Graduate Criminological Theory
Criminal Justice 406
Fall 2004
Temple University

on the web at: www/
instructor main web site: 

Date of last update: 12/23/04

What is Criminology? "Criminology is the study of law making, law breaking, and social reaction to law breaking."
--Edwin Sutherland.


12/23/04 Final grades have been sent in and posted. I distributed copies of short comments on the exam to people yesterday in their mailboxes. Also returned commented on papers. If you have any comments or concerns about the grades, get in touch w/ me.

CLICK HERE to see the final grade sheet

Classroom structure  
Attendance Expectations  
Your Grade  
Grading policies  
Sequence of Topics and Readings  
Recommended readings for the future  
Other sites on theory and criminological theory you may find useful (under construction)  
Another take on the areas of criminology  
LINKS TO QUESTIONS PART 1 (before first midterm)
LINKS TO QUESTIONS PART 2 (after first midterm - includes questions to think about for the final)
Paper assignment

Usage policies and legal notice. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on this page and linked pages at the addresses are the sole property of Ralph B. Taylor and © 1999-2004 by Ralph B. Taylor. None of the materials presented here represent the opinions or policies of Temple University. All these pages were converted from text pages and created as web pages by R. B. Taylor in his spare, discretionary time and not as part of required instructional activities, but rather as potential enhancements. Further, the preparation and storage of all these pages did not and does not involve Temple University resources in any manner. All users have the right to freely access and copy these pages provided that they: acknowledge the source, do not make changes on any pages, and do not charge more than copying costs for distribution.  Further, all users by accessing these pages do thereby indemnify the author of the pages appearing herein, or of pages at other sites, from any and all liability arising from any variety of defects, inaccuracies, or misrepresentations appearing therein, or from any uses to which these materials are put.


Instructor R. B. Taylor
Time Thursday: 3 - 5:30, Gladfelter 533 
Office 536-537 Gladfelter
Office Hours Friday 10-12, and by appointment as needed
Contact 215.204.7169 (v); 610.446.9023 (fax). You also can ring 1-7918 and ask Ms. Salerno (1-7918) if we need to chat and the phone is not being picked up.
BE SURE to copy all emails also to

Special Services

Students who may require special services should notify the instructor at the earliest opportunity, and I will put you into contact with the Office of Special Services at Temple. You may require special services if you are sight or hearing impaired, or if you wish to register for gaining extra time for taking exams or completing assignments.


This course has one simple purpose: to begin to expose doctoral and MA students to important theoretical works in criminology. If you are a doctoral student, then there is a second purpose as well: to give you experience responding to the types of questions you are likely to encounter on the "theory" portion of the advanced exam.

Even though the advanced exams are much dreaded this course will I hope be one of the most interesting, stimulating and dare I even say "fun" courses in the program. We will be wrestling with some of the most fundamental and vexing questions in the discipline of criminal justice / criminology / sociology / psychology.

I hope that the course also will be a searching one for you yourself. I hope that by the end of the semester you will have your own position on some of the perennial questions addressed here. These are important questions and you need to grow your way into answers to these.

Classroom Structure

This class will be run as a SEMINAR.

"The seminar is that midpoint between the lecture and the individual tutorial." (Jay Parini (July 23, 2004). "The Well-tempered seminar." The Chronicle Review.)

  1. [n]  a course offered for a small group of advanced students
  2. [n]  any meeting for an exchange of ideas

This means YOU are going to do a lot of talking, and we are ALL going to be doing a LOT of listening and thinking. I and other students will be asking questions. I and you will be discussing and providing "answers" and reflecting out loud.

We are reading a book a week. To help get you oriented to each reading, I will be posting questions you want to think about as you read each volume; in addition in the first class I will review a number of things for us to think about as you read each theory.

It goes almost without saying that what is required of you each week is to read the book, think about the answers to the questions posed, reflect more generally on the work, and be prepared to think and talk about stuff.

Prior to each class I am going to ask a couple of students to help "start us off" for the following week.

