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Crime and the Life Course

An Introduction

Michael L. Benson

Publication Date - October 2001

ISBN: 9780195330083

238 pages
6 x 9 inches

Retail Price to Students: $109.99

A comprehensive overview of contemporary research and theory on the life-course approach to crime


In recent years the life-course perspective has become a popular theoretical orientation toward crime. Yet despite its growing importance in the field of criminology, most textbooks give it only cursory treatment. Crime and the Life Course: An Introduction by Michael L. Benson provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary research and theory on the life-course approach to crime. The book emphasizes a conceptual understanding of this approach. A special feature is the integration of qualitative and quantitative research on criminal life histories.

The book:
* Provides an overview of the life course approach and describes the major concepts and issues in life-course theory as it applies to criminology.
* Reviews evidence on biological and genetic influences on crime.
* Reviews research on the role of the family in crime and juvenile delinquency.
* Provides a detailed discussion of the criminological life-course theories of Moffitt, Hagan, Sampson and Laub, and others.
* Discusses the connections between youthful crime and adult outcomes in education, occupation, and marriage.
* Presents an application of the life-course approach to white-collar crime.
* Discusses how macro sociological and historical developments have influenced the shape of the life course in American society as it relates to patterns in crime.

Table of Contents

    Chapter One: An Overview of Life Course Theory and Research
    Four Million Babies
    The Life Course Perspective
    Criminal Careers, Career Criminals and the Rise of the Life Course Approach
    Important Theoretical Concepts and Issues
    Major Developmental Studies
    Plan of the Book
    Chapter Two: Biology and the Family: Initial Trajectories
    Starting Behind the Starting Line: Biology and Crime
    Behavioral Genetics and Antisocial Behavior
    Biological Bases of Delinquent Behavior
    Families: Structure, Support, and Discipline
    How Early Can Trouble Start?
    Chapter Three: Adolescence and Crime: Continuity, Change, and Cumulating Disadvantages
    Societal Age-Crime Patterns
    Adolescent Trajectories in Crime: Discovery of the Chronic Offender
    Explaining Offending Trajectories
    Terrie Moffitt: Complementary Pair of Developmental Theories
    Robert Sampson and John Laub: Age Graded Theory of Informal Social Control
    John Hagan: Criminal Capital and Capital Disinvestment
    Terence P. Thornberry: Interactional Theory of Delinquency
    Delbert Elliott: Integrated Theory
    Chapter Four: Adulthood and Aging Criminals
    Cumulative Disadvantage: Adult Consequences of Juvenile Crime
    Marriage, Children, and Family
    Chapter Five: White-Collar Crime and the Life Course
    The Concept of White-Collar Crime
    Applying the Life Course Approach to White-Collar Offenders
    The Social Locations of White-Collar and Common Onset of Offending and Trajectories in Crime
    Family Background and Educational Trajectories
    Conviction as an Event in the Life Course of White-Collar Offenders
    White-Collar Crime and the Life Course
    Chapter Six: Historical and Structural Contexts
    Overview: Four Million Babies in History
    The Maturity Gap
    The Prison Experiment and the War on Drugs
    Public Policy, Globalization, and the Inner City
    Summing Up: Crime and the Life Course
    A Final Conclusion

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