and of Lombroso and his followers. However, other criminologists do not claim to be scientific in this way. For instance, in 1956, Vold published a text called Theoretical Criminology. In this text, he was simply considering laying out major ways of thinking and theorizing about crime- and not necessarily with their testing (but he did adopt a particular perspective - conflict theory - which we shall return to in Chapter 5). Likewise, when Ian Taylor, Paul Walton and Jock Young published The New Criminology in 1975 (also discussed in Chapter 5), their aim was not to make a scientific study but rather to highlight a stance which was critical. So, as we shall see, there are a range of different versions of knowledge (or epistemologies) that can be adopted in the study of crime . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.