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Criminology is in a period of much theoretical ferment. Older theories have been revitalized, and newer theories have been set forth. The very richness of our thinking about crime, however, leads to questions about the relative merits of these competing paradigms. Accordingly, in this volume advocates of prominent theories are asked to take stock of their perspectives. Their challenge is to assess the empirical status of their theory and to map out future directions for theoretical development.
The volume begins with an assessment of three perspectives that have long been at the core of criminology: social learning theory, control theory, and strain theory. Drawing on these traditions, two major contemporary macro-level theories of crime have emerged and are here reviewed: institutional-anomie theory and collective efficacy theory. Critical criminology has yielded diverse contributions discussed in essays on feminist theories, radical criminology, peacemaking criminology, and the effects of racial segregation. The volume includes chapters examining Moffitt's insights on life-course persistent/adolescent-limited anti-social behavior and Sampson and Laub's life-course theory of crime. In addition, David Farrington provides a comprehensive assessment of the adequacy of the leading developmental and life-course theories of crime.
Finally, Taking Stock presents essays that review the status of perspectives that have direct implications for the use of criminological knowledge to control crime. Taken together, these chapters provide a comprehensive update of the field's leading theories of crime. The volume will be of interest to criminological scholars and will be ideal for classroom use in courses reviewing contemporary theories of criminal behavior.