Criminology: The Key Concepts

Criminology: The Key Concepts

Criminology: The Key Concepts

Criminology: The Key Concepts


Criminology: The Key Conceptsis an authoritative and comprehensive study guide and reference resource that will take you through all the concepts, approaches, issues and institutions central to the study of crime in contemporary society.

Topics covered in this easy to use A-Z guide include:

  • policing, sentencing and the justice system
  • types of crime, including corporate crime, cybercrime, sex and hate crimes
  • feminist, marxist and cultural approaches to criminology
  • terrorism, state crime, war crimes and human rights
  • social issues such as anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and pornography
  • criminal psychology and deviance

Fully cross-referenced, with extensive suggestions for further reading and in-depth study of the topics discussed, this is an essential reference guide for students of Criminology at all levels.


During a period of extensive change and expansion in British higher education the growth of university-level programmes in criminology has been a notable feature. From London to Lothian, Salford to Swansea and Birmingham to Belfast there is hardly a higher education institution that does not now offer a degree programme in criminology and criminal justice. For those interested in committing themselves to formal study in this area there exists a plethora of options. This picture was very different less than one generation ago. In the very recent past undergraduate degrees in criminology were confined to one or two universities, alongside a small handful of institutions offering crime-focused postgraduate degrees. The social scientific study of crime was dispersed across disciplines such as sociology, social policy, social work, psychology, and law. Students would be offered occasional modules on ‘the sociology of crime’, ‘criminal justice policy’, or ‘social work with offenders’ as part of degree programmes whose primary mission was to impart a wideranging, discipline-based education. Now, ‘crime’ has become the sole focus of dedicated degree programmes – rather than studying it in passing as part of some discipline or other, students can dedicate themselves to its study through the lenses of different disciplinary perspectives. The people who teach criminology nowadays are themselves representative of this variety – they come to the subject matter of ‘crime’ from disciplinary backgrounds that most commonly include sociology (as with the authors of this book), social policy, psychology, history, anthropology, economics, law and political science. Each has a different ‘light’ to shine upon crime and its associated problems, a distinctive way of looking, explaining and understanding. This is all to the good, as it exposes students to a wide variety of ways in which crime-related issues can be conceptualised, contextualised and analysed. For example, a psychologist will likely explain a particular kind of crime in a distinctive way, focusing upon the cognitive and/or developmental processes that might help . . .

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