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.

Psychology and the Criminological Subject

Psychology and the criminological subject

In Chapter 1 we introduced the case for a psychosocial approach to the study of crime and its control and explored how it was that criminology became so disinterested in questions of aetiology. Critical to our analysis was Garland's view that the ‘science of causes’ that became the Lombrosian project is ‘deeply flawed’ (Garland, 2002: 8). In lumping together psychoanalytical enquiries with medical and psychiatric approaches Garland effectively echoes the sentiments of Radzinowicz and King – key figures in the governmental project – who dismissed psychoanalytic criminology as a system of elaborate excuses invented by uncritical students of Freud:

Disciples of [Freud] … who ventured into criminology acknowledged a debt to Lombroso but rejected his classifications and ...

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