What is criminology and what is it for

What is criminology and what is it for? Discuss.

Criminology is one of the most of import academic subjects of the modern-day epoch. Turning in tandem with the increasing importance ascribed to sociology as a major force of advanced rational enquiry in the West, criminology has become an progressively important aspect of mainstream academe in its ain right with the survey of offense being an issue of paramount socio-political importance for every province at the morning of the 20 first century. Indeed, public involvement as offense has similarly soared, which has farther elevated the cultural capital assigned to the survey of criminology. Therefore, we can see that, merely as the academic subject of sociology has undergone a really seeable transmutation towards what Nic Groombridge ( 2007:459?475 ) so the academic subject of criminology is likewise in the procedure of transforming into something nearing ‘public criminology’ such is the heightened sense of public and media involvement in offense in the modern-day epoch. The undermentioned essay intends to foreground precisely why criminology is such an of import subject, what its function is and what its utilizations are within the context of offense and offense bar schemes. Before we can get down our analysis, though, we need to try a definition of the subject of criminology so as to set up a conceptual model for the balance of the treatment.

Most evidently and most fundamentally criminology concerns the methodological survey of offense, its causes and its effects for society. It analyses statistics associating to offense – both in footings of the felon and the victim – and so uses these statistics and figures to explicate hypotheses with respects to offense and modern-day civilization. “Thus, criminology’s claim to be an through empirical observation grounded, scientific set abouting sets it apart from moral and legal discourses while its focal point upon offense differentiates it from other societal scientific genres” ( Newburn, 2007:4 ) .

Furthermore, criminology involves the analytical survey of provinces and the assorted ways in which authoritiess try to undertake offense. Therefore, criminology is able to chart what Foucault refers to as ‘the birth of the prison’ ( 1977 ) in the 19th century through to the 20th century and the birth of the construct of ‘crime prevention’ via what Stan Cohen ( 1985 ) refers to as ‘social control.’ Criminology hence merges these two methodological and analytical surveies of both offense and the state’s response to offense in order to set up a on the job synthesis between the two where indifferent, entirely nonsubjective sentiments upon offense and authorities policies are able to be efficaciously formulated.

It is for this ground that Loader and Sparks ( 2008:18-19 ) title-holder the over-riding value of criminologists to authorities policy shapers when it comes to implementing offense bar schemes. While politicians are capable to the caprice of political sentiment, criminologists are able to efficaciously give their clip entirely to achieving the relevant facts and figures needed to adequately understand the true societal and cultural nature of the landscape of offense. In add-on, while politicians need to modify their societal policies associating to offense in order to gratify to the electorate on whose ballot they depend on to remain in power, criminologists are non tied by the same political jussive moods. Furthermore, while political determinations are made by policy shapers announcing from the same political party ( with, by association, the same ideological positions ) , criminological theories are formulated non by a common group of politically motivated people but by societal scientists looking to interchange differing and frequently viing positions associating to offense in order to come up with effectual solutions for restricting its effects upon society. This, harmonizing to Sandra Walklate ( 2005:3 ) , is one of the most of import factors that we need to understand approximately criminology as an academic subject so as to grok the extent to which it is such an of import critical force in the universe today.

“What binds criminologists together is that they portion an involvement in the same capable affair but more significantly they do needfully portion the same manner of believing about how to analyze that capable affair. So criminology, as Rock said, is a meeting topographic point for people coming from different ways of believing about offense. It is multidisciplinary. So it is possible to happen head-shrinkers, historiographers, sociologists, psychologists, attorneies and economic experts who all claim the label ‘criminologists’ but might be looking at the inquiry of offense through really different lenses. Criminology, as a effect, is marked by argument. One thing, nevertheless, that they may all portion concerns about what it is that we understand by crime.”

Therefore, we can get down to understand how frustrating it is for modern-day criminologists such as Loader and Sparks when politicians tend to disregard the findings of criminology in favor of keeping politically ‘safe’ policies with respects to offense and offense bar. Crime is, finally, a public concern and, as such, its bar should be the concern of experts from the community non from democratically elected politicians prosecuting their ain ideological docket. This is an of import point to observe and one that ought to be borne in head throughout the balance of the treatment.

Understanding this point leads us onto another of import point about criminology, viz. its deep-rooted association with broad democracy. We must understand that, without the development of broad democracies in western provinces, criminology would non hold become such an of import academic concern and it would surely non be in the pretense in which it does today. When, for case, we think about non-democratic parts of the universe, we should observe that there is no dedication to criminology as an academic subject. This is because offense in these parts of the universe is entirely a affair for the province and the determinations made by the province in relation to offense are considered to be arbitrary and beyond inquiry. Yet in broad western democracies offense has become, as Walklate notes, a multidisciplinary matter affecting the province and the private sector ; therefore the survey of criminology has become a cardinal characteristic of this multidisciplinary attack to offense bar with the findings garnered by criminologists turn outing to be particularly utile to those non-state histrions looking towards alternate agencies of commanding offense and condemnable behavior in modern-day society. As a consequence, we should observe that while criminology has been mostly ignored by the province with respects to the preparation and subsequent execution of offense bar schemes, it has non been marginalised wholly ; there remain many non-state sector histrions willing to continually fund the continued enlargement of criminology as a methodological and analytical agencies of analyzing offense. This is an of import point to observe when sing the intent of criminology within the context of modern-day, twenty first century society.

