Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality

Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality

Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality

Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality

Synopsis

Our understanding of criminal behaviour and its causes has been too long damaged by the failure to integrate fully the emotional, psychological, social and cultural influences on the way people behave.

This book aims to integrate psychological and criminological perspectives in order to better understand the nature of criminal behaviour. In particular it aims to explore the range of psychological approaches that seek to understand the significance of the emotions that surround criminal behaviour, allowing for an exploration of individual differences and social and cultural issues which help to bridge the gaps between disciplinary approaches.

The book puts forward a model for understanding behaviour through a better grasp of the link between emotions, morality and culture and argues that crime can often be viewed as emerging from disordered social relationships.

Excerpt

This book presents an argument for the invigoration of criminological thought by putting the case for the proper integration of psychological theorising within mainstream criminological theory. Our understanding of criminal behaviour and its causes has been too long damaged by the failure to integrate fully the emotional, psychological, social and cultural influences on people’s behaviour. This book therefore proposes a psychosocial model of the understanding of criminal behaviour.

As it developed during the latter half of the twentieth century, criminology became a discipline that was dominated by sociological thinking that has emphasised socially structured inequalities as the chief causes of crime. The rejection of the psychological dimension was part of this political viewpoint. Meanwhile, much academic psychology did little to construct dialogue. Psychology’s focus on the individual often appeared to consist of a circular exercise of blaming criminals for their own criminal propensities. Few psychologists engaged with criminological theory, and the discipline of psychology was dominated by methodological concern to mimic the success of the natural sciences and study people by experimental methods. Questions about the messy lives of those who end up on the wrong side of the law, and how they got there, do not lend themselves well to the methods of experiment and the laboratory.

This disciplinary schism is no longer tenable. Criminology without the tools to grasp the significance of the internal and emotional worlds of individuals has reached a dead end. In contemporary social conditions, understanding the way that individuals construct . . .

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