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Criminology (6th edn)

Stephen Jones
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date: 02 July 2022

p. 1598. Interactionism and phenomenologylocked

p. 1598. Interactionism and phenomenologylocked

  • Stephen JonesStephen JonesHonorary Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Bristol


This chapter focuses on two alternative hypotheses regarding crime and criminal behaviour. The first, based on interactionism, is that crime is not an objective entity, but a consequence of social processes that occur in societies made up of different value systems, and in which particular individuals are able to influence both the actual and perceived status of others. As the name suggests, interactionism refers to the processes by which people come to react to their own self-image, their view of others, and their perception of how others see them, as well as the settings in which they meet or interact with others. The second, based on phenomenology, is that it is impossible to impose meaning on the behaviour of others and that the only function of a ‘scientific’ researcher can be to provide an adequate account of the meaning of behaviour for the actors themselves. Phenomenology is a German philosophy developed during the 1950s by Harold Garfinkel.

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