Criminological Theory (Graduate)
Criminal Justice 8106 (formerly 406)
Fall 2010

crn 087979
Temple University

R. B. Taylor

on the web at:
instructor main web site: 

Date of last update: 12/23/10


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


Important information updates will appear in this box

Memo on listening and speaking norms posted. CLICK here

9/19 Take away comments for M&R posted; intro comments for Peterson & Krivo posted.

9/26 - end of semester paper assignment finalized; take away comments for Peterson & Krivo posted; intro comments for Venkatesh posted

10/4 - take away comments for Venkatesh uploaded; McLean & Elkind questions changed

10/18/10 - questions and intro for Zimbardo posted

10/24 - questions and intro for Wikstrom posted; first exam results and explanation posted - go to memos or CLICK HERE

10/31/2010 - memo added responding to your mid-semester reactions

11/1/2010 - take away thoughts on SAT added, Hirschi questions revised, Hirschi introduction added

11/7/2010 - take away thoughts on Hirschi added, introduction to GTOC added, questions for GTOC modified

11/12/2010 - intro thoughts for Laub & Sampson, questions, and takeaway thoughts: all added

11/22/2010 - just a couple of intro thoughts, and questions for Rafter on biocriminology

11/29/2010 - intro for Garland posted; take away thoughts on biocriminology posted

12/6/2010 - under memos,ideas posted about how to prep for the second in-class exam. Also under memos: look-ahead thoughts on preparing for the advanced exam

Also, a few take-away thoughts added on Garland

12/9/2010 - memo added with your results on how well course met stated goals. CLICK HERE

12/23/2010 - two memos added. I am sending individual comments to students now.

CLICK HERE to get the exam

CLICK HERE to get access to grades for the second exam, the paper, and the course

List of BOOKS to buy - alpha by author and in order assigned  
A Theory Checklist  
LINKS TO QUESTIONS for readings and exams  
Paper assignment

Usage policies and legal notice for WEB pages. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on this WEB page and linked WEB pages (not publications) at the addresses are the sole property of Ralph B. Taylor and © 1999-2010 by Ralph B. Taylor. None of the opinions expressed on any of these WEB pages represent the opinions  of Temple University or Temple University's Department of Criminal Justice. The only viewpoint presented in these and other WEB pages is that of R. B. Taylor. All these WEB 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 instructional enhancements. As part of his required instructional activities, R. B. Taylor has created paper, non-hyperlinked copies of these pages, and those will be distributed to all enrolled students. Further, the preparation and storage of all these WEB pages did not and does not involve Temple University resources in any manner. All users have the right to freely access and copy these WEB 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 this WEB page or any linked WEB pages in the domain or outside of it, do hereby explicitly and unconditionally indemnify the author of each accessed WEB page, including those in the domain, and all other domains linked to these pages,  from any and all liabilities or claims of damage arising from any variety of defects, inaccuracies, or misrepresentations appearing therein, or arising from trauma or suffering experienced as a result of exposure to any materials taken to be offensive, insensitive, unpatriotic, ill-conceived or otherwise distasteful; or from any uses to which these materials are put.


Instructor R. B. Taylor
Time Monday 3 - 5:30, Gladfelter 553 
Office 536-537 Gladfelter Hall
Office Hours Friday 12:00-1:45 and by appointment
If these times do not work and you need to see me, please call and we can set up an appointment any time.

Further I have a "you can hide but you can't run open and closed door" office policy. This means that outside of posted office hours (a) if my office door is open feel free to c'mon in and (b) If my door is closed but I am here do not hesitate to knock; I am happy to speak with you if I am not under a raging deadline.

Phone 215.204.7169 (v)
You also can ring 1-7918 and ask Ms. Major (1-7918) if we need to chat and the phone is not being picked up.
I will give you folks my home phone number. Since you are graduate students calls at home in the evenings and weekends are ok after 10 am and before 9 pm.

Current Temple University Syllabus policy also requires that a current Temple e-mail address be listed. It is ralph.taylor at the address. BUT PLEASE DO NOT USE IT! I schedule when I look for student emails, and if you do not send it to the gmail account I am more likely to miss it. See email policy below.

