This book focuses on the history and development of criminological thought from the pre-Enlightenment period to the present and offers a detailed and chronological overview of competing theoretical perspectives in criminology in their social and political context.

This book covers:

  • A discussion of how major theorists came to espouse their ideas and how the social context of the time influenced the development criminological thought;
  • An exploration of the scientific method and the way in which theories are tested;
  • Details of the origins of each theory as well as their recent developments in scholarship and research;
  • Comparative and international research in theory;
  • The empirical support for theory and the relationship between research and policy;
  • Biosocial and developmental criminology, including the biosocial underpinnings of criminal behavior and the influence of neuroscience and brain psychology;
  • Theoretical applications for explaining different crime types, such as genocide, white-collar crime, and environmental crime;
  • A summary of the current state of criminological knowledge and a vision for the future of criminology.

The book includes lists of further reading and chapter summaries, and is supported by timelines of key works and events. This book is essential reading for courses on criminological theory, criminal behaviour, criminal psychology and biosocial criminology.

chapter |2 pages


chapter 2|12 pages

Pre-Enlightenment theories

chapter 3|15 pages

Lombroso and early biological theories

chapter 5|12 pages

Anomie and strain theories

chapter 7|16 pages

Labeling and critical criminology

chapter 8|12 pages

Social and self-control theories

chapter 9|15 pages

Deterrence and rational choice theories

chapter 10|14 pages

Developmental criminology

chapter 11|14 pages

Biosocial criminology

chapter 12|17 pages

Criminology in international perspective

chapter 13|10 pages

Theory and various crime types

chapter 14|15 pages

Crime and victimization

chapter 15|10 pages

The future of criminological theory