The science of criminology is at a crossroads. Despite accumulating a dizzying array of facts about crime, the field has yet to identify a body of theories that allows for the adequate prediction, explanation, and control of phenomena of central interest to criminologists. Mechanistic Criminology locates this problem within the field’s failure to conform to the expectations of scientific fields and reliance on antiquated methods of theory construction. The authors contend that this failure has resulted in an inability of criminologists to engage in theory falsification and competition—two central activities of science—that produce the forms of reliable knowledge that are unique to scientific fields.
Mechanistic Criminology advocates for the adoption of a mechanistic mode of theorizing to allow criminologists to engage in theory falsification and competition and ignite rapid scientific discovery in the field. The proposed method is the same one employed within the biological sciences, which is responsible for their rapid scientific progress in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Should criminologists adopt this mechanistic approach, criminology could experience the same scientific revolution that is occurring in the biological sciences, and criminologists would generate the knowledge necessary for the prediction, explanation, and control of crime.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
Part I: Scientific Criminology
Chapter 1: What is Science
Chapter 2: Assessing the Properties of Scientific Criminology
Chapter 3: Progress within Scientific Fields
Chapter 4: Scientific Progress Within Criminology
Part II: Mechanistic Science
Chapter 5: Mechanistic Explanations
Chapter 6: Mechanism Schemas
Chapter 7: Biosocial Criminology
Chapter 8: Analytical Criminology
Part III: Mechanistic Translations of Criminological Theories
Chapter 9: Social Learning Theory
Chapter 10: Social Control Theory
Chapter 11: General Strain Theory
Part IV: Mechanistic Criminology
Chapter 12: Nondeclarative Memory
Chapter 13: Declarative Memory
Chapter 14: Theory of Mind
Chapter 15: Conclusion
K. Ryan Proctor is Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Avila University. His current research focuses on the development and application of theoretical methods to promote scientific progress within the social sciences, as well as understanding how technological advances alter social structures in ways that facilitate or inhibit crime.
Richard E. Niemeyer is a co-founder and former Deputy Director of the Institute for the Applications of Mathematics and Integrated Science at the University of California, Riverside. His research broadly focuses on increasing systemicity between mathematics, the life sciences, and the social sciences. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.