Understanding Criminology: Current Theoretical Debates

Understanding Criminology: Current Theoretical Debates

Understanding Criminology: Current Theoretical Debates

Understanding Criminology: Current Theoretical Debates


"Provides a very clear, easily readable introduction to the wide range of criminological theories."Anne Rees, University of Portsmouth, UK
  • What does contemporary criminological theory look like?
  • What impact, if any, does it have on policy?
The new edition of this bestselling text updates a key title in the Crime and Justice series, whilst maintaining it's trademark theory-intensive approach to Criminology. In this third edition, the author pays particular attention to the development of the policy agenda under New Labour.

The book examines the development of criminological theory over the past twenty five years, with detailed analysis of the relationship between criminological theorizing, criminal justice, social justice, and politics. It also provides:

  • A detailed examination of the role of the media in relation to the fear of crime
  • Expanded discussion of classical criminology, adding discussion of cultural criminology
  • Special reference to young people and victims of crime
  • A critical consideration of current policies concerned with rebalancing the criminal justice system
  • Increased emphasis on issues related to risk and terrorism
  • A comprehensive update of policy and research throughout
Understanding Criminology is key reading for students who are new to the discipline, but also contains the rigourous analysis required by all levels of undergraduate student.


It is now 10 years since I first wrote Understanding Criminology. During that time the discipline of criminology has grown apace as an area of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. When the idea for this book was first mooted, referees for the proposal expressed some concern that a book of this kind would result in the 'dumbing down' of the discipline. It was, therefore, with some interest that I read some of the reviews for the proposal for a third edition of this book. Several of those reviews expressed a concern that it was too advanced for use at first-year level. I leave the reader to conclude what might be taken from this shift in opinion, but I hope that, at whatever level this is read, it will constitute an interesting and valuable challenge for the reader. Moreover, I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers whose opinions were sought on the possibilities of a third edition. Their considered views have not always been followed but they were very much appreciated. In addition I would like to thank Laura Dent and Catriona Watson at McGraw-Hill/Open University Press for their help and support and, finally, Mike Maguire whose role and input as series editor over the last 10 years has been invaluable.

Sandra Walklate

Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology

School of Sociology and Social Policy

University of Liverpool . . .

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