We should besides observe that there is a major difference between criminology as a quickly spread outing academic establishment and the planetary mass media whose involvement in describing offense has soared in the past 30 old ages. While the mass media seek to sensationalise and over-dramatise offense in order to ‘sell’ their ain journalistic narratives, criminology seeks to look beyond the rhetoric and the exaggeration in order to set up clear conceptual parametric quantities refering thetrue nature ofoffense. Furthermore, the ‘detective’ component of the mass media’s compulsion with offense ( whereby the spectator likes to be kept in suspense as to ‘who did it’ ) is non a portion of criminological argument.

“Criminology is non concerned with ways of catching felons. That is the work on the one manus of a good constabulary officer and on the other a good supply of information from the general populace. Criminology is much more concerned to explicate the cause ( s ) of crime.” ( Walklate, 2005:2 )


Criminology is a comparatively new academic construct – 1 that has increased in significance in tandem with the development of broad democracy in the West and the sense of pluralism that this brings to every socio-political policy which impacts upon the populace. Indeed, the survey of offense ( both academically in footings of criminology and culturally in footings of the planetary mass media ) has become one of the most of import characteristics of modern-day society and we can merely reason that this sense of public and academic involvement in offense will merely increase in the coming old ages and decennaries with the media’s go oning compulsion with offense coverage traveling manus in baseball mitt with the decentralization of the organic structure politic.


Cohen, S. ( 1985 )Visions of Social Control: Crime, Punishment and Classification

Cambridge: Polity Press

Foucault, M. ( 1977 )Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the PrisonLondon and New York: Pantheon

Groombridge, N. ( 2007 )Criminologists Say… An Analysis of UK National Press Coverage of Criminology and Criminologists and a Contribution to the Debate on ‘Public Criminology’, in,The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 46 ( 5 ) ,459-475

Loader, I. and Sparks, R. ( 2008 )What are we gon na make now? : Revisiting the public functions of criminology, in,Condemnable Justice Matters, 72 ( 1 ) ,18-19

Newburn, T. ( 2007 )CriminologyUffculme: Willan Printing

Walklate, S. ( 2005 )Criminology: The BasicssLondon: Routledge

Brooding Commentary

Bing asked to reply such a wide inquiry such as what criminology is poses serious logistical inquiries. Not merely is offense such an unfastened inquiry, embracing the academic Fieldss of political relations, sociology, history, psychological science, economic sciences and other inter-relating phenomena, the survey of offense in the pretense of criminology is such a recent add-on to the academic landscape that it made replying the inquiry all the more hard. However, when the inquiry of what criminology is has been added to the subsequent inquiry of what criminology is for, the undertaking is made much easier because I was able to divide the essay construction into two discernable parts – the first dealing with the answering of the wide based inquiry associating to what criminology is, the 2nd portion covering with the inquiry of what criminology is for. This non merely gave the essay construction, it besides helped me to understand the true nature of criminology and, particularly, the manner in which it is so much more than merely an academic subject. As a consequence, I wanted me try to demo how politically and socially important criminology is and how it can impact political constabularies in states like the UK.

Equally far as the first portion of the essay was concerned ( viz. determining what criminology is ) , I referred chiefly to Sandra Walklate’sIntroduction to Criminologyas she takes a fresh attack of set uping first what criminologyis nonin order to set up what criminology is. This helped to explicate how criminology is wholly different from the populace and media, foregrounding the fact that criminology seeks to analyze the causes and effects of offense as opposed to the sensationalising of the condemnable act itself. Tim Newburn’s book likewise helped to set up the basic, cardinal theoretical parametric quantities with respects to the survey of criminology.

I besides used Groombridge every bit good as Loader and Sparks in order to determine the value of criminology, therefore determining what it is for. While Groombridge was utile in demoing the increasing significance of the public involvement in offense and the manner in which the subject of criminology is per se linked to the subject of sociology, Loader and Sparks were peculiarly utile in foregrounding the value of criminology to modern-day condemnable justness policy shapers. More significantly, this article was really utile in underlining the manner in which criminologists have historically been ignored by policy shapers who prefer to hold a preconceived impression as to how to show their findings with respects to offense figures, condemnable statistics and the effects of authorities policy on the decrease of offense. This helped to reply the inquiry as to what criminology is for as it highlighted the assorted ways that criminology can be a important assistance to research the causes of offense and the future landscape of offense bar schemes.

I besides managed to read Foucault and Cohen, which were both utile beginnings in foregrounding the manner in which criminology has evolved throughout history in tandem with the development of the broad western political province. This got me believing about how the subject of offense and particularly the effects of offense upon the victim has progressively become a private sector concern with offense being reduced to a job that can be managed in the same manner that companies manage people as employees. This, I think, represents the hereafter of offense control schemes in western broad democracies and this is why criminology will go on to be a extremely of import faculty members and societal concern.