Various required university or college policy/procedure statements or professor policies

Disability Statement

This course is open to all students who meet the academic requirements for participation.  Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible.  Contact Disability Resources and Services at 215-204-1280 in 100 Ritter Annex to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

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. If you are in this situation let me know within the first two weeks of the semester, please!

 Academic Rights and Responsibilities

Temple University students who believe that instructors are introducing extraneous material into class discussions or that their grades are being affected by their opinions or views that are unrelated to a course’s subject matter can file a complaint under the University’s policy on academic rights and responsibilities. 

Statement on Academic Freedom:  Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The University has adopted a policy on Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities (Policy # 03.70.02) which can be accessed through the following link:

The policy encourages students to first discuss their concerns with their instructor.  If a student is uncomfortable doing so, or if discussions with the instructor do not resolve the student’s concerns, an informal complaint can be made to the Student Ombudsperson for the student’s school or college.  Unresolved complaints may be referred to the dean for handling in accordance with the school or college’s established grievance procedure. Final appeals will be determined by the Provost.

Religious Holidays

If you will be observing any religious holidays this semester which will prevent you from attending a regularly scheduled class or will interfere with fulfilling any course requireement, your instructor will offer you an opportunity to make up th eclass or course requirement if you matke arrangements by informaing your instructor of the dates of your religious holidays within two weeks of the beginning of the semester, or three weeks before any holidays which fall within the first two weeks of class.

Cell Phones

Cell phones, pagers, and beepers must be turned off during class except with special permission from your instructor. This means OFF not on VIBRATE. This is a graduate class, so I do not expect subterranean texting to be an issue.

If you have work/health/emergency issues that require you leave the phone on ALL the time LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS at the beginning of the semester.

See additional details under class expectations.

Controversial Subject Matter

In this class we will be discussing subject material that some students may consider controversial. Some students may find some of the readings and/or some of the comments in class (or in discussion conducted through a black board for them) challenging. Our purpose in this class is to explore the subject matter deeply and to consider multiple perspectives and arguments. Students are expected to listen to the instructor and to one another respect fully, but of course are free to disagree respectfully with views expressed in class in electronic discussions through blackboard or in readings.

Academic Honesty 

Temple University believes strongly in academic honesty and integrity. Plagiarism and academic cheating are, therefore, prohibited. Essential to intellectual growth is the development of independent thought and a respect for the thoughts of others. The prohibition against plagiarism and cheating is intended to foster this independence and respect.

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person's labor, another person's ideas, another person's words, another person's 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. Any assistance must be reported to the instructor. If the work has entailed consulting other resources -- journals, books, or other media -- these resources must be cited in a manner appropriate to the course. It is the instructor's responsibility to indicate the appropriate manner of citation. Everything used from other sources -- suggestions for organization of ideas, ideas themselves, or actual language -- must be cited. Failure to cite borrowed material constitutes plagiarism. Undocumented use of materials from the World Wide Web is plagiarism.

Academic cheating is, generally, the thwarting or breaking of the general rules of academic work or the specific rules of the individual courses. It includes falsifying data; submitting, without the instructor's approval, work in one course which was done for another; helping others to plagiarize or cheat from one's own or another's work; or actually doing the work of another person.

Students must assume that all graded assignments, quizzes, and tests are to be completed individually unless otherwise noted in writing in this syllabus.  I reserve the right to refer any cases of suspected plagiarism or cheating to the University Disciplinary Committee; I also reserve the right to assign a grade of "F" for the given paper, quiz or test.

I strongly recommend you review a CLA policy on academic honesty from the mid-1980s as needed. Note that getting an F in the course is a possiblitiy.

In this course you are only doing three things for credit: giving me something written on an occasional basis, completing two in-class exams, and completing a short paper. The two areas where issues about academic honesty are most likely to arise are with reference to how you prepare for exams, and how to properly footnote and cite in your papers. We will talk about each of these matters in class.


See below.


I will not respond to more than one email/student in the class per workday. If you have sent me multiple emails in one day, I will respond to the latest one that I see when I look at my email.

