Saturday, October 3, 2009

Criminology Journals - British Journal of Criminology

There are a number of studies and journals that are involved in the discussion of criminology. One of the most widely read and well reputed journals that study and examine criminology would be the British Journal of Criminology. Quality pieces and articles that are contributed from sources from around the world are gathered in issues of the British Journal of Criminology. It is very easy for individuals, either from a scholarly or academic perspective or even those from a researcher’s perspective, to use the British Journal of Criminology as a reference source because of the reputation that the Journal has. However, it does not just expose the work of different academics, but also publishes articles that peers write and have reviewed, as well as a book review segment within the Journal.
The British Journal of Criminology has its publishing basis within the United Kingdom, but its shipment range is much more expansive and in fact spans the entire globe. Regardless of their place of residency in the world, individuals can subscribe to the British Journal of Criminology. Even if an individual does not wish to subscribe to the British Journal of Criminology, it is also fairly easy to locate the Journal at libraries. Many back issues are supported in the libraries because of the notoriety that it receives in the literary world as well as in the world of the criminologist. Regardless of whether or not an individual is able or willing to secure a subscription to the British Journal of Criminology, the many different articles that are featured can have a profound effect on the individuals that read them. There are a number of different topics that are explored with each issue, and this allows the reader to learn about various aspects of the human mind when it is exposed to crime, and crime’s effect on the community. Some of the perspectives that the articles deal with include criminology’s relationship with sociology, anthropology, law, social fields and social work, and economics. By exploring the different ways in which these varying and equally important aspects play out in crime and within the criminal mind, individuals are able to broaden the ways in which they relate to and experience crime and the individual criminal, at least on an intellectual level.
Many instances exist in which an individual would want to reference the different thoughts and feelings expressed within the British Journal of Criminology. Sometimes a student will need to cite different sources in order to back up a particular thesis or type of thought which can be improved by some of the articles that have been published in the Journal. In other instances, the thoughts and ideas of others can be built upon in order to further define an individual’s belief of crime and the criminal element. By establishing a theory with supporting elements, it is possible for an individual that was published in the journal to be contacted and asked to help in a criminal case. In many instances, this is done on the part of the author by elaborating on the conclusions that they have come to in their article or journal pieces.

American Society of Criminology

The American Society of Criminology is one of the best references and sources of information regardless of where an individual lives and what country is maintained as their place of residence. Contrary to the implication in the name of the organization, the American Society of Criminology is actually an international organization that is open to many people. Annually, the organization hosts a general meeting, and topics are discussed that seem appropriate in which everyone can take part. The themes are generally vague, but still give way to important topics. Recently, the meeting has had the theme of “Criminology, Justice and Public Policy in the 21st Century”. Since this type of conversation topic does not limit itself geographically, anyone is free to express their concerns or issues when it comes to these matters, as they feel the public will be affected by them in this coming century.
In addition to offering annual talks for professors, legal minded individuals and other academics interested in the various aspects of criminology, the law and sociological effects as a result of crime, the American Society of Criminology is also geared towards helping these people. There are employment opportunities at the meetings as well, and on their website the American Society of Criminology actively updates their position and employment posting boards. As a result, individuals that are going to be graduating from college with a Criminology degree can find on their website a wealth of information pertaining not only to available jobs and markets, but also a resource in the form of networking with likeminded individuals.
Members of the American Society of Criminology are able to enjoy different criminology journals and a newsletter. The reading materials are helpful for all interested parties because they transmit the information that is changing and being expanded on in the legal and criminology arenas, and will often feature segments on various countries around the world. There are some specialized regiments within the Society, and members sometimes interact with each other on these specialized levels. This is again helpful for students looking to break into a specific niche after graduating and those who are particularly interested in specific areas of criminology. One of the main functions of the Society is to educate people and investigate the many ways in which crime, the criminal element and society are related and dependent upon one another in various manners. They are open to all willing individuals and encourage interested parties to join or investigate their organization at any point in time.
Within the Society there is an Executive Board. This is made up of the President, the President Elect, the Immediate past President, as well as the Vice President and the Vice President Elect. Those positions are elected. There are also appointed officers, and these positions are made up of the executive secretary, as well as the treasurer and the editor for one of the Criminology Journals, known as Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Six Executive Counselors are also added to the board. These are the individuals that run the society on the whole; those who form policies, determine the specifics of the Annual Meeting, and ratify the Society’s budget.

