The book critiques existing psychological and sociological theories before outlining a more adequate understanding of the criminal offender. It sheds new light on a series of crimes—rape, serial murder, racial harassment, ‘jack-rolling’ (mugging of drunks), domestic violence—and contemporary criminological issues such as fear of crime, cognitive-behavioral interventions and restorative justice. Authors David Gadd and Tony Jefferson bring together theories about identity, subjectivity, and gender to provide the first comprehensive account of their psychoanalytically inspired approach. For each topic, the theoretical perspective is supported by individual case studies, which are designed to facilitate the understanding of theory and to demonstrate its application to a variety of criminological topics.
Throughout this book we have been making the case for a new approach to criminology, an approach we have defined as ‘psychosocial’. Our promise was to show that by embracing a more complex notion of the subject than is usually presumed within the discipline, greater light is shed on the many puzzles and anomalies that empirical research has thrown up. Much of this work has involved attending to the individual offender, a notion that has become both deeply unpopular and associated with traditional, conservative approaches within criminology. Garland's choice of the term ‘Lombrosian’ to characterize all work of this kind tainted it thus, even before he added that such a project is ‘deeply flawed’. But this is to confuse the object of enquiry (the ...