1st Edition

Against Cybercrime Toward a Realist Criminology of Computer Crime

By Kevin F. Steinmetz Copyright 2024
    294 Pages
    by Routledge

    294 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book advances a theoretically informed realist criminology of computer crime. Looking beyond current strategies of online crime control, this book argues for a new sort of policy that addresses the root causes of computer crime and criminality, reduces the harms experienced by the victims of such crimes, and does not unduly contribute to state and corporate power and surveillance.

    Drawing both on the proponents of realist criminology and on those who have leveled critiques of the approach, Steinmetz illustrates the contours of a realist criminology of computer crime by considering definitions of harm with online crime, the idiosyncrasies of online locality and community, the social relations of computer crime, the tension between piecemeal reform and structural changes, and other matters. Furthermore, Steinmetz surveys the methodological dimensions of computer crime research, offers a critique of positivist “computational criminology,” and posits an agenda for computer crime policy.

    Against Cybercrime is an essential reading for all those engaged with cybercrime, realist criminology, criminological theory, and social harm online.



    PART I: Foundations

    Realist Criminology: An Overview

    Eschewing Critical Realism

    Embracing Pragmatism

    PART II: A Realist Criminology of Computer Crime

    Toward a Realist Criminology of Computer Crime

    The Mundanity of Computational Criminology

    Realist Criminological Methods

    What Is to be Done about Computer Crime?

    Where Do We Go from Here?



    Kevin F. Steinmetz is Professor at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Kansas State University, USA.

    'Steinmetz performs two impressive feats here – revitalizing realist criminology through an incisive engagement with pragmatism, and then mobilizing it to develop a digital criminology that is both realistic about online harms and critical about the workings of power. The result? A major advance in our understanding of crime and technology.'

    Majid Yar, Professor Emeritus of Criminology, Lancaster University

    'Intellectually generous and seductively synthetic, Steinmetz’s Against Cybercrime dares to imagine a new criminology of online worlds. Rejecting rigidity and abstraction, he offers instead a powerful mix of realist criminology, cultural criminology, and pragmatism designed to situate the particulars of digital crime within larger contemporary forces.'

    Jeff Ferrell, Author of Drift: Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge.

    'Against Cybercrime is well-thought-out, provocatively written, and provides a timely and exciting contribution to an under-theorized area in criminology. Steinmetz’s "realist criminology of computer crimes" implores us to address the root causes of crime through harm-reduction strategies that avoid increasing state power and surveillance. This is an important book - a must-read for academics and policymakers, alike.'

    Jayne Mooney, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, CUNY

    'Against Cybercrime engages readers in a frank, compelling, and accessible conversation about the need to take computer crimes seriously while taking privacy, freedom, and related matters seriously. Readers will walk away with a greater understanding of the challenges associated with computer crime and demand more concrete solutions, as Steinmetz proposes, than what other cybercriminology perspectives currently provide.'

    Jordana Navarro, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, The Citadel