This book is a product of a growing unease about the criminological enterprise. And it is not solely my unease, because I have heard many colleagues express similar opinions in discussions at conferences and meetings. Nor is this feeling a new one; it began for me in the early 1980s. The essence of the problem seems to be a perception that we have been doing the same thing for a long time and have little to show for it. At the very least, there is a foreboding that we have reached a point of diminishing returns (Charles Wellford , for instance, talks about a state of “theoretical paralysis.”). I know that many criminologists will disagree with these statements and reply that we have progressed greatly. While that may be true—and, clearly, that is a matter of perspective—I think it is only true over the longer time span of this century. The proper question is whether we are progressing much at this point. More than disagreeing with the commentary (or pieces of it) in this book, some will be appalled with the thrust of the argument. Those people, I expect, will be those whose careers (or training) have been vested in current empirical methodology and positivistic theory construction. In part, that is exactly what I wish to challenge. Others will object to the “discursive” form of theorizing (Gibbons, 1994) in the latter chapters. Because I intend to propose a metatheory, rather than a unit theory, there are no specific empirical hypotheses to be made. I will make an effort, however, to posit relationships with existing unit theories and ferret out some possible empirical points of examination. In the end, though, the style will remain discursive.