Bookbeat

Book Beat: July 1997

Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation, Second Edition

Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation, Second Edition by Ronald L. Akers, Center for Criminology & Law
(Roxbury Publishing Company)
Available through Amazon

Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation is a concise but thorough review and appraisal of the leading theories of crime and criminal justice. Esteemed criminologist Ronald L. Akers offers a knowledgeable and insightful introduction to and critique of each theory.

Based on the success of the First Edition of this landmark text, the Second Edition has been (1) updated to keep the book current with changes in the field and (2) reorganized for better topic flow. Coverage has been added on such topics as: new efforts at theoretical integration; contemporary feminist theories; left realism; and peacemaking criminology.

Akers' Criminological Theories continues to offer:

- Publisher

Excerpt

Criminological theories are abstract, but they entail more than ivory-tower or arm-chair speculations. They are part of the broader social science endeavor to explain human behavior and society. Understanding why people conform to or deviate from social and legal norms is an integral part of a liberal education. Moreover, such understanding is vital for those who plan to pursue specialized careers in the law or criminal justice. Virtually every policy or action taken regarding crime is based on some underlying theory or theories of crime. It is essential, therefore, to comprehend and evaluate the major theories of criminology, not only for the academic or research criminologist, but also for the educated citizen and the legal or criminal justice professional.

Thinking Politics: Perspectives in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory

Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation, Second Edition by Leslie Paul Thiele, Department of Political Science
(Chatham House Publishers, Inc.)

Available through Amazon

The tradition of political theory, while rich in historical insight, conceptual refinement, ethical debate, and philosophic reflection, is poor in eternal truths and practical implementations. It follows that the art and craft of political theory is less a learning of set principles, technical procedures, or concrete applications than an exercise in critical thought. To teach political theory is to introduce students to a tradition of thought so that they might interact creatively with it. To teach political theory is to aid in the acquisition and development of the analytic and interpretive skills, the moral and philosophic judgment, and the social and historical knowledge needed to appreciate a tradition of thought, to contest its claims and to make good use of its insights.

Developing this skill, judgment, and knowledge is an exciting but arduous task. Returns on investments of time and effort are seldom certain. This is partly because political theory has always been, and remains today, a field uncertain of its objectives, unsettled in its procedures, and self-consciously critical of its own identity. Political theory might be described as an unending dance staged between skeptical reserve and the epic effort to achieve methodological rigor, conceptual stability, and moral certainty about things political. Thinking Politics introduces the reader to this form of dance.

- Publisher

Excerpt

The mark of a good education, Aristotle insists, is knowing which fields of study allow for certainty and exactitude and which do not. Politics, he observes, is not an exact science. Its study depends less on precise measurement than on contextual understanding grounded in shared experience. By developing their own conceptual lenses while remaining receptive to the different viewpoints of others, interpreters of political life may strike an appropriate balance between the intellectual demands of theory and the practical and moral demands of an ambiguous, complex, and unruly world.

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