Criminology: Explaining Crime and Its Context, Seventh Edition, provides an introduction to crime and its underlying theories. It also seeks to present evidence and stimulate critical thought on a range of criminological perspectives.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I discusses the foundations for the study of criminology, exploring crime, its context, and its causes. It highlights three important issues: the relativity of crime, the prevalence of the scientific method in the field of criminology, and the influence of ideology on explanations of crime and on crime policy. Part II deals with criminological theory, covering deterrence and rational choice theories, biogenic and psychogenic theories, social structure theories, social process theories, social reaction theories, and developments in criminological theory. Part III explains the different forms of criminal activity, focusing on three types of crime: violent, economic, and victimless. Violent and economic crimes include "street crimes,” such as robbery, burglary, and rape, and widespread and harmful "white collar” crime. Offenses that can be classified as "victimless” are those where the parties engage in the criminal behavior voluntarily, such as prostitution and drug use.
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This highly acclaimed criminology text presents an up-to-date review of rational choice theories, including deterrence, shaming and routine activities. It also incorporates current examples of deterrence research regarding domestic violence, drunk driving and capital punishment, and features thought-provoking discussion of the relativity of crime. The authors explore the crime problem, its context, and causes of crime.
The organization of the text reflects the fact that the etiology of crime must be at the heart of criminology. It examines contemporary efforts to redefine crime by focusing on family violence, hate crimes, white-collar misconduct with violent consequences, and other forms of human behavior often neglected by criminologists.
Extensive discussion of evolving laws are included, and while the prevalence of the scientific method in the field of criminology is highlighted, the impact of ideology on explanations of crime is the cornerstone of the book.
Criminologists can benefit from questioning the underlying assumptions upon which they rest their work. Philosophy has the ability to clarify our thoughts, inform us of why we think about things the way we do, solve contradictions in our thinking we never knew existed, and even dissolve some dichotomies we thought were cast in stone. One of those dichotomies is free will vs. determinism. Criminology must reckon with both free will and agency, as posited by some theories, and determinism, as posited by others—including the ever more influential fields of genetics and biosocial criminology. Criminological Theory: Assessing Philosophical Assumptions examines philosophical concepts such as these in the context of important criminological theories or issues that are foundational but not generally considered in the literature on this topic. The uniqueness of this treatment of criminological theory is that rather than reporting what this person or that has said about a particular theory, Walsh exposes the philosophical assumptions underlying the theory. Students and scholars learn to clarify their own biases and better analyze the implications of a broad range of theories of crime and justice.
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