1st Edition

The Development of Criminological Thought
Context, Theory and Policy

ISBN 9781138190511
Published May 7, 2018 by Routledge
234 Pages 15 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $70.95

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


1. Science, Theory, and Empirical Investigation

2. Pre-Enlightenment Theories

3. Lombroso and Early Biological Theories

4. The City and Social Disorganization Theories

5. Anomie and Strain Theories

6. Differential Association and Social Learning Theories

7. Labeling and Critical Criminology

8. Social and Self-Control Theories

9. Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories

10. Developmental Criminology

11. Biosocial Criminology

12. Criminology in International Perspective

13. Theory and Various Crime Types

14. Crime and Victimization

15. The Future of Criminological Theory

Appendix I. Important Criminological Works 1700 – Today

Appendix II. Important World Events 1700 – Today



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Chad Posick is Assistant Professor at the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Georgia Southern University, USA.

Featured Author Profiles


"Professor Chad Posick’s The Development of Criminological Thought is a thoughtful, interesting, and ebullient examination of theories of crime from antiquity to the present. With careful attention to the social and historical events that contextualize and frame criminological ideas and keen insights into the disciplinary and ideological skirmishes within academic criminology, Posick’s book is valuable not only as a primer on theory but also on the craft of criminology. After reading the book, it is clear why Posick is one of the leading young criminologists in the United States."

- Matt DeLisi, Professor in the Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, USA, and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Criminal Justice

"Situating the subject matter historically, culturally, and academically, Chad Posick offers a comprehensive and up-to-date view of criminological theorizing, skillfully showing how various theoretical explanations of crime would hold across time and space. The author has an easiness to synthetize and clearly present the main theories of delinquency, crime, and criminal victimization, as well as the most recent theoretical developments, including those that focus on contemporary transnational and international crime issues. Carefully written, interesting, accessible, and highly informative, this remarkable book is a pleasure to read."

– Viviana Andreescu, Associate Professor of Justice Administration, University of Louisville, USA