A captivating book that advances new developments in theoretical criminology, Crime as Structured Action explores the relation between structure and action and among gender, race, and class, both of which are at the forefront of contemporary debates in the social sciences. Author James W. Messerschmidt skillfully demonstrates that to understand crime we must appreciate how crime operates through a complex series of gender, race, and class practices. Crime must be examined by focusing on people in specific social settings, what they do to construct social relations and social structures, and how these social structures constrain and channel behavior in specific ways. The twin focal points of Messerschmidt's approach are the inseparability of structure and action and the situational salience of constructing gender, race, class, and those acts we label "crime."



In the 1924 edition of Criminology, Edwin Sutherland (1924, pp. 239–249) devoted 10 pages to the crime of lynching (the unlawful assault, killing, or both of an accused person by mob action). Sutherland (p. 239) was concerned especially with the fact that lynching, although occasionally employed during slavery, became a systematic event in the South between 1865 and 1900. Sutherland (pp. 242–243) offered two insightful and significant reasons for instantaneous white mob violence. The first, and to Sutherland (p. 242) the “underlying” reason, is “race prejudice or a feeling of white superiority.” In particular, when African Americans were “emancipated” from their subordinate slave position, “great antagonism” by whites took the form of lynching (p. 242). Yet according to Sutherland (p. 243), lynching occurred ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles