- Katherine S. WilliamsKatherine S. WilliamsLecturer in Law, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to introduce students to the broad study of criminology. The study begins at the end of the nineteenth century and considers theories that have gained credence over the past century or so. It then discusses two important aspects to many theories and the policies used by States in addressing crime, over the period studied. First, are offenders acting entirely out of choice or free will, and can thus be blamed and called to account for their actions? Second, are offenders less volitional in that their choices are limited through structural or social factors which tend to exclude or marginalise some groups or individuals? An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.