Public Criminology?: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Public Criminology?

1st Edition

By Ian Loader, Richard Sparks


208 pages

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Paperback: 9780415445504
pub: 2010-07-05
Hardback: 9780415445498
pub: 2010-07-05
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203846049
pub: 2013-05-13
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What is the role and value of criminology in a democratic society? How do, and how should, its practitioners engage with politics and public policy? How can criminology find a voice in an agitated, insecure and intensely mediated world in which crime and punishment loom large in government agendas and public discourse? What collective good do we want criminological enquiry to promote?

In addressing these questions, Ian Loader and Richard Sparks offer a sociological account of how criminologists understand their craft and position themselves in relation to social and political controversies about crime, whether as scientific experts, policy advisors, governmental players, social movement theorists, or lonely prophets. They examine the conditions under which these diverse commitments and affiliations arose, and gained or lost credibility and influence. This forms the basis for a timely articulation of the idea that criminology’s overarching public purpose is to contribute to a better politics of crime and its regulation.

Public Criminology? offers an original and provocative account of the condition of, and prospects for, criminology which will be of interest not only to those who work in the fields of crime, security and punishment, but to anyone interested in the vexed relationship between social science, public policy and politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Public Criminology? 1. The Condition of Contemporary Criminology 2. The Public Social Science Debate 3. Criminology in a Hot Climate 4. Cooling Devices 5. Criminology as a Democratic Under-Labourer.

About the Authors

Ian Loader is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford. He is author of Civilizing Security, with Neil Walker (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and is currently researching and writing about markets for security commodities.

Richard Sparks is Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh and a Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research ( His current interests include comparative and trans-national aspects of public policy on crime and punishment.

About the Series

Key Ideas in Criminology

Key Ideas in Criminology explores the major concepts, issues, debates and controversies in criminology. The series provides authoritative essays on central topics within the broader area of criminology. Each book adopts a strong individual ‘line’, constituting original essays rather than literature surveys and offers lively and agenda setting treatments of their subject matter.

These books will appeal to students, teachers and researchers in criminology, sociology, social policy, cultural studies, law and political science.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology