The Sociology of Shoplifting: Boosters and Snitches Today

The Sociology of Shoplifting: Boosters and Snitches Today

The Sociology of Shoplifting: Boosters and Snitches Today

The Sociology of Shoplifting: Boosters and Snitches Today


Klemke provides an up-to-date review and analysis of the research and theoretical work on shoplifting. The analysis is structured by the three questions which dominate the sociology of deviance literature: (1) Who shoplifts and how do they do it? (the descriptive question); (2) why do they shoplift? (the etiological question); and (3) how do store personnel and the legal system deal with shoplifters? (the prevention/deterrence/labeling question). The author identifies the areas where consensus and confidence already exist in the research on shoplifting, then specifies the gaps in our knowledge, as well as areas of controversy and debate that continue to perplex students of the phenomenon.


Klemke's analysis of shoplifting is a long overdue contribution to the literature on crime and deviance. It has been almost thirty years since Cameron published her monograph on shoplifting. Since then few research efforts have successfully examined this phenomenon in any great detail. The research questions that Klemke answers in The Sociology of Shoplifting: Boosters and Snitches Today, will be of special interest to researchers and theorists in the sociology of deviance as well as to the retail community and to security administrators.

As Klemke notes throughout his work, not a great deal of attention has been paid by the research community to the problems of shoplifting. This is indeed unfortunate, given the fact that shoplifting is a significant part of official delinquency and is a crime that represents a real "epidemic" increase during the last two decades. Also, this property crime results in tremendous financial losses for the retail community as Klemke describes throughout the book with up-to-date figures and analysis.

In addition to presenting a concise synthesis of the diverse literature on shoplifting, Klemke provides a clear contemporary assessment of the consensus, controversy, and future direction of research into this phenomenon. Klemke presents his qualitative analysis of shoplifting in chapter two, followed by a quantitative analysis in chapter three. Rich ethnographic and historical accounts of this phenomenon precede the empirical and more traditional descriptions that follow. Chapter four provides an exhaustive analysis of the various typologies of shoplifting and shoplifters.

Chapter five explores the various behavioral theories used to explain shoplifting. Chapter six examines societal response to the problem of . . .

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