Weekly Starters
You can think about what it means to "start us off" in a bunch of ways. Some tips to think about if you are asked to "start us off."

Weekly Everyone Else
If you have not been asked to start us off on a given week, then you need to come to class with something in writing, of at least a page, typed, double spaced, having to do with that week's reading. What you write could be an answer to a question posed. Or it could be a personal reflection on something in the reading, or on a connection between the reading and things outside -- "out there."

Each week you will come to class with two copies of what you have written, and you will turn one of those in.

Why am I asking you to write a little each week? Because sometimes it is only when we put pen to paper that we know what we think.

But most importantly, you gotta do the reading each week.

The Hours
In order that we do not get totally mixed up about everything here, I think we are going to try and stick to the following format after the first week:

3:00 - 3:05 housekeeping (instructor)

3:05 - 3:20 starters

3:20 - 4:20 Understanding what is being said

4:20 - 4:30 Break

4:30 - 5:30 The limitations or the problems or the unanswered questions with what is being said

The goal here is to keep the exposition of the theory separate from the critique of it, or concerns about it. Step one is figuring out what the author has to say.

Attendance Expectations
It is vital that you not miss a class unless it is absolutely impossible to attend.

For ASC week, we ARE having class. Those students attending ASC are excused from class that week BUT they will have a specific reporting out assignment for the class on the following week.

What Your Grade is Based On

20% Typewritten weekly something (one page, typed, double spaced)
30% In-Class First Midterm
30% In-Class Second Midterm
15% Final Short Paper
5% Participation

The weekly writing was explained above.

For each in class midterm, you will receive on the day of the exam a series of questions. You will select a small number of them, and you will write on them for 2.5 hours, and then turn in your written work. The exams will ask you general questions which are similar to the questions you will see on the advanced exam. I will give you some "tips" on preparing for these exams.

The final short paper is an application exercise. It will be based on either of the following books - you choose:

  1. Simon, D., & Burns, E. (1997). The Corner: A Year in the life of an inner-city neighborhood. New York: Broadway Books. This is an ethnographic study of a year in the life of DeAndre McCullough, and his friends, acquaintances and relations in southwest Baltimore.
  2. Banks, Russell. (1995) Rule of the bone. New York: Harper Perennial. This is a work of fiction, depicting the life of an upstate, New York teen boy who gets into trouble at the mall, tries to save a little girl called "Froggy," hangs out with bikies, lives in a school bus with a Jamaican, goes in search of his biological father, and ends up tangling with drug lords in the Caribbean and maybe figuring things out. This is Catcher in the Rye for the 1990s; highly recommended.

I am not going to tell you much about the paper, except that it will be short - 5 pages or so - and it will be an application exercise. You will get more specific directions on the paper late in the semester.  I am not weighting the paper a whole bunch, because I don't want you to worry about it.

CLICK HERE to get to the paper assignment




We will discuss in class the nature of academic misconduct, including plagiarism. You are responsible for understanding the different varieties of academic misconduct, and for understanding the Graduate School's policies as described below.  If I encounter solid evidence of academic misconduct I will discuss the matter with you, and then deliver the consequence I deem appropriate. Possible consequences include: failure on the assignment in question (i.e., a 0); assigning a failing grade for the course; or attempting to have you expelled from Temple University. Should you wish to contest a decision I make on academic misconduct, I will inform you of the procedures to follow. The department and the college have fully specified grievance procedures for graduate students. 

The following materials are from the University's Graduate Bulletin statements on academic honesty [   - go to regulations]

Academic Honesty

Temple University believes strongly in academic honesty and integrity; therefore, any kind of academic dishonesty is prohibited. Essential to intellectual growth is the development of independent thought and of a respect for the thoughts of others. The prohibition against academic dishonesty is intended to foster this independence and respect. Primarily, the two types of academic dishonesty include the following: Plagiarism and Academic Cheating.

