A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Criminology


Ronnie Lippens

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page


    This book is dedicated to Hans, Greta, Erin, Yoran, Lunar, and Arden Hofman, and to Peter, Mirèse, and Jonas Colle


    This book, in its own little way, aims to address the current dearth of philosophical introductions to the study of criminology. It is written for students who have just embarked upon the study of criminology or related fields and disciplines (e.g. law and socio-legal studies, sociology of deviance, criminal justice and justice studies) and who want to familiarize themselves with a number of basic philosophical ideas and insights in order to sharpen and develop their critical abilities. Students who have already progressed into their academic curriculum might also benefit from reading this book. It is my silently cherished hope that even the more advanced criminology student will be able to find, in this little book, reasons to review, adjust and perhaps modify their opinion or position on the issues of crime and crime control.

    An attempt was made to make this book as accessible as possible. The number of notes and references has been limited to a necessary minimum, while a ‘Further Reading’ signpost placed at the end of the book should offer the more inquisitive student an opportunity to expand their philosophical and criminological horizon. Although this is a slightly philosophy-oriented book, great care was taken to avoid as much jargon as possible. Philosophical concepts and ideas are introduced carefully and gradually.

    Students without any prior knowledge of philosophy, or indeed criminology for that matter, should be able to grasp the argument in this book without any trouble. However, readers are advised to read all chapters in sequence. The basic argument should then gradually fall in place. Allow me to phrase this differently: readers could do worse than read the more theoretical and slightly abstract chapters (i.e. Chapters 2 and 3 in particular) before moving on to the more concrete and applied ones (4, 5 and 6).

    Over the years I've had quite a few interesting discussions with fellow criminologists and legal scholars on the topic of undergraduate education in criminology and socio-legal studies. Colleagues at Keele University and elsewhere have always been very keen to discuss such issues with me. Many thanks go to all of them. I would very much like to mention Anette Ballinger, Lieve Gies and Tony Jefferson in particular here. I really enjoyed the many conversations we had on a whole range of teaching related topics. Last but certainly not least I wish to thank undergraduate criminology students at Keele University, especially Rachel Burns, Matthew Condick-Brough, Randhir Jutley and Kade Morton, for keeping me on my toes during tutorial seminars.

    Many thanks to Caroline Porter and Sarah-Jayne Boyd at Sage.

    RonnieLippens, Professor of Criminology, Keele University, June 2008
  • Further Reading

    As I wrote in the Introduction, this book is not an ‘Introduction to Criminology’. It merely provides the reader with a slightly philosophically inspired introduction to the study of criminology. I did, however, promise to place some signposts to further readings. There are a great number and variety of good introductory and advanced criminology textbooks available. Many explore themes and topics pertaining to the three basic criminological questions in quite some detail and depth, and most also include a succinct overview of theoretical models and perspectives which criminologists have used to get to grips with those very questions. Wayne Morrison's Theoretical Criminology: From Modernity to Post-Modernism, however, provides a breathtaking historical survey of such theories and perspectives. Advanced students should also pick up a copy of David Downes and Paul Rock's Understanding Deviance, a highly illuminating analysis of sociological theories, models and perspectives that have been inspiring and continue to inspire generations of criminologists and sociologists of deviance.

    In Chapter 5 we mentioned critical criminology. Students will find an historical overview and intricate analysis of theoretical perspectives as well as policy proposals emanating from this body of thought and literature in René van Swaaningen's Critical Criminology: Visions from Europe. George Pavlich's Critique and Radical Discourses on Crime provides a critical analysis from one of the foremost Nietzsche-inspired scholars in the field of criminology and socio-legal studies.

    The little book you are holding in your hands has, one could argue, a slight philosophical bent to it. There have not been that many books recently in which issues of crime and crime control are approached philosophically, but Bruce Arrigo and Christopher Williams have edited a collection that attempts to do just that: Philosophy, Crime, and Criminology. On the connections between existentialist philosophy and criminological issues and problems, readers should be able to find more in mine and Don Crewe's collection on Existentialist Criminology.

