What is Criminology?

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Criminology is a booming discipline, but at the same time it is also deeply divided. This rich and diverse collection of essays addresses the key questions at the heart of the debate.

What is criminology for? What is the impact of criminology? How should criminology be done? What are the key issues and debates in criminology today? What challenges does the discipline of criminology face? How has criminology as a discipline changed over the last few decades?

Addressing all of these questions in 34 essays by some of the world’s leading scholars, this volume reveals the deep fissures that threaten this vibrant discipline. There is disagreement over methodological issues – how best to conduct research. The subject matter and aims of the discipline are contested as traditional boundaries are tested and breached. At the same time there has been a narrowing of the terms of debate more generally as numerous new journals have been established for the various constituent subfields of the broader discipline.

All of these factors give the impression that criminology is fragmenting at the precise moment that, as a discipline, it is so energetic and successful. Examining the nature of criminology and the current state of the field, the contributors outline their sense of and ambition for future development, challenging the discipline to be more reflective. Above all, it provides a record of the shape of the field at the close of the first decade of the new millennium.

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