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Vold's Theoretical Criminology

Eighth Edition

Jeffrey B. Snipes, Thomas J. Bernard, and Alexander L. Gerould

Publication Date - 15 November 2019

ISBN: 9780190940515

432 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The most precise, up-to-date, and comprehensive overview of criminological theory available, building on the foundation of George B. Vold's Theoretical Criminology


The standard text in the field, Vold's Theoretical Criminology is universally known by scholars in the discipline. Taking a largely historical approach, it discusses both classic and contemporary theories, presenting historical context, empirical research, and policy implications for each one. The book concludes with a critical assessment of the state of theory in criminology.

New to this Edition

  • Offers expanded coverage of contemporary theories, including routine activities, developmental and life course, self-control, learning, and general strain theories
  • Adds new sections on such topics as epigenetics, the neoclassical school, social disorganization in rural areas, and green criminology
  • Contains real-life examples and discussions of policy implications throughout, demonstrating how theories are tied closely to policy and practice
  • Integrates the assessment of criminological theories (the former concluding chapter) with the introductory chapter on theory and crime
  • Includes a new, brief conclusion that examines the proliferation of theory in criminology, and assesses the policy relevance of the multitude of criminological theories
  • Provides a Test Bank, a new supplement for this edition

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey B. Snipes is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Studies at San Francisco State University.

The late Thomas J. Bernard was Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology at Pennsylvania State University.

Alexander L. Gerould lectures at De Anza College.


"Vold's Theoretical Criminology is the classic text on criminological theory. It provides an exceptional overview of the development of crime theories and a comprehensive examination of every major theory, including the many theories developed in recent years. This is an excellent text for any course on criminological theory."--Robert Agnew, Emory University

"Vold's Theoretical Criminology is a straightforward, concise, and informative overview of criminological theory. It is the most detailed and comprehensive text on the market. Students interested in a true understanding of theory--and not simply a superficial overview--should choose this book."--Kent R. Kerley, University of Texas at Arlington

"This is an excellent read that details many topics--like Athens and Katz--that are rarely seen in a theory book. It provides a foundation to be able to relate the theories to practical, real-world examples."--Stephanie Manzi, Roger Williams University

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1. Theory and Crime
    Spiritual Explanations
    Natural Explanations
    Scientific Theories
    Causation in Scientific Theories
    Three Categories of Criminological Theories
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 2. Theory and Policy in Context: The Great American Crime Decline
    Crime in the United States: The Past Half-Century
    Two Opposing Narratives of the Crime Wave
    Explaining the 1990s Decline
    The City That Became Safe
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 3. Classical Criminology
    The Social and Intellectual Background of Classical Criminology
    Beccaria and the Classical School
    The Neoclassical School
    From Classical Theory to Deterrence Research
    Nagin's Review of Deterrence Research
    Rational Choice and Offending
    Routine Activities and Victimization
    Focused Deterrence: Operation Ceasefire
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 4. Biological Factors and Criminal Behavior
    Background: Physical Appearance and Defectiveness
    Lombroso, the "Born Criminal," and Positivist Criminology
    Goring's Refutation of the "Born Criminal"
    Body Type Theories
    Family Studies
    Early Twin and Adoption Studies
    MAOA: The "Warrior" Gene
    The Central Nervous System
    The Autonomic Nervous System
    Environmentally Induced Biological Components of Behavior
    Epigenetics and the Role of Heritability Studies in Biosocial Criminology
    Implications and Conclusions
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 5. Psychological Factors and Criminal Behavior
    Intelligence and Crime: Background Ideas and Concepts
    IQ Tests and Criminal Behavior
    Delinquency, Race, and IQ
    Interpreting the Association Between Delinquency and IQ
    Personality and Criminal Behavior-Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis
    Research Using Personality Tests
    Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder
    Clinical Prediction of Future Dangerousness
    Actuarial Prediction of Later Crime and Delinquency
    Depression and Delinquency
    Impulsivity and Crime
    Moffitt's Life-Course-Persistent Offenders
    Policy Implications of Personality Research
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 6. Durkheim, Anomie, and Modernization
    Emile Durkheim
    Crime as Normal in Mechanical Societies
    Anomie as a Pathological State in Organic Societies
    Durkheim's Theory of Crime
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 7. Strain Theories
    Robert K. Merton and Anomie in American Society
    Cohen's Middle Class "Measuring Rod"
    Cloward and Ohlin's Typology of Gangs
    1960s Strain-Based Policies
    The Decline and Resurgence of Strain Theories
    Agnew's General Strain Theory
    Messner and Rosenfeld's Institutional Anomie Theory
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 8. Neighborhoods and Crime
    The Theory of Human Ecology
    Research in the "Delinquency Areas" of Chicago
    Policy Implications
    Residential Succession, Social Disorganization, and Crime
    Sampson's Theory of Collective Efficacy
    Crime in Public Housing
    Social Disorganization and Crime in Rural Areas
    Expanding Interest in Neighborhood Social Processes
    Implications and Conclusions
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 9. Learning Theories
    Basic Psychological Approaches to Learning
    Tarde's Laws of Imitation and Bandura's Social Learning Theory
    Sutherland's Differential Association Theory
    Research Testing Sutherland's Theory
    The Content of Learning: Cultural and Subcultural Theories
    The Learning Process: Akers's Social Learning Theory
    Assessing Social Learning Theory
    Athens's Theory of "Violentization"
    Katz's Seductions of Crime
    Labeling Theories
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 10. Control Theories
    Early Control Theories: Reiss to Nye
    Matza's Delinquency and Drift
    Hirschi's Social Control Theory
    Assessing Social Control Theory
    Gottfredson and Hirschi's A General Theory of Crime
    Assessing Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory
    Implications and Conclusions
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 11. CONflict CrIminology
    Early Conflict Theories: Sellin and Vold
    Conflict Theories in a Time of Conflict: Turk, Quinney, and Chambliss and Seidman
    Black's Theory of the Behavior of Law
    A Unified Conflict Theory of Crime
    Testing Conflict Criminology
    Minority Threat Theory
    The Processing of Individuals Through the Justice System
    Implications and Conclusions
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 12. Marxist, Postmodern, and Green Criminology
    Overview of Marx's Theory
    Marx on Crime, Criminal Law, and Criminal Justice
    The Emergence of Marxist Criminology
    Marxist Theory and Research on Crime
    Overview of Postmodernism
    Postmodern Criminology
    Green Criminology
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 13. Gender and Crime
    The Development of Feminist Criminology
    Schools of Feminist Criminology
    Gender in Criminology
    Why Are Women's Crime Rates So Low?
    Why Are Men's Crime Rates So High?
    The Narrowing of the Gender Gap in Violence
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 14. Developmental and Life-Course Theories
    The Great Debate: Criminal Careers, Longitudinal Research, and the Relationship Between Age and Crime
    Criminal Propensity Versus Criminal Career
    The Transition to Developmental Criminology
    Three Developmental Directions
    Thornberry's Interactional Theory
    Sampson and Laub's Age-Graded Theory of Informal Social Control
    Tremblay's Developmental Origins of Physical Aggression
    Future Directions in Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions

    Chapter 15. Integrated Theories
    Elliott's Integrated Theory of Delinquency and Drug Use
    The Falsification Versus Integration Debate
    Braithwaite's Theory of Reintegrative Shaming
    Tittle's Control Balance Theory
    Differential Social Support and Coercion Theory
    Bernard and Snipes's Approach to Integrating Criminology Theories
    Agnew's General Theory
    Robinson's Integrated Systems Theory
    Key Terms
    Discussion Questions


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