    One idea in this book has taken centre stage, i.e. the idea that at the heart of human existence one finds indeterminacy. Criminologists have of late made serious efforts to think through and apply the issue of existential indeterminacy to issues and problems of crime, crime control and criminal justice. However, many have done so using insights from complexity theory (or ‘chaos theory’) rather than existentialism. Advanced students may want to pick up a copy of Dragan Milovanovic's Chaos, Criminology, and Social Justice, and his and Stuart Henry's Constitutive Criminology.


    Arrigo, B. and Williams, C., (eds) (2006) Philosophy, Crime, and Criminology. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
    Arrigo, B. and Takahashi, Y. (2006) ‘Recommunalization of the Disenfranchised: A Theoretical and Critical Criminological Inquiry’, Theoretical Criminology10 (3): 307–336. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362480606065909
    Barak, G. (2005) ‘A Reciprocal Approach to Peacemaking Criminology: Between Adversarialism and Mutualism’, Theoretical Criminology9 (2): 131–152. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362480605051640
    Bataille, G. (1988 and 1992) The Accursed Share (3 vols). New York: Zone Books.
    Bauman, Z. (1989) Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    Bauman, Z. (1993) Postmodern Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Beccaria, C. (1995) [1764] ‘On Crimes and Punishments' and Other Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511802485
    Bentham, J. (1995) [1787] ‘Panopticon, or the Inspection-House’ in M.Bosovic (ed.) The Panopticon Writings. London: Verso, pp. 29–95.
    Braithwaite, J. (1989) Crime, Shame and Reintegration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511804618
    Braithwaite, J. (2002) Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Braithwaite, J. and Braithwaite, V. (2006) ‘Democratic Sentiment and Cyclical Markets in Vice’, British Journal of Criminology, 46 (6): 1110–1127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azl071
    Christie, N. (1977) ‘Conflicts as Property’, British Journal of Criminology, 17 (1): 1–19.
    Clarke, R. (1980) ‘Situational Crime Prevention: Theory and Practice’, British Journal of Criminology20 (2): 136–147.
    Cohen, S. (1988) Against Criminology. New Brunswick: Transaction Books.
    Crewe, D. and Lippens, R., (eds) (2009) Existentialist Criminology. London: Routledge-Glasshouse.
    de Haan, W. (1990) The Politics of Redress: Crime, Punishment, and Penal Abolition. London: Unwin Hyman.
    Deleuze, G. (1995) Negotiations. New York: Columbia University Press.
    Downes, D. and Rock, P. (2007) Understanding Deviance (
    5th edition
    ). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Farrall, S. (2005) ‘On the Existential Aspects of Desistance from Crime’, Symbolic Interaction28 (3): 367–86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/si.2005.28.3.367
    Feeley, M. and Simon, J. (1992) ‘The New Penology’, Criminology, 30 (4): 452–474. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1992.tb01112.x
    Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin.
    Fromm, E. (1941) Escape from Freedom. New York: Holt, Rineheart and Winston.
    Hall, S., Critcher, C, Jefferson, T., Clarke, J. and Roberts, B. (1978) Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order. London: Macmillan.
    Hay, D., Linebaugh, P., Rule, J., Thompson, E.P., Winslow, C. (1975) Albion's Fatal Tree. Crime and Society in Eighteenth Century England. New York: Pantheon.
    Hazelrigg, L. (1986) ‘Is There a Choice between “Constructivism” and “Objectivism”?’, Social Problems, 33: 201–213. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/800671
    Hesse, H. (1991) [1922] Siddhartha. London: Picador.
    Hobbes, T. (1950) [1651] Leviathan. London: J.M. Dent.
    HsunTzu (1964) [255 BC] ‘The Regulations of a King’, in Basic Writings of Mo Tzu, Hsun Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu, transl. B.Watson. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. B33-B55.
    Hulsman, L. (1986) ‘Critical Criminology and the Concept of Crime’, Contemporary Crises, 10 (1): 63–80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00728496
    Lacey, N. (2007) ‘Space, Time and Function: Intersecting Principles of Responsibility Across the Terrain of Criminal Justice’Criminal Law and Philosophy, 1 (3): 233–250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11572-006-9025-7
    Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1999) Philosophy in the Flesh. New York: Basic Books.