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person’s labor, ideas, words, or assistance. Normally, all work done for courses — papers, examinations, homework exercises, laboratory reports, oral presentations — is expected to be the individual effort of the student presenting the work. There are many forms of plagiarism: repeating another person’s sentence as your own, adopting a particularly apt phrase as your own, paraphrasing someone else’s argument as your own, or even presenting someone else’s line of thinking in the development of a thesis as though it were your own. All these forms of plagiarism are prohibited both by the traditional principles of academic honesty and by the regulations of Temple University. Our education and our research encourage us to explore and use the ideas of others, and as writers we will frequently want to use the ideas and even the words of others. It is perfectly acceptable to do so; but we must never submit someone else’s work as if it were our own, rather we must give appropriate credit to the originator.

Academic Cheating is, generally, the thwarting or breaking of the general rules of academic work or the specific rules of the individual courses. Some examples include: falsifying data; submitting, without the instructor’s approval, work in one course that was done for another; helping others to plagiarize; or cheating from one’s own or another’s work; or actually doing the work of another person.

The penalty for academic dishonesty can vary from a reprimand and receiving a failing grade for a particular assignment, to a failing grade in a course, suspension, or expulsion from the University. The penalty varies with the nature of the offense, the individual instructor, the department, and the school or college.

For more information about what constitutes Academic Dishonesty or about disciplinary and/or academic grievance procedures refer to the University’s Statement on Academic Honesty and the Student Code of Conduct or contact the Student Assistance Center, 215-204-8531.

Makeup Policy

There will be no makeups for a missed midterm or final exam unless

* you notify me before the missed exam

* and you have a reason for missing the exam that I find valid (e.g., car accident) (I no longer accept excuses like your friend's grandmother dying.)

* and I have something in writing, for my records, verifying the nature of the problem (e.g., the police report on the car accident, the estimate from Joe's Body Shop)

 Late Assignments

There is one out of class assignment. It is due on the date indicated. I reserve the right to lower the grade for assignments that are handed in late. The amount the grade is lowered increases the longer the delay in handing the assignment in. Depending on the assignment, the grade may be lowered 1% to 10% a day.

To get credit for the weekly writing assignment it must be received by the beginning of class time to receive credit.

If you have an excuse for a late assignment I will take this into account only if you notify me beforehand about the problem and I find your excuse for the delay to be a valid one and I have something in writing. Again, a friend's grandfather's death may be questionable.

 Regrading Policy
You have the right to submit any exam or assignment for regrading. If you wish to submit an assignment for regrading proceed as follows:

 Prepare a written statement explaining why the assignment should be regraded. This applies to written assignments, essay exams, and multiple choice exam questions where you think there was more than one correct answer.

 On a cover sheet print your name, SSN, name of the assignment or test, date of the assignment or test, and the date you submitted the assignment for regrading.

Staple the cover sheet to your written rationale and the original assignment.

I will review your request for regrading. I will consult with other faculty if I deem that appropriate. As a result of your request for regrading the grade on your original assignment may stay the same, or it may go up, or it may go down.

Grading Standards for Papers
It is expected that the paper you turn in will be, in addition to interesting, engaging, and original, well edited.  I will take off for mis-spellings and flagrantly poor grammar, and for poor organization. More detailed rubrics will follow.

Sequence of Topics And Readings


AN EXPLANATION OF THE TERM RECOMMENDED: This means these books expand in key ways on the same topics. We will NOT be talking about them in class each week. Rather each weeks' class will concentrate solely on the book in question. But as you are getting ready for your exam, you definitely will want to read that book.

PURCHASING NOTE: Although of course I fully endorse and support the TU bookstore, if you want to buy used books somewhere else to save money, that is not a bad idea. All the books on the required list are about $20 each through Amazon. The Laub and Sampson is $40. My used book site recommendation is

Week of Topic and Readings (readings are to be done BY that week)



Offending: A General Theory

Gottfredson, Michael and Travis Hirschi. 1990. A General Theory of Crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press. SKIP CH. 11

Wilson, J. Q., and R. J. Herrnstein. 1985. Crime and human nature. New York: Simon and Shuster.