The Criminology World

When people look into criminology, they may initially be surprised by how expansive the field is. Anyone that is at all associated with the scientific study of crime, the relationship between the criminal and his or her environment, and society’s reaction to crime would have some sort of placement within the scene of Criminology. In some instances, criminologists are researchers that are trying to find the common links between deviant behavior and the environment, in order to try to pinpoint what it is that causes or perpetuates crime.
There are currently a number of different theories that attempt to explain, through the process of science, what it is that causes a crime to take place. These theories began to emerge in earnest in the middle of the 1800’s. Over the course of the next 200 or so years, new theories began to spring up and eventually they began to involve genetics, hormones and biological makeup. Previously, theories of criminology rested heavily on society and the environment’s effect on the individual as a source to either push an individual into crime or away from crime.
There are three distinct schools of thought when it comes to criminology. One of the first schools of thought, the Classical school believes that utilitarian philosophy is the supporting notion of criminology. They argue that individuals have free will and can decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. The hedonistic, or self-indulgent, side of the body must be balanced against the rational of the individual. When the hedonistic side wins, crime may ensue. Rational is the side of the individual that would consider the penalty of the crime and, if the punishment is severe enough, is believed to be the piece of the individual that would keep them from crime by looking at the costs. Positivists are those who believe that the factors that contribute to the criminal’s propensity to go against the law do not rest within their own control. Rather, elements such as society or the person’s chemical makeup do.
These are things that are considered to be outside the control of the individual, but are still things that may play what Positivists claim as the biggest part of the responsibility when a criminal has committed a crime. In the Chicago school of thought, individuals believe that criminals are a result of the disorganized environments from which they come. Later, this definition was extended to include the belief that older generations taught younger generations about the role of crime. It is then fair to say that these individuals believe that crime is a social occurrence only where the social makeup of the area is broken down and unequal.
Crime is often considered to be a blemish when it comes to the society of an area. It causes people to fear when they should not have to. Criminologists are, in their own way, attempting to determine what causes a crime or instigates that type of behavior in a person in order to limit the amount of crime that takes place.

Re-Thinking Criminology Jock Young

Jock Young is a very important theorist when it comes to criminology. He has been able to contribute in a variety of different ways when it comes to how we are able to define crime as a society and what the sociological elements may be when it comes to the criminal element in a region. Many of his papers have been published in different books and journals. From there, his work has been able to influence the thinking and direction of other criminologists’ theories and ideas. For the most part, his work has always been about pushing forward with ideas and theories in order to determine the roots of crime and how to eliminate the criminal element from societies.
This is important because it would lead to the general well-being of a particular area, while individuals would be able to relax and not worry or stress about the level of crime or violence in the area. Criminology, and Jock Young, revolves around the study of how crime is created and how it interacts with society. So far, we have not been able to determine a direct cause of crime. In order to make sure that we do, criminology constantly needs to be re-addressed and thought about from different angles in order to ensure that we are one day able to come to the correct and proper conclusions that would allow our societies to operate in a more effective and efficient manner, free of violent crime.
Different perspectives need to be used when viewing criminology in order to keep the approached to the science fresh and always evolving. In many cases, there are a number of approaches that need to be redefined in order to make them more applicable to different societies. It is also important that individuals who study criminology do not neglect cultural or societal differences between cultures and the crime that takes place in the area that is being studied.
While one theory may work in a specific geographical area, there are different cultural and societal aspects that may make the theory null and void in another geographic location, even if the crimes are similar in both areas. Criminology needs to be rethought when looking at different societies in order to make sure that there are the proper distinctions placed on the culture of the crime scene. Some other factors that may be important when looking at the ways in which the criminal element and the culture or society interacts would be in regards to gender, age and the type of crime that is being committed. These may seem like variables in the science of studying crime and society, but there are many reasons to believe that these differences may formulate completely different outcomes as a result.
In addition, there are some people that believe it would be more applicable to look at how a person maintains a non-deviant lifestyle as opposed to how a person might become a criminal. These are just some of the ways in which it can help to readdress criminology and crime in order to come to different conclusions about how we interact and function within the world when it comes to morals and non-deviant living.

Paradigms in Criminology

In the Oxford Handbook of Criminology, there is a chapter in the book that was written by Jock Young. This chapter is entitled “Recent Paradigms in Criminology”. This piece of work is used by many people in order to take a critical look at criminology and the ways in which crime is affected by society and other influences. There is a particular influence that is placed on the society in which a crime takes place. In some areas the structure and organization which supports crime and the criminals, while in other areas there is more of an emphasis that is placed on the disorganization of society as a major factor in the perpetuation of crime in the area. In order to limit crime, it is important that individuals within a society put forth the effort to understand what it is that causes crime and the release of the criminal element into the culture or society.
Jock Young’s chapter is a very important piece of the Oxford Handbook of Criminology. In many ways the entire books is an fundamental theory compellation for the United Kingdom, but Young’s chapter of recent paradigms in criminology helps readers and academics understand the new ways in which crime has changed or evolved over time. In addition, there are a number of ways in which differences in society and culture have shaped the ways in which individuals view the criminal elements in their society and the types of crimes that may take place within the region.
Many things may help to bring forth a deviant behavior from a particular individual, but many people are interested in learning how these elements may incite one person to commit a crime, while another person may experience those same elements and have no inclination to act out with deviant behavior against the society in which they are located.
In addition, it can be very helpful and effective for individuals to look at different individualizing factors. Some of these factors include the gender of a person, their age and their social class. These things may not initially seem to have an effect on criminology and the crimes that take place in an area, but the science of criminology has roots that incorporate these differences in important ways. Some people believe that there are a number of instances in which the gender of a person is ignored when it comes to crimes and criminology.
There are a number of instances in which the male perspective in applied to all accounts of crime, regardless of whether or not the crime was committed by a male or a female criminal. Because of this, it is important for us to step back and look at the aspects to consider in order to accurately formulate theories in the field of criminology that are better and more complete. Jock Young is able to show many different ways in which this can be done by looking at new paradigms in Criminology that can be used by individuals who are interested in developing new theories and ideas.

