What is criminology?

Criminology is not the same as criminal justice studies or penology or legal scholarship. What, then, is criminology? The question that follows — what is crime? — is even more complicated than the first. Someone decides what crime is: who and why?

  • Can you think of any advances now occurring in the social or physical sciences that might soon have a significant impact on our understanding of crime and criminality? If so, what would those advances be? How might they affect our understanding of crime and criminal behavior?
  • In what way is contemporary criminology interdisciplinary? Why is the sociological perspective especially important in studying crime? What other perspectives might be relevant? Why?

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