The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals  book cover
2nd Edition

The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals

ISBN 9781412865364
Published May 15, 2017 by Routledge
188 Pages

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Book Description

Lonnie H. Athens’ path-breaking work examines a problem that has baffled experts and the general public alike: How does a person become a predatory violent criminal?

In the original edition, the process that Athens labeled “violentization” encompassed four stages: brutalization, defiance, dominative engagements, and virulency. In this edition, Athens identifies a new final stage, violent predation, as the culmination of the violent criminal’s development. He uses vivid first-person accounts gleaned from in-depth interviews and participant observation of nascent and hardened violent criminals to back up his theory.

In this vastly expanded edition, Athens examines how his thinking and ideas have evolved over the past thirty years and renames and clarifies two stages of development. Athens also addresses, for the first time, criticisms of his original theory. Milestones of this important work are discussed, as well as the paradoxes surrounding its present-day status in the field of criminology. Athens proposes a revised theoretical model that will be useful for classroom use, as well as for interested general readers and professionals.

Table of Contents


Foreword to the Transaction Edition by Richard Rhodes vii

Introduction to the Transaction Edition by Lonnie Athens xiii

Acknowledgments xxvii

1. Dangerous Violent Criminals 1

2. The Key to the Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals 7

3. The Research Rationale and Strategy 17

4. Stage One: Brutalization: Violent Subjugation 25

5. Stage One: Brutalization: Personal Horrification 35

6. Stage One: Brutalization: Violent Coaching 43

7. Stage Two: Belligerency 55

8. Stage Three: Violent Performances 61

9. Stage Four: Virulency 69

10. Theoretical Implications 77

11. Policy Implications 87

Notes 97

Bibliography 101

Afterword to the Transaction Edition by Lonnie Athens 103

Index 155

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Lonnie H. Athens is a professor of criminal justice at Seton Hall University. He is the author of Domination and Subjugation in Everday Life and Acts of Actors Revisited. He recieved the George Herbert Mead Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction for lifetime achievement.


“The most far-reaching, provocative, and profound analysis of violent conduct to be found in the criminological literature.”

—Norman K. Denzin, author of The Research Act

“Represents a profoundly creative and original theoretical contribution, on a par with any other criminological development this century. It is more empirically, methodologically, and theoretically sophisticated than most of the erstwhile ‘famous’ researches of the ‘big names’ in the criminological field.”

—John M. Johnson, Symbolic Interaction