This lively and accessible text provides an introduction to the history of crime and crime control. It explains the historical background that is essential for an understanding of contemporary criminal justice and examines the historical context for contemporary criminological debates. For each topic, the book provides an overview of current research, comment on current arguments, and links to wider debates.

Changing Perceptions of Criminality

Changing Perceptions of Criminality

Changing perceptions of criminality


Chapter 5:

  • Considers contemporary debates about a criminal ‘underclass’ – a hard core of offenders responsible for a large proportion of all crimes committed.
  • Describes the origins of these debates, starting with perceptions of crime in the late eighteenth century.
  • Questions how the concept of a dangerous revolutionary poor became transformed into the concept of a rising tide of professional criminals in the heart of English society.
  • Discusses how, as the nineteenth century progressed, fears about degeneracy caused some to turn to biological explanations for crime. ...
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