During the semester sometimes thngs get busy. Although I may respond more quickly, do not expect an email reply in less than two working days (48 hours). This does not count weekends.

I expect all your emails to me to be professional.For some hints/tips, see:


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.

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.


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. A more detailed grading rubric will follow.


Even though this is a graduate class we will be talking about listening and speaking norms. The materials covered in this class can be viewed and reacted to in different ways, depending on a range of personal factors, including political orientation. Even though it may seem juvenile to talk about these norms, I think it may help grow and clarify the comfort boundaries for in-class discussions.

CLICK HERE for suggested norms

Course prerequisites

An ability to read fairly massive amounts of material in a relatively short period of time and organize those materials;
* an ability and willingness to participate in in-class discussions and even lead discussion on occasion;
* an open and inquiring mind about the three main topics, described in Sutherland's quote above;
* an ability to write effective and organized relatively short essays.

If you have questions about whether you meet any of these prerequisites, we should talk and you should consider putting off taking this course.


This course has four puroses.

1. To begin to expose doctoral and MA students to important theoretical works in criminology. .

The idea is simply to read, reflect, organize, and sometimes criticize.

This set of works to which students are exposed in this course represents no more than the instructors' efforts to put together a series of weekly readings -- most often in book form -- that combine a range of approaches to criminological theorizing. Some of these works have been widely known in criminology or criminal justice for more than a decade. Others are brand-new. And still others come from outside criminal justice or criminology.

Although the texts reflect the instructors'choices, the instructor has attempted to compile a group which is diverse in the following ways:
* The ranges of causes of crime from the international to the structural to the social psychological to the personal to the biological are all represented.
* Although the bulk of the content addresses the causes of crime, there is some content devoted to the two other areas of criminological theory (the making of laws (Savelsberg), and reactions to the breaking of laws (Garland)).
* Crime is more than street crime, usually operationalized as FBI UCR codes for Part I and Part II crimes. According to some, street crime may be paltry in comparison to non-street crime when the volume of victims or total costs are considered. Therefore, in addition to street crime and street criminals we also will read about white collar crime (McLean & Elkind, Abolafia) and regulation as exemplified in Enron, atrocities crimes (Savelsberg), and aggressive and/or cruel behavior in simulated and real prisons (Zimbardo).

2. To practice writing for the advanced exam in theory.

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. More specifically, there are two in-class exams which are meant to simulate, in terms of the questions assigned, and the conditions under which the exams are given, the actual advanced exams. This is called modeling or practicing to the criterion. The content covered in this course is also relevant to preparation for the advanced theory exam, but constitutes just a small portion of the material you need to cover.

3. To provide students with some minimal background in theory uncovering, theory evaluation, and theory construction.

Sometimes authors clearly state their theories. Sometimes they do not. In this course you will get experience with both types of presentations, and with extracting the essentials of a theory from a volume for a work.Sometimes a theory is accompanied by data, sometimes not. Part of theory evaluation is thinking about the terms in a theory, the connections between concepts, and how all those ideas link up to any data which are presented. Perhaps the practice of learning about and evaluating theories will give you some thoughts on how to construct your own theory.

The process followed in this course is more important than the content. The books you read here are just a tiny fraction of a much much larger set, the latter comprising all the important criminological works done in the last century or more.

4. To increase your interest in some perennial questions central to our discipline.

The works you are going to read address important questions which have puzzled and vexed scholars since Aristotle. Part of being a thoughtful scholar in criminal justice and criminology is thinking hard about these questions, developing your own views, and considering what some of the most insightful people in the field have to say about these matters. Since you all are adults with your own opinions at this point in your lives, you all are likely to have -- as do I! -- your personal biases, predilections, inclinations, and favored viewpoints. This course does not seek to change those. But it does hope to increase your interest in the ideas and evidence that agree with your views, and in the ideas and evidence that disagree with your views.

