, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 231-234,
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Date: 29 Jun 2012

Review of Mary Bosworth and Carolyn Hoyle, What is Criminology?

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What is criminology? The short answer, to paraphrase the British playwright Alan Bennett, is ‘just one bloody crime after another.’ The long answer is to be found between the pages of Bosworth and Hoyle’s wide-ranging new collection, in which leading criminologists reflect on the current status of their discipline. The volume arrives in the midst of a ‘reflexive turn’ (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992) in the social sciences generally, and recent debates regarding the role and function of criminology in public life (Loader and Sparks 2010; Wacquant 2011). Consisting of 35 chapters over 550 hard-bound pages, the collection represents a weighty contribution to both debate and bookshelf.

Contributions come from some of the leading criminological thinkers in the UK, US, Canada, Europe, Australia and South Africa. Their charge was to consider the purpose, impact, methods and import of criminology, past and present. Unsurprisingly, for a self-consciously ‘eclectic discipline’, the results are ...