Most people engage in crime at some point in their lives, but why does almost everybody stop soon after? And, why do a small number of offenders persist in crime? These two questions constitute the core of the field often known as life-course criminology. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to life-course criminology. It covers the dominant theories and methodologies in the field and equips you with all you need to succeed in your studies on the subject. The book: • Discusses the methodologies of life-course and longitudinal research • Explains and critiques the major theories of life-course criminology • Considers the issues of risk, prediction, onset, persistence and desistance of criminal activity • Draws on research from studies in Europe, the UK, US and Australia, including the Stockholm Life-Course Project Written by two leading figures in the field, this is an authoritative text that will guide you through your studies in life-course criminology, criminal career research, and developmental criminology.
Chapter 2: Criminological Theories and Criminal Careers
Criminological Theories and Criminal Careers
In this chapter, we begin our attempt at unpacking the field of crime and the life course in greater detail. As was suggested in the previous chapter, life-course criminology rose to fame and controversy in questions surrounding the heart of the criminological enterprise: why do people engage in rule-breaking behavior? How can we explain the empirical finding that most do so only a few times and then quit, while a few continue much longer? Proponents of the criminal career approach gave one answer, while those of the propensity approach gave another, with subsequent policy implications to follow. Life-course criminology insists that if we want to find answers to these questions, we must follow individuals through ...