Some of these perennial questions include:

Why the book approach

If you look at some of the ways a "theory" course in criminology is structured in other doctoral programs, you will likely find many courses which are

* structured around volumes of short readings; and/or
* that organize theories into biological vs. psychological vs. sociological perspectives

I have opted instead in this course to expose you to a small number of volumes. Some of these are clear theories with ample supporting evidence. Some are proto-theories. Some are narratives in search of theories.

In the group of clear cut theories I would place:

Peterson & Krivo
Sampson & Laub
Gottfredson & Hirschi
Messner & Rosenfeld

In the group of proto-theories I would place:

Rafter (and biocrim more broadly)

In the group of narratives in search of theories I would place:

McLean & Elkind

I hope that with this approach you will gain a deeper understanding of each theory, moving past cookie-cutter memorization, and, more importantly,  gain a better appreciation of what theorizing is, how it works, and how to unpack it.

Many of these books/readings present you with an argument. One of the competencies you will acquire in this class is learning how to scope out what each book's argument is, and, in addition, how to develop a critical response to that model.

Classroom structure

This class will be run as a seminar.

Dictionary definition:

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

One scholar's definition:

"The seminar is that midpoint between the lecture and the individual tutorial." (Jay Parini (July 23, 2004). "The Well-tempered seminar." The Chronicle Review.) To read Parini's full article, CLICK HERE

Note the phrases in the dictionary definition "advanced students" and "exchange of ideas." One definition of exchange is "to give and receive reciprocally."

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 all in the process of growing our way into understanding particular theories, and into understanding theorizing more generally.

Parini also tells his students at the beginning of each seminar: "This seminar is not about me. It's about you. The success or failure of the class will rest on your shoulders as well as mine. The only thing I expect of you when you walk into this room is, well, everything. I want your heart and mind at this table."

Specific expectations

Here is what this means in terms of some of my specific expectations for this course.

a. You will have all cell phones, pagers, pdas, ipods, headsets and related devices off during each class. If you need an exemption from this, tell me at the end of the first day of class. You will not text during class. If you bring a notebook computer for taking notes, the only page I expect to see up on your screen is your word processing. No surfing during class. If for some urgent personal reason you need to leave your cell phone on for an expected call, talk to me about this at the beginning of class. If you do not behave in accord with my expectations on this matter it will detract significantly from class goals, and will be interpreted as disruptive class behavior given those goals. I will proceed accordingly.

b. Every day when you come into class, expect cold calling. Expect to be cold called repeatedly during a class. Expect to be cold called either on the material, or on what someone has said about the material, or on your reactions to either of those. If you are cold called, and you demur or defer or plead lack of knowledge, expect that I may come back to you with the same question after someone else has handled it for a follow-up.

c. Every week you want to come to class with BOTH of the following: a filled out checklist for the reading (see below), and a written answer to at least one question that was posted (see below). If, instead of answering a posed question, you want to write about another feature of the reading, that is fine. The writing you do, however, should not be a reaction piece.

Although you are not getting graded on the writing you do each week, I am really counting on you doing it. If it turns out that a significant number of students are not coming to class each week with something written on which to base their initial comments, the instructor reserves the right to begin requiring that written work be turned in each week, and to adjust the grade for the course accordingly. For example, I may make the writing turn in 10% of the final grade, and subtract 5% from each of the exams.

I may ask any number of you either to share how you answered different parts of the checklist, or to share an answer to a question that you have written.

d. Some weeks I may ask one or two or three random students to prepare a short summary of of additonal material which is outside of the main reading. Doing this also will contribute to your participation points.

e. It is vital that you not miss a class unless it is absolutely impossible to attend. If you are going to be unable to attend class for pressing personal or health reasons please give me a voice mail or email beforehand.

f. You will get. full credit for participation points if you a) attend every class, b) have done the reading each week so you have something thoughtful to say about the reading each week, c) are writing every week and are prepared to share what you have written, and d) report as requested on additional readings/materials to the class. Two unexcused absences may, depending on the circumstances, zero out your participation points.

The Right answer problem

In past years students in this course have expressed frustration about the following dialectic: although they enjoy thinking about, discussing, and hearing other students' views about the materials, they want to know more about what I think about each theory. This sounds a bit like looking for the right answer.

