Revitalizing Criminological Theory:: Towards a new Ultra-Realism, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Revitalizing Criminological Theory:

Towards a new Ultra-Realism, 1st Edition

By Steve Hall, Simon Winlow


154 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415744362
pub: 2015-05-26
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pub: 2015-05-28
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This book provides a short, comprehensive and accessible introduction to Ultra-Realism: a unique and radical school of criminological thought that has been developed by the authors over a number of years. After first outlining existing schools of thought, their major intellectual flaws and their underlying politics in a condensed guide that will be invaluable to all undergraduate and postgraduate students, Hall and Winlow introduce a number of important new concepts to criminology and suggest a new philosophical foundation, theoretical framework and research programme. These developments will enhance the discipline’s ability to explain human motivations, construct insightful representations of reality and answer the fundamental question of why some human beings risk inflicting harm on others to further their own interests or achieve various ends.

Combining new philosophical and psychosocial approaches with a clear understanding of the shape of contemporary global crime, this book presents an intellectual alternative to the currently dominant paradigms of conservatism, neoclassicism and left-liberalism. In using an advanced conception of "harm", Hall and Winlow provide original explanations of criminal motivations and make the first steps towards a paradigm shift that will help criminology to illuminate the reality of our times.

This book is essential reading for academics and students engaged in the study of criminology, sociology, criminological theory, social theory, the philosophy of social sciences and the history of crime.


‘Steve Hall and Simon Winlow are quite simply the most important Criminologists working in Britain today. The breadth of their vision, their scholarship and the certainty of their conclusions makes them both impossible to ignore and vital to understand. Revitalizing Criminological Theory is the latest in a growing list of extraordinary, insightful, passionate and beautifully crafted works that they have produced and I urge anyone who cares about Criminology to read it.’ - Professor David Wilson, Founding Director Centre for Applied Criminology, Birmingham City University, UK

‘If you buy one criminology book this year make it Revitalizing Criminological Theory by Steve Hall and Simon Winlow. Criminological theory is at the crossroads, where bluesman Robert Johnson was supposed to have sold his soul to the devil. As the authors show in this book all previous criminology theory has sold its soul, including both neo-liberal and left liberal/postmodern criminology. If we are to move beyond this present dichotomy which has pervaded global criminology for decades, we need to follow the signpost out of this mess – it reads "ultra-realist criminology this way" and this text is its handbook.’ - Professor Steve Redhead, Faculty of Arts, Charles Sturt University, Australia

'A vital and timely contribution on why a new criminology is needed. This slim and important volume casts new theoretical light on underlying causes of neoliberal-based harms of the powerful and abject. A much needed breath of fresh thinking.' - J. Robert Lilly, Regents Professor of Sociology, Northern Kentucky University, USA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Mainstream Classical and Contemporary Theories 3. The Critical Tradition 4. The Radical Realist Response 5. Untangling the Politics of Criminological Theory 6. Ultra-Realist Criminological Theory 7. Conclusion: Approaching the Reality of Our Times.

About the Authors

Steve Hall is Professor of Criminology at Teesside University and Co-Director of the Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology. In the 1970s he was a nomadic musician, general labourer and avid reader of anything political or philosophical. In the 1980s he worked with young offenders in the deindustrializing North-East of England, and he was politically active during the steelworks and mine closures in County Durham. In the 1990s he began teaching, researching and publishing. Essentially a criminologist, he has also published in the fields of sociology, history and radical philosophy. He is author of numerous articles and Theorizing Crime and Deviance (Sage, 2012), and co-author of Violent Night (Berg, 2006), Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture (Routledge, 2008), Rethinking Social Exclusion (Sage, 2013) and Riots and Political Protest (Routledge, 2015). He is co-editor of New Directions in Criminology (Routledge, 2012).

Simon Winlow is Professor of Criminology at Teesside University and Co-Director of the Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology. He completed his PhD at the University of Durham in the 1990s before commencing work as a researcher on the ESRC Violence Research Programme and a lecturer in criminology and sociology in various UK universities. He is the author of numerous articles and Badfellas (Berg, 2001), and co-author of Bouncers (Oxford University Press, 2003), Violent Night (Berg, 2006), Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture (Willan/Routledge, 2008), Rethinking Social Exclusion (Sage, 2013) and Riots and Political Protest (Routledge, 2015). He is co-editor of New Directions in Criminological Theory (Routledge, 2012) and New Directions in Crime and Deviancy (Routledge, 2012).

About the Series

New Directions in Critical Criminology

Critical criminology has gone through a number of significant changes since its birth in the early 1970s. New Directions in Critical Criminology provides authoritative original essays on major contemporary issues of central concern to critical criminologists around the world. Each book examines new areas of empirical and theoretical inquiry, and sets out an agenda for innovative progressive ways of thinking critically about crime, law, and social control.

These books are specifically designed to be useful resources for undergraduate and post-graduate students, researchers, and policy makers.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology