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Criminological Theories

Introduction, Evaluation, and Application

Eighth Edition

Ronald L. Akers, Christine S. Sellers, and Wesley G. Jennings

Publication Date - 24 July 2020

ISBN: 9780190935276

464 pages

A concise yet comprehensive review and appraisal of the leading theories of crime


In Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation, and Application, Eighth Edition, Ronald L. Akers, Christine S. Sellers, and Wesley G. Jennings provide a concise but thorough review and appraisal of the leading theories of crime and criminal justice. Based on the widespread success of the first seven editions, this landmark book keeps current with changes in the development, testing, integration, and application of important criminological theories. Each chapter has been updated and substantially revised in light of recent research and important changes in the theories. More extensive revision and updating have been done on biological and biosocial, psychological, social disorganization, and conflict theories.

New to this Edition

  • All chapters have been thoroughly revised and updated
  • Several chapters include new discussions of theoretically-informed, evidence-based programs and policies and related evaluations testing their effectiveness
  • Chapter 10: Conflict Theory has been expanded with an in-depth focus on racial disparity and bias in criminal justice decision-making

About the Author(s)

Ronald L. Akers is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida.

Christine S. Sellers is Professor and Director of the School of Criminal Justice at Texas State University.

Wesley G. Jennings is Chair and Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Mississippi, and a Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.


"Criminological Theories is a solid text that covers a wide range of criminological theories, from early ideas about deviant behavior to current policy-relevant theories. It also emphasizes the evaluation of competing theories, which is beneficial for all students of criminology."--Robert Jenkot, Coastal Carolina University

"Criminological Theories provides an overview of the central tenets and history of major criminological theories and details the contemporary state of theory testing. It is an excellent, sophisticated resource."--David Mackey, Plymouth State University

"Criminological Theories allows students to pursue one theory at a time, culminating in the integration of the many theories."--Robert P. Engvall, Roger Williams University

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Introduction to Criminological Theory
    Chapter 2. Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories
    Chapter 3. Biological and Biosocial Theories
    Chapter 4. Psychological Theories
    Chapter 5. Social Learning Theory
    Chapter 6. Social Bonding and Control Theories
    Chapter 7. Labeling and Reintegrative Shaming Theory
    Chapter 8. Social Disorganization Theory
    Chapter 9. Anomie and Strain Theories
    Chapter 10. Conflict Theory
    Chapter 11. Marxist Theories
    Chapter 12. Radical and Critical Theories
    Chapter 13. Feminist Theories
    Chapter 14. Developmental and Life-Course Theories
    Chapter 15. Integrating Criminological Theories
    author index
    subject index

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