The search for the right answer is understandable, of course, since you have exams in this course, and, if you are a doctoral student, you will have advanced exams in a future semester. I understand the anxieties behind the search.

It is true that, to some extent, there are right answers about every theory. It is true that, in this class and for the advanced exam, there are definitions and hypotheses that you will need to just plain memorize. This is necessary, but not sufficient.

But of interest to me here, and in future to those reading the advanced exams, is much, much more, that is not about right answers. How well can you explain the focus of a theory? What are your thoughts about the applicability of a theory to a certain topic? Can you connect key ideas in a theory cleanly with specific points of empirical support? Can you describe how a particular finding could be interpreted as supporting multiple theories and if so how? Can you contrast the perspective of two theories on a specific matter? All of these matters are in some ways as or more important than the right answer search. It goes back to learning how to think about theory rather than just learning a theory.

Therefore, I do not think my job is to be someone who has the final word on a theory. I do think my job is to pose questions, raise issues, reflect on your comments, and prod you to think more deeply about the material in question.

This course is more about the process of reading and evaluating theory than it is about the qualities of specific theory X.

I will, however, for every theory, at the end of class provide some "take away thoughts." These are not meant as a final word (a right answer), but rather as a way of organizing some of the key issues and questions pertaining to that theory.

Tools you can use to prepare for class

a. Every week there are questions posted for the readings. These serve two purposes. (1) As study guides, to help you get a sense of what I think the key issues are as you move through a reading.Although sometimes these lists of questions are extensive, when they are I have clearly indicated which questions I think are essential. You always should try to pay attention to those. The other ones you can look at or not as you wish. (2) To give you something to choose from on which you can write.

b. Every week I will provide an introduction to the reading for the following week. This will either be a separate memo, or ppt, or text on the questions page.

c. I have put together a theory checklist. This addresses what I call meta-theory matters, as well as some real basic questions about theories. You should try and fill one out after you have read a reading. You want to bring your filled out form to class. It is probably best to try and fill this out each time on your own. If you want to share your thoughts with others after you do that, or "check" your "answers" against those of others, that is fine after you have provided your initial assessment.

d. A lot of additional content is going to be put up on the Bboard site. It will be organized by week. Look at as much or as little as you feel like. DO not get overwhelmed and feel that you need to look at all of this material now. Optional means optional. For those in the doctoral program, you can think about it as as a reference archive to return to in future as you prep for the advanced exam.


What your grade is based on
(subject to possible change described above)

40% In-Class First Midterm (first half of course material)
40% In-Class Second Midterm (second half of course material)
10% Final Short Paper
10% Participation. (see above text)

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 week before each exam. You will be allowed to write either on a computer or in blue books.

The final short paper is an application exercise. You will be applying one of the theories reviewed in this course to one specific movie, selected from a list that will be provided, or a selected book.

The paper will be a short (5 pages or so) 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. The purpose of the paper is so you can get experience applying a specific theory to a specific situation.

CLICK HERE to get to the paper


More on writing

Even though this is not part of the course grade, I expect you to write a little bit in preparation for each class. What is a little bit? 250 words at least. Preferably 500 words.

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.

Unless things get dire (see comment above) I will not be asking you to turn in what you have written each week. But I will expect you, when called upon to start leading off the discussion, which can happen any time, to have something from which to read.

What will you write on?

You have options. (a) You could write an answer to one or more of the study guide questions posed. (b) You could write about how that theory or features of that theory might apply to one particular situation. (c) You could write a cogent rebuttal of one or more points made by the author of reading.

Try to make your writing a structured piece. This helps you get ready for the exam. Do more than just give me a list or some short answers to some questions.

In past years there has been a clear relationship between those doing more thoughtful writing each week, and those getting better grades on the exams.

If you put off thinking seriously about each book until exam time, you are very likely to become toast.

I will not have time to do a detailed review of each of your writings each week. But you can do the following. (a) Bring something you have written to an office hour, and ask for me to comment on it and talk to you about it. (b) You can ask for detailed written feedback on what you have written in a weekly assignment. When you want to request that feedback send me the writing as an email attachment with 406 writing in the subject line. I will share some thoughts.Each of you can do this twice during the semester. What you send me should be edited so that it is no more than 250 words.

