An Introduction to Life-Course Criminology


Christoffer Carlsson & Jerzy Sarnecki

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
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  • Copyright

    Praise for the book

    ‘This is an excellent introduction to a topic of central importance for criminologists. It has the merit of being very clearly written, and the authors cover a wide range of materials – theories and data; European and American research; quantitative and qualitative studies. Throughout, they provide helpful examples from their work on the Stockholm Life Course Project. Highly recommended.’

    Sir Anthony Bottoms, Emeritus Wolfson Professor of Criminology, University of Cambridge

    ‘Carlsson and Sarnecki’s An Introduction to Life-Course Criminology captures the excitement of the life course perspective within criminology, a lens and set of preoccupations that have become increasingly central to the field. This lively and engaging volume will not only give other scholars and students alike a full appreciation of key concepts and historical roots, but open a window on what is at stake theoretically, and how recent research informs contemporary debates. Illustrations from the authors’ own important longitudinal study are especially useful, as they make tangible sometimes slippery notions (e.g., agency) and complicated pathways (the desistance process). This would be an ideal text for a class on life course criminology and an excellent supplement for more general courses, and will be an outstanding resource for researchers with interests in this area.’

    Peggy Giordano, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Bowling Green State University

    ‘Written by an emerging scholar in Carlsson and an internationally acclaimed criminologist in Sarnecki, the book is historically rich, theoretically provoking, methodologically sound, and policy relevant. Weaving in their own work with the Stockholm Life Course Project, this book casts a bright light into the futures of life course criminology and deserves to be read.’

    Alex R. Piquero PhD, Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology, University of Texas at Dallas

    ‘The field of life-course criminology has clearly come of age. Carlsson and Sarnecki’s important new text is a wise and generative gift for the next generation of life course scholars. The authors clarify and synthesize decades of research on crime and the life course across multiple disciplines, and lay out the challenges still to come. It is a perfect introduction to a fascinating body of work.’

    Shadd Maruna Dean, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice

    List of figures and tables

    About the authors

    Christoffer Carlsson (b. 1986) has a PhD in Criminology from The Department of Criminology at Stockholm University. His main field of work is life-course criminology, where he has published extensively. In 2012, he received the European Society of Criminology’s Young Criminologist Award for his work on turning points and desistance processes.

    Jerzy Sarnecki (b. 1947) came to Sweden from Warsaw, Poland as a refugee in 1969. He has a PhD in Sociology from Stockholm University (1978) and is Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University and University of Gävle. He has done extensive research on youth crime, criminal networks, and criminal policy, and is the author of several textbooks in criminology. Having worked on The Stockholm Life-Course Project since the late 1970s, Sarnecki has been the project director for the 2nd and 3rd waves of the study. He is also co-chair of the jury for the prestigious Stockholm Prize in Criminology.


    The authors wish to thank the Swedish National Bank’s Jubilee Fund, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, the Swedish National Board of Institutional Care, and the Department of Criminology at Stockholm University, for financing of The Stockholm Life-Course Project, which forms much of the basis of this book. We are also very grateful for the great encouragement and assistance we have received from Natalie Aguilera, Amy Jarrold, Sarah Cooke and George Knowles at SAGE Publications during our work.

    We also want to pay our respect to the first generation of scholars who launched and worked on The Stockholm Life-Course Project, and without whose enormous efforts this work would not have been possible. These include Gösta Carlsson, Birgitta Olofsson, Gustav Jonson, Anna-Lisa Kälvesten, Sven Ahnsjö, Kerstin Elmhorn, Kristine Humble, and Gitte Settergren Carlsson.

    Finally, to our colleagues at the Department of Criminology at Stockholm University, and to our respective friends and families: thank you.

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