Offending and Victimization: A Multilevel, Integrated Perspective

Wilcox, P., K.C. Land, and S.A. Hunt. 2003. Criminal circumstance: A Dynamic multicontextual criminal opportunity theory. New York: Aldine deGruyter. SKIP 119-123,CH 6, CH. 8

9/23/04 Offenses: A Macrostructural Perspective

LaFree, G. 1998. Losing Legitimacy: Street Crime and the Decline of Social Institutions in America. Boulder, CO: Westview.


Offending: Another Macrostructural Perspective

Messner, S. F. and R. Rosenfeld. 2000. Crime and the American dream. Monterey: Wadsworth.

Cloward, R. A. and L. E. Ohlin. 1960. Delinquency and opportunity. New York: Free Press


Offending: Macrostructural, Racial, and Symbolic Interactionist

Anderson, E. 2000. Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City. New York: W.W. Norton.


Bursik, R. J., Jr.; Grasmick, H. 1993. Neighborhoods and crime. Lexington: Lexington Publishers. Chs. 1-3

Wilson, W. J. 1996. When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Knopf.

10/14/04 Midterm

Offending: Individual-level control theory

Hirschi, T. 1969. Causes of delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Hagan, J. and B. McCarthy. 1998. Mean Streets : Youth Crime and Homelessness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moffitt, T.E., A. Caspi, M. Rutter, and P. A. Silva. 2001. Sex Differences in Antisocial Behaviour : Conduct Disorder, Delinquency, and Violence in the Dunedin Longitudinal Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Offending: Individual Level, life course perspective

Sampson, R.J. and J. Laub. 1995. Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press


Katz, J. 1990. The Seductions of Crime. New York: Basic Books

Wright, R. T. and S. Decker. 1997. Armed Robbers in Action: Stick-up and Street Culture. Boston: Northeastern University Press.


Offending: Individual Level, life course perspective

Laub, J. and R. J. Sampson. 2003. Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives : Delinquent Boys to Age   70. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


How law is made and used

Black, D. 1980. The Behavior of Law. New York: Academic Press.  SKIP CH. 7


Merry, S. E. 1990. Getting justice and getting even. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hagan, J. 2003. Justice in the Balkans: Prosecuting War Crimes in the Hague Tribunal (Chicago Series in Law and Society). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Responses to crime and criminals

Braithwaite, J. 1989. Crime, Shame and Reintegration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


 Petersilia, J. 2002. When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry (Studies in Crime and Public Policy).


Responses to regulatory offenses (white collar crime?)

Hawkins, K. 2003. Law As Last Resort: Prosecution Decision-Making in a Regulating Agency (Oxford Socio-Legal Studies). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Savelsberg, J.J.. and P. Bruhl. 1994. Constructing White-Collar Crime: Rationalities, Communication, Power (Law in Social Context). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

12/2/04 Society's responses to crime and criminals

Garland, D. 2002. The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press


Merry, S.E. 1999. Colonizing Hawai'i. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Morris, N. 2003. Maconochie's Gentlemen: The Story of Norfolk Island & the Roots of Modern Prison Reform (Studies in Crime and Public Policy). New York: Oxford University Press

WEDNESDAY 12/8 is the last day of regularly scheduled classes

12/9/04 This is a STUDY DAY - we are not scheduled according to the university schedule to have a class or an exam this day
12/16/04 According to the schedule this is when we would have our final exam

NOTE: we will discuss in class the idea of having the second midterm on the scheduled study day - if we can do this without bending anyone out of shape, we will.

Recommended readings for the future

(This section will be growing over the course of the semester; once it gets pretty big, it will be moved to its own separate page; in addition I will be prioritizing some of these, so don't pay too much attention right now.)

Paternoster, R. and Bachman, R. (eds.) (2001).  Explaining Criminals and Crime:  Essays in Contemporary Criminological Theory.  Los Angeles: Roxbury. This is an undergraduate reader, but the chapters are clear, the volume is short, and the editors have these excellent introductions.