For those seeking some advice on writing short essays I cannot recommend too strongly Lucille Vaughan Payne's The Lively Art of Writing  especially chapters 6 and 7 and if you have the time chapters 2 through 5. The Amazon link is:

but it takes 2 - 4 weeks to ship.

You can link to what I think are some key pages from her book if you go to

Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" is another essential. You can get the early Strunk version online at:

I strongly recommend you read section: V. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED


Sequence of Topics and Readings


Date Topic and Readings (readings are to be done BY that week) (Bb) means reading can be found on Blackboard site
8/30 Course introduction. Purpose. Requirements. What is a seminar? Why this approach. How to succeed in this course. How to fail. What is crime theory? Varieties of crime theory. Approaching theory with your own predliections. How to code and decode theory. Some meta-theory basics.

TOPIC: Can criminological theories explain genocide and human rights violations?
READING: Savelsberg, pp 1-85 (Chs. 1-5)


TOPIC: How do cultural variations and institutional differences explain international serious crime differences?
READING: :Messner and Rosenfeld


TOPIC: The racial spatial divide and community crime differences: What are the sources of community crime rate differences between White and African-American urban neighborhoods?
READING: Peterson & Krivo


TOPIC: How do gangs simultaneously create and control violence, simultaneously protect and destroy community safety?
READING: Venkatesh


TOPIC: White collar criminals and the criminogenic elements of the organizational, cultural, economic, and governmental climate.
McLean & Elkind. You may skip the following chapters if you wish: 4, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18
(Bb) Abolafia, M. (1996). Making markets: Opportunities and restraint on Wall Street. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ch. 10.


TOPIC: The Stanford Prison Experiment, The Lucifer Effect, and Abu Ghraib
READING: Zimbardo Chapters 1-10 (1-228), Chapter 15 ONLY UP TO 402 (380-402)


TOPIC: Why certain individuals commit crimes in certain situations: Situation Action Theory
READINGS (will be on Bb site)
1. Wikstrom, P.-O. H. (2006). Individuals, settings, and acts of crime: Situational mechanisms and the explanation of crime. In P.-O. H. Wikstrom & R. J. Sampson (Eds.), The Explanation of Crime: Context, Mechanisms, and Development
(pp. 61-107). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Wikstrom, P.-O. H., Ceccato, V., Hardie, B., & Treiber, K. (2010). Activity fields and the dynamics of crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 26(1), 55-87.


TOPIC: Bonds and control theory and delinquent acts
READ: Hirschi (Chapters TBA)


TOPIC: The General Theory of Crime
READING: Gottfredson and Hirschi - Chs. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12

TOPIC: Individuals and personal history: The LIfe course perspective
READING: Laub and Sampson
TOPIC: Current directions in biocriminology
READING: Rafter, Chs 1, 9, 10 ON BBOARD

TOPIC: Revised views about crime and punishment in the US and UK, 1970 - today
READING: Garland

12/15 SECOND IN CLASS EXAM - same time and place as regular class
12/18 Final paper due via SafeAssign on blackboard (be sure you understand how to do this)

Last day of scheduled classes is 12/8. 12/9 & 12/10 are study days. On 11/23 & 11/24 follow your Th and Fr schedules.

Recommended readings for the future

Each of the volumes listed below, save for the Paternoster and Bachman reader, was an important book at the time it appeared, and for a time afterward. Each is a major work by a well known scholar. Strongly recommended you go to work on this list well before you try the advanced exam. Ones in bold are really really recommended.

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

Black, D. (1976). The Behavior of law. New York: Academic.

Black, D. (1998). The Social Structure of Right and Wrong (Revised ed.). New York: Elsevier Science / Academic Press.

Braithwaite, J. (1989). Crime, shame and reintegration. Cambridge: Cambridge University press

Bursik, R. J., Jr.; Grasmick, H. 1993. Neighborhoods and crime. Lexington: Lexington Publishers. Chs. 1-3. This is probably the best introduction you are going to get to the human ecology approach to crime and communities, and the social disorganization generally.

