We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Vold's Theoretical Criminology

Sixth Edition

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

Publication Date - April 2009

ISBN: 9780195386417

384 pages
6 1/8 X 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $99.95

"I highly recommend this book for advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students."--John H. Laub, University of Maryland, College Park


Vold's Theoretical Criminology, Sixth Edition, presents the most precise, up-to-date, and comprehensive overview of criminological theory available, building on the foundation of George B. Vold's Theoretical Criminology, which paved the way for a generation of criminological theorists.

Coupled with new, student-friendly features, the sixth edition features expanded discussions of: empirical research within specific theories; the "biosocial" approach; theoretical explanations for gendered differences in crime; low self-control and the general theory of crime; Control Balance Theory; and General Strain Theory. In addition, the text covers such new topical areas as Lonnie Athens's Theory of "Violentization;" Agnew's General Theory; Zimbardo's "Lucifer Effect;" the Cambridge Youth Violence Study; and Coercion and Social Support. Offering improved pedagogy--including new Key Terms lists and end-of-chapter Discussion Questions--this new edition also presents additional material on policy implications.

About the Author(s)

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

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

Alexander L. Gerould is a full-time faculty member in the Criminal Justice Studies Department at San Francisco State University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2001
August 1997
November 1979


"When teaching criminology, I seek to provide sophisticated accounts of a wide range of theoretical perspectives coupled with a selection of the best empirical research on the key issues important to the field. Over the years, I continue to find that Theoretical Criminology is the book that best fits my teaching goals. It is an excellent teaching tool and its breadth and depth of coverage is unparalleled. I highly recommend this book for advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students."--John H. Laub, University of Maryland, College Park

"I have been impressed with the previous editions of this highly regarded textbook, and the new, updated edition continues that fine tradition. The reviews of theoretical approaches and associated research are consistently comprehensive, balanced, and highly readable. The book excels at two levels: it works well in the classroom, and it serves as a valuable resource for the professional criminologist."--Steven F. Messner, University at Albany, State University of New York

"Vold's Theoretical Criminology is the classic text on criminological theory, providing 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. Further, the book makes a theoretical contribution itself, through its insightful discussion of crime theories. This is an excellent text for any course on criminological theory."--Robert Agnew, Emory University

"The sixth edition of Vold's Theoretical Criminology demonstrates why this text is among the most complete and important overviews of criminological theories for students and faculty alike. It is the book from which I learned about theories of crime as an undergraduate student; the book that I turned to for a more advanced understanding and dissection of criminological theory as a graduate student; the book I suggest all of my graduate students read in order to learn about theory; and it has continued to be a key reading throughout my career as a faculty member. While theories of crime undergo change, it is comforting to know that Vold's Theoretical Criminology remains a pillar of continuity in its treatment of the origins of crime."--Alex R. Piquero, University of Maryland, College Park

Table of Contents

    Each chapter ends with a list of Key Terms and Discussion Questions.
    1. Theory and Crime
    Spiritual Explanations
    Natural Explanations
    Scientific Theories
    Causation in Scientific Theories
    Three Frames of Reference
    Relationships among the Three Frames of Reference
    2. Classical Criminology
    The Social and Intellectual Background of Classical Criminology
    Beccaria and the Classical School
    From Classical Theory to Deterrence Research
    Three Types of Deterrence Research
    Rational Choice and Offending
    Routine Activities and Victimization
    3. 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
    Twin and Adoption Studies
    The Central Nervous System
    The Autonomic Nervous System
    Environmentally Induced Biological Components of Behavior
    Implications and Conclusions
    4. 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
    Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder
    Clinical Prediction of Future Dangerousness
    Actuarial Prediction of Later Crime and Delinquency
    Depression and Delinquency
    Impulsivity and Crime
    Policy Implications of Personality Research
    5. Crime and Poverty
    Historical Background: Guerry and Quetelet
    Research on Crime and Poverty: Contradictions and Disagreements
    Crime and Unemployment: A Detailed Look at Research
    Problems Interpreting Research on Crime and Economic Conditions
    Implications and Conclusions
    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
    7. 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
    Expanding Interest in Neighborhood Social Processes
    Implications and Conclusions
    8. Strain Theories
    Robert K. Merton and Anomie in American Society
    Strain as the Explanation of Gang Delinquency
    1960s Strain-Based Policies
    The Decline and Resurgence of Strain Theories
    Strain in Individuals
    Strain in Societies
    9. Learning Theories
    Basic Psychological Approaches to Learning
    Sutherland's Differential Association Theory
    Research Testing Sutherland's Theory
    The Content of Learning: Cultural and Subcultural Theories
    The Learning Process: Social Learning Theory
    Athens's Theory of "Violentization"
    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
    11. The Meaning of Crime
    The Meaning of Crime to the Self: Labeling Theory
    The Meaning of Crime to the Criminal: Katz's Seductions of Crime
    The Situational Meaning of Crime: Zimbardo's Lucifer Effect
    The Meaning of Crime to the Larger Society: Deviance and Social Reaction
    State Power and the Meaning of Crime: Controlology
    Implications and Conclusions
    12. 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 Theory
    Implications and Conclusions
    13. Marxism and Postmodern 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
    14. 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?
    15. Developmental Theories
    The Great Debate: Criminal Careers, Longitudinal Research, and the Relationship Between Age and Crime
    Criminal Propensity vs. 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
    16. Integrated Theories
    Elliott's Integrated Theory of Delinquency and Drug Use
    The Falsification vs. Integration Debate
    Braithwaite's Theory of Reintegrative Shaming
    Tittle's Control Balance Theory
    Coercion and Social Support
    Bernard and Snipes's Approach to Integrating Criminology Theories
    Agnew's General Theory
    17. Assessing Criminology Theories
    Science, Theory, Research, and Policy
    Individual Difference Theories
    Structure/Process Theories
    Theories of the Behavior of Criminal Law

Related Titles