• Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

This three-volume set is the definitive reference tool for criminology and criminal justice students, researchers, and practitioners worldwide. John Muncie presents a comprehensive collection of classic and contemporary pieces that define the study of crime. Each volume includes an introduction by the editor, to contextualize the historical, theoretical, and empirical significance of the articles contained therein.

Volume 1: The Meaning of Crime: Definition, representation and social construction

This volume introduces key issues in the definition of ‘crime’, examining legal, historical, moral and social constructions of crime.

Volume 2: The Causes of Crime

Explanations of crime are various, diverse and contradictory. This volume brings together some of the major criminological paradigms (biological, psychological and sociological) which have attempted to locate the causes of crime.

Volume 3: Radical and Critical Criminologies

This volume introduces how radical, feminist and critical schools of criminology started to address the issue not of why offending occurred, but of how particular images of crime were constructed and maintained.

Collectively, the volumes provide ready access to the key debates about and disputes within the academic study of crime as they have emerged over the past 120 years.


A compilation of the volume Introductions.

Introduction to Volume 1: Editor's Introduction
The Meaning of Crime

This volume introduces key issues in the meaning and constitution of ‘crime'. Crime is commonly understood to be behaviour that is prohibited by criminal law. In other words no act can be considered a crime, irrespective of how immoral or damaging it may be, unless it has been made such by state legislation. This legal definition appears clear cut and uncontroversial, but it is unable to capture the full extent of those behaviours widely considered to be harmful or troublesome. For example, criminologists have also used the terms ‘delinquency’ and ‘anti-social behaviour’ to refer to behaviour that may be deemed a ‘nuisance’ as well as that which is liable to criminal ...

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