Cloward, R. A. and L. E. Ohlin. 1960. Delinquency and opportunity. New York: Free Press. A major restatement of differential association theory into opportunity theory.

Collins, Randall (2008). Violence: A Micro Sociological Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Coser, L. (1956). The Functions of Social Conflict. New York: Free 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. Do you think international justice is achievable, and relies on large scale institutions rather than lone crusaders? Read this book.

Hagan, J. and B. McCarthy. 1998. Mean Streets: Youth Crime and Homelessness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Excellent, high quality study of how homeless kids get involved in crime, and who protects them or doesn’t.

Katz, J. 1990. The Seductions of Crime. New York: Basic Books. Jack Katz is considered a strange theorist by some, but this volume is widely read. It looks at what attracts people to crime.

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

Lane, R. (1986). Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia 1860-1900. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Lane (see comments below) links violence in African-American areas with the zoning of these communities for vice. Excellent complement to Bursik and Grasmick. Short

Lane, R. (1997). Murder in America: A History. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Roger Lane of Haverford College is the premier historian of crime and criminal justice in the United States. This volume discusses murder and responses to murder from pre-colonial times up to yesterday. There are two major themes here. 1. There are three criminal justice systems (for whites, African-Americans, Native Americans). 2. Criminal involvement or the lack thereof was critically linked to the involvement of specific groups in the schooling in preparation for industrial jobs, and having industrial jobs.  This is the magnum opus of a master.

Martinez, R. (2002). Latino Homicide: Immigration, Violence, and Community. New York: Routledge.

Merry, S.E. 1999. Colonizing Hawai'i. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Chronicles how whites set up the legal system in Hawai’i in the 1800s. Merry, who is by training a cultural anthropologist, is a first class theorist and the model she develops is highly textured and compelling.

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. Reviews the question: why do some delinquents persist into adulthood, and others desist, and what does gender have to do with all this.

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. In general I hate readers, but this one is short, the writing clear, and editor contributions excellent.

 Petersilia, J. 2002. When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry. Oxford University Press. Re-entry and reintegration is one of the hottest topics today, and this book is going to give you the best overview.

Sampson, R.J. and J. Laub. 1995. Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Before Laub and Sampson, there was Sampson and Laub. Uses the same data source, Glueck and Glueck, and looks at transitions of crime from the early delinquent years into early and mid adulthood.

Simon, D., and Burns, D. (1997). The Corner. New York: Grove Press. Don't see the HBO series. Read the book. The best of the recent spate of urban ethnographies from drug-plagued neighborhoods. Others include books by Bourgois, Venkatesh, Pattillo-Mccoy, and Terry Williams.

Taylor, R. B. (2000). Breaking Away From Broken Windows. Boulder: Westview Press

Wilcox, P., K.C. Land, and S.A. Hunt. 2003. Criminal circumstance: A Dynamic multicontextual criminal opportunity theory. New York: Aldine deGruyter. A multilevel theory about committing crime, and being a crime victim. Strongly recommended, but only after you have had CJ 605.

Wilson, J. Q., and R. J. Herrnstein. 1985. Crime and human nature. New York: Simon and Shuster. A while back this was the hottest book around about biology and crime. Comprehensive, authoritative, the authors push a perspective that blends learning and biology. Some may find it politically offensive, but it is broad ranging.

Wilson, W. J. 1996. When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Knopf. For my money the best work there is connecting urban economic conditions like high unemployment, neighborhood life, family life, and involvement in crime and delinquency. The model is truly multilevel, talking about national and regional dynamics down to the individual household. Discussion at the end about our approach to poverty, and how it contrasts with the European model.

Wright, R. T. and S. Decker. 1997. Armed Robbers in Action: Stick-up and Street Culture. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Let’s go out and talk to some armed robbers and see what they tell us about why they do what they do. More readable than Katz, if you want to look at offender motivation from the offenders’ perspective.

Other criminology/theory sites

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.

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.

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.

StrongBad's Routine Activities Approach to Theft.