Contributions of Cross-National Research to Criminology at the Beginning of the 21st Century

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Although the study of crime did not originate in the United States, for much of the 20th century the discipline had a distinctively American flavor. Describing the state of criminology at the beginning of the 21st century, one scholar declared that “the American criminological enterprise is the largest in the world. Measured by the number of people who focus on the study of crime, law and social control, the number of university courses, the number of scholarly and professional publications and books, the number of research projects and the amount of funding, there is no question that the US takes the cake” (Marshall, 2008, p. 50). American criminologists have been responsible for developing many popular criminological theories, fostering methodological advancements for studying crime, and institutionalizing the discipline within academia. It is not surprising, then, that “for most American scholars, criminology is American criminology” (Marshall, 2008, p. 49, original emphasis).