Postmodern Criminology

One of the most current theories to be designed within the science of criminology would be those that adhere to the postmodern perspective. When it comes to postmodern criminology, one of the most basic beliefs and supposititious is that not only is crime the result of the social interactions in an area, which is the foundation of most conflict theories in criminology, but also that the social context will play a part on the outcome of a situation as well. This extends on the conflict theories that were created, which suggest that the criminal is responsible for his or her own actions, and that the deviant behavior of the individual is what caused them to go against the social norms that have been established by the ruling government. By expanding upon theories that have already been created, it is possible for individuals to evolve the beliefs more and hopefully get closer to the truth of identifying how a criminal is created and what effects this has on individuals and the society at large.
Postmodern criminology supporters will look at a crime or criminal action and will go on to ask a very important question. Was the crime a result of the environment that exists in the society where the crime was committed? By identifying whether or not the culture was responsible for the crime or not, it is possible to learn more concretely how different instances in an individual’s life will affect them. In some cases, individuals are forced to go against the normal responses to particular situations. There are many times in which an individual may have to kill another person, and while this type of violence is rarely enjoyed, it can be a last resort for certain people. A good example of this having occurred would be to look at an instance in which a policeman had to shoot a suspect in order to save the lives of many innocent people in the immediate area. The individual policeman cannot be said to be inherently criminal or deviant, because if the shooting is justified than he had no other reaction. Even if another reaction could have occurred, it may not have been as successful, beneficial or helpful to the individuals that were also involved in the situation. In making the decision to stop the shooter in the illustrated situation, the policeman stepped beyond the ordinarily imposed social norms that would define murder. Instead, he is more likely to be seen as providing a service to the individuals that were being threatened in the situation.
By building and rebuilding social contexts and responses, as a whole we can work together to create a better society. Within a better society, there will be less criminal elements to distract the public. This is because the responses that we develop will be more likely to benefit others in addition to ourselves in an honest form. When the society is more stable and healthy the criminal element will not be as prevalent, which is one of the important building blocks of postmodern criminology theories.

Victimology vs. Criminology

All too often, society is inclined to allow criminals to receive leniency for their crimes as a result of the environment in which a person may have existed. Even if the criminal was not influenced by their environment to commit the crime, the criminal is liable to adopt the persona of the victim in order to gain sympathy. This is often successful because when more well-off individuals are in the presence of those that are considered to be less fortunate, they may feel guilt. In many cases, this guilt is not necessary. However, if an individual begins to express their opinion that by adopting the role of a victim the criminal is dodging the responsibility of the crime, they will likely be criticized greatly for their thoughts.
Victimology, even if it is sincere, is often a way in which individuals justify a crime to themselves and to others. For example, one of the most commonly held beliefs within the United States of America is that of the great American dream, in which everyone is happy, living in a nice house and the parents have stable occupations making a comfortable living for their families. This does not at all reflect the reality of inner city slums and poor rural areas. By clinging to the belief that no matter what, even without trying in some cases, individuals deserve to experience the American dream, they may be inclined to take what they feel they deserve rather than try to work for it. Some people will rationalize that they have no means to work for this dream, and they had no choice but to act out in the way that they did. However, this blaming of society does not change the reality of the situations. By allowing one person to get away with a crime because of a victim mentality would be a slap in the face to the people that do work to succeed.
Herein lays the most important parallel between victimology and Criminology. While it is simple to blame society for one’s troubles, this does not begin to solve the problem. Individuals from all sides need to think about how the society may impact the role of the criminal and to take steps in order to change things. This way, when an individual tries to adopt a victim mentality, we can state as a society that there were other options. By outlining the different options in such a setting, even more people can be exposed to the ways in which society is working to stabilize equality between different categories of individuals and work to reduce crime as a product of environment or surroundings. Criminology works to examine how society and the criminal interact, and this needs to be looked at under extreme scrutiny in order to find the causes of problems and work towards successful solutions.
There are also instances in which those who are perceived to be in a seat of power will become corrupt. It is important to look at this too. Individuals may attempt to adopt a victim role in this scene as well in order to appeal to the sympathetic public. Aside from sociopaths, individuals have moral standards that will tell them what is wrong and what is right. For anyone to adopt the role of the victim in order to gain sympathy is a ploy against the considerate nature of others. When it comes to crime, the people that should be playing the role of the victim are those who were victimized during the act of the crime. For individuals that live, they are many times much stronger than people may have believed them to be, and it is nauseating that the criminal will then try to adopt a role that the person they violated will not even take on in the court room.