Other Criminology Course Sites and/or author's pages and/or exam sites

Bill Chambliss, Sociology, George Washington University, Sociology of Law, Criminology. I like the way he has listed the major "paradigms" on this syllabus. If you want to learn more about paradigms, read Kuhn.

Bernie Cohen, Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice at John Jay College, graduate theory course. This looks like a pretty typical deviance course, except that is has a bit of stuff thrown in on policing, and a section on conflict type theories.

Duke University, Department of Sociology, advanced theory exam in Crime, Law and Deviance. This is a list of questions you may find helpful. It reflects some of the concerns of Ken Land, an author of a text we are reading.

Cecil Greek at FSU is best known for his monster web page in criminal justice. Here is the link to his syllabus on grad crim theory. Of particular interest on this site, besides all the whizzy graphics, are the link to past theory exams, and you also can see FSU's suggested reading list.

Ryan Spohn: Graduate Criminology at Kansas State University in Sociology. The list of additional suggested readings is massive, so don't be daunted, but you may find it helpful; it is heavily sociologically oriented

Sul Ross State University (Texas), guide for theory exam for MS in Criminal Justice. This is just a list of questions. They are pretty specific, probably more specific than what you will see on your theory exam, but it may give you some thoughts.

Pamela Tontodonato, Justice Studies, Kent State University, Graduate Crim Course. Although this is a reader based course, what is interesting about this syllabus is the set of labels used to organize the topics. It is narrower than what we are doing here because the focus is just on understanding offending. There is no attention to law making or responses to law breaking.

Jeff Ulmer's graduate theory course for students in PSU's Crime, Law and Deviance program. This is a reader-plus-articles type course, with a heavy heavy emphasis just on offending/delinquency. A little bit on organized crime.

StrongBad's Routine Activities


Following up on Sutherland:

Another (perhaps dated) take on the areas of the field:

The following material is a quote from Reckless, Walter C. (1967). Introduction. In W.C. Reckless (ed). The Crime Problem. New York: Appleton-Century-Croft. Pp. 9-10.

 If, in the interest of realism, we admit that criminology is concerned with the study of criminal and delinquent behavior as well as with its control, prevention, and treatment (in spite of the fact that there are as yet no validated criminologists), one can specify the following major concerns of criminology as perceived by various kinds of specialists who identify with the field in its current pre-autonomous state of development.


 1.       The reporting of law violations, clearance by arrest, criminal identification (including operations of crime laboratories), and the improvement of measures to record crime, arrest criminals, and identify violators.

2.       A comparative study of criminal law in various countries as related to social, economic, and political systems, with appropriate attention to transitions in developing countries and to the system of traditional sanctions in tribal societies.

3.       The specification of demographic characteristics of juvenile and adult offenders at points in the legal process (usually at the point of arrest or at the point of admission to a penal or correctional institution), where it is possible to record

4.       The formulation, testing, and revision of hypotheses or theories which attempt to explain crime and delinquency in general or any particular pattern of offense or criminal activity in particular.

5.       The identification and description of basic components of the behaviors which are legally defined as criminal and delinquent in various countries of the world, leading to classifications which approximate the kinds of classifications natural scientists have made. The same procedure should be followed in regard to orders or systems of criminal behavior such as dacoity in India, smuggling, piracy, traffic in women and girls, traffic in narcotic drugs, rack­eteering in the United States, etc.

6.       The study of recidivism and habitual criminals, and the identification of first offenders, recidivists, hard-core offenders, including offenders with character disorders and mental disturbances who relapse into delinquency and crime.

7.       The study and control of problems of deviancy which have a close connec­tion with crime such as abnormal sex offenders, prostitution, suicide, narcotic drug addiction, chronic alcoholism, addictive gambling, begging, vagabondage.

8.       The study and implementation of law enforcement and the operation of spe­cial laws such as habitual-offender laws and abnormal sex offender laws.

9.       The study of the effectiveness of measures for treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, by penal and correctional institutions, probation, and aftercare service (parole), including the study of impact of detention while awaiting trial or disposition.

10.   The evaluation and operation of programs for the prevention of delinquency and crime.