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The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

The Oxford Textbook on Criminology (2nd edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 30 March 2023

p. 4p. 51. Studying criminologylocked

p. 4p. 51. Studying criminologylocked

  • Steve Case,
  • Phil Johnson,
  • David Manlow,
  • Roger Smith
  •  and Kate Williams


This chapter provides an overview of criminology, which is the scientific study of crime. ‘Criminologists’ are generally considered to be the lecturers, scholars, and researchers who create and impart criminological knowledge and understanding to inform the development of academic theories and arguments, and also of policies and practice relating to crime and people who come into conflict with the law. The study of criminology can be divided into three interconnected areas that each contribute to the understanding and knowledge of crime: defining and exploring crime, explaining crime, and responding to crime. We can view these three elements as not only a journey which leads on to research, but also as a triad of criminology. Ultimately, criminologists are interested in the sociological, psychological, legal, policy, and anthropological influences on defining, explaining, and responding to crime. The chapter details what criminology looks like as an academic subject.

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