    Latour, B. (1993) We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    Latour, B. (1990) ‘Drawing Things Together’ in M.Lynch and S.Woolgar (eds) Representation in Scientific Practice. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 19–68.
    Lemert, E. (1951) Social Pathology: Systematic Approaches to the Study of Sociopathic Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Lippens, R. (2006) ‘Crime, Criminology, and Epistemology: Tribal Considerations’, in B.Arrigo, and C.Williams (eds) Philosophy, Crime, and Criminology. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, pp. 103–133.
    Lippens, R. (2008) ‘Whither Critical Criminology? A Contemplation on Existential Hybridization’, Critical Criminology16 (2): 145–156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10612-008-9049-5
    Machiavelli, N. (1997) [1531] Discourses on Livy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Maffesoli, M. (1996) The Time of the Tribes. London: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446222133
    Matza, D. (1969) Becoming Deviant. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
    McEvoy, K. (2003) ‘Beyond the Metaphor: Political Violence, Human Rights, and “New” Peacemaking Criminology’, Theoretical Criminology7 (3): 319–346. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13624806030073004
    McKay, G., (ed.) (1994) DIY Culture. London: Verso.
    Mead, G.H. (1934) Mind, Self and Society. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
    Milovanovic, D., (ed.) (1997) Chaos, Criminology, and Social Justice. Westport: Praeger.
    Milovanovic, D. and Henry, S. (1996) Constitutive Criminology. London: Sage.
    More, T. (1965) [1516] Utopia. London: Penguin.
    Morrison, W. (1995) Theoretical Criminology: From Modernity to Post-Modernism. London: Cavendish.
    Nagel, T. (1979) Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Nietzsche, F. (1936) [1883–5] Thus Spake Zarathustra. London: Dent & Sons.
    Nietzsche, F. (1992) [1908] Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. London: Penguin.
    Nietzsche, F. (1990) [1889 and 1895] Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ. London: Penguin.
    Pascal, B. (1995) [1670] Pensées. London: Penguin.
    Pavlich, G. (2000) Critique and Radical Discourses on Crime. Aldershot: Ashgate.
    Pavlich, G. (2001) ‘Nietzsche, Critique and the Promise of Not Being Thus…’International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 13: 357–375. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1011274629160
    Pepinsky, H. (1991) The Geometry of Violence and Democracy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Pepinsky, H. and Quinney, R. (1991) Criminology as Peacemaking. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Plato (1969) [C4 BC] ‘Phaedo’ in The Last Days of Socrates. London: Penguin, pp. 97–183.
    Salomé, L. (2001) [1894] Nietzsche. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
    Sartre, J.-P. (2003) [1943] Being and Nothingness. London: Routledge.
    Sartre, J.-P. [1946] Existentialism is a Humanism. Lecture. i.e. ‘given at The cub Maintenant, Paris October 29, 1945.
    Sartre, J.-P. (1963) [1952] Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr. New York: George Braziller.
    Schinkel, W. (2009) ‘Biaphobia, State Violence, and the Definition of Vidence,’ in Crewe, D. and Tippens, R. (eds) Existential Criminology. London: Roultedge.
    Strathern, M. (1991) Partial Connections. Lanham: Rowan and Littlefield.
    Sykes, G. and Matza, D. (1957) ‘Techniques of Neutralization: A Theory of Delinquency’, American Sociological Review, 22: 664–670. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2089195
    Thompson, E.P. (1975) Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act. London: Allen Lane.
    Tittle, C. (2004) ‘Refining Control Balance Theory’, Theoretical Criminology, 8 (4): 395–428. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362480604046657
    van Swaaningen, R. (1997) Critical Criminology: Visions from Europe. London: Sage.
    Wittgenstein, L. (1960) The Blue and Brown Books. New York: Harper & Row.
    Woolgar, S. and Pawluch, D. (1985) ‘Ontological Gerrymandering: The Anatomy of Social Problems Explanations’, Social Problems32: 214–227. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/800680
    Young, J. (1999) The Exclusive Society. London: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446222065

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website