International Law

   Calvary University

 Faculty of Sociology/Law

Theories of Crime
    and Punishment

Book Cover

Edition 1

Claire Valier
232 pages

Brief Description

This exciting new book in the Longman Criminology Series provides a critical introduction to the principal theories of crime and punishment from the late eighteenth century to the present day. The approach addresses the social and political context from which each theory emerged, as well as its place within the intellectual development of the discipline. Readers are offered guidance on a close reading of the original texts in the area, many of which are by now seen as classics. Both academic and popular ideas and images of crime and punishment are discussed.


  • Promotes critical thought by questioning the role of criminology, as well as the key assumptions of concepts in criminology
  • Theories come alive through an elaboration of the place of famous criminals like Al Capone, O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst and Myra Hindley within the criminological imagination
  • Interdisciplinary connections are made with relevant scholarship in social theory, cultural theory and jurisprudence
  • Multi-levelled textbook, enabling readers at a range of different ability levels to engage with and critically examine theory.



1. From Enlightenment jurisprudence to the born criminal
Reasoned justice, the rule of law and the Enlightenment
Bentham, utilitarian rule and punishment
Enlightenment, domination and control
Criminal anthropology, difference and Italian Unification
The eugenics movement, probabilities and the power of the norm
The power of reason and positivist epistemologies

2. Durkheim, the Dreyfus affair and the passion of punishment
Durkheim, Third Republic France and social solidarity
From mechanical to organic solidarity
The passion of punishment
Shifts in Durkheim's work
The Dreyfus affair
The responsibility of the intellectual and the cult of the individual
Universal human rights and organic solidarity
Echoes of Durkheim: social solidarity and group values

3. The Progressive Movement and crime in Chicago
The Chicago school of sociology
Urban ecology, natural areas and the struggle for space
Intellectual vagabondage and the ethnographic eye
The slum and the concept of social disorganization
The gang and the concept of differential association
The marginal man and the concept of culture conflict
Thrill killers and murder in the Roaring Twenties
Democracy and assimilation into multiculturalism
The Chicago Area Project
From democratic corporatism to normative conformism

4. Al Capone, strain theory and the American Dream
Functionalist sociology, consensus and equilibrium
Anomie, aspirations and moral deregulation
Adaptations to the disjunction of means and ends
The pursuit of wealth, anomie and crime
Imagining Al Capone
Strain theory, functionalism and crime
Post-war reconstruction and the American way of life

5. Social reaction, the deviant other, and the stigmatised self
A neo-Chicagoan appreciative stance
Theorising tagging, secondary deviance and stigma
Labelling others as outsiders
Marihuana, policing and the fantasy crime wave
Whose side are we on?: the political commitments of partisan sociology
From stigmatisation to criminalisation

6. The State, the ruling class, and crime
The New Left and deviance-marginality
Normal alienation, war, and the violence of modern society
The National Deviancy Conference
Radical criminology and the romanticisation of crime
Left intellectuals, crime and policy research
Ideology, hegemony and law and order
The enemy within: law, order and authoritarian rule
Critical theories of crime, punishment and power

7. Women's oppression, crime and society
Liberal feminism, discrimination and reform
Correcting mainstream theories: liberal feminist criminology
Radical feminism and the analysis of patriarchy
'She did it all for love': radical feminism and the criminal woman
Radical feminism and violence against women
Distinguishing liberal feminism and radical feminism
Men as men: the sociology of masculinities and men's crime
Feminist criminologies and questions of gender and crime today

8. Foucault, penality and social regulation
Foucault's genealogical method
The concept of disciplinary power
Criminology and the invention of homo criminalis
The inspecting gaze and the panoptical society
The surveillance society
Post-disciplinary society and governmental rule
The rise of the mass media and the power of the image
The shape of the future and millennium blues

9. Crime and punishment in late modernity
Theorising the contours of late modernity
From Chicago to LA: Crime and the late modern city
Globalisation, crime and penality
Punishment, explosive sociality and the politics of fear
Postmodern theory, gender, sexuality and crime
Towards cosmopolitan theories of crime and punishment

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