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Criminology for Crime-Heads  

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Criminology is defined as the study of crime and criminals. The term 'Criminology' dates back to the 1880s, but there is debate as to who used it first: Italian Raffaele Garofolo or French anthropologist Paul Topinard. While the definition above is the most basic, there is much debate in the field of criminology in how to best define the term due to differences in method of study.


Brown, S. E. (2005). Criminology: Definition. In Encyclopedia of Criminology (Vol. 1, pp. 339-340). New York, NY: Routledge.


Criminology v. Criminal Justice

According to J. Mitchell Miller, the "issue of criminology as a social science stems from both its embeddedness in sociology and the erronous assumption that criminology and the complimentary field of criminal justice are synonymous."¹

The goal of Criminologists is "to understand the causes of criminal actions," whether they are biological, genetic, or social.² 

Criminal Justice focuses on "the processes and institutions developed by a society to deal with, control, and mitigate criminal acts and their individual and social consequences..." ²

¹ Miller, J. M. (2005). Criminology as Social Science. In Encyclopedia of Criminology (Vol. 1, pp. 337-338). New York, NY: Routledge.

² Marenin, O. (2005). Criminology and Criminal Justice: A Comparison. In Encyclopedia of Criminology (Vol. 1, pp. 331-332). New York, NY: Routledge.

Oral History Of Criminology Project

The Oral History of Criminology is a growing collection of video interviews with professionals to record the evolution of criminology. 


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Welcome to our libguide. Our guide includes information on resources related to criminology in pop culture. We've seen all the terrible crimes displayed on television, movies, and even music- but have you ever wondered how it effects the audience's behavior? Browse through our libguide to find academic sources, websites, and research paper assistance. If you have any questions or if you notice any of the links aren't active, please don't hesitate to email.


History of Criminology

Cover Art
Criminals and Their Scientists - Peter Becker (Editor); Richard F. Wetzell (Editor)
ISBN: 9780521120739
Publication Date: 2009-10-01
This book presents research on the history of criminology from the late-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century in Western Europe (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy) and in Argentina, Australia, Japan, and the United States. Approaching the history of criminology as a history of science and practice, the essays examine the discourse on crime and criminals that surfaced as part of different discourses and practices, including the activities of the police and the courts, parliamentary debates, media reports, as well as the writings of moral statisticians, jurists, and medical doctors. In addition, the book seeks to elucidate the relationship between criminological discourse and politics, society, and culture by providing a comparative study of the worldwide reception of Cesare Lombroso's criminal-anthropological ideas.

Cover Art
The Origins and Growth of Criminology - Piers Beirne
ISBN: 1855214180
Publication Date: 1994-01-01
This is the first in a series concerned with criminology and criminal justice. Topics include penological reform and the myth of Beccaria, varieties of enlightenment, the rise of positivist criminology, and the growth of criminology in the United States between 1880 and 1945.

Cover Art
The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America - Wilbur R. Miller (Editor)
ISBN: 9781412988766
Publication Date: 2012-08-10
Several encyclopedias overview the contemporary system of criminal justice in America, but full understanding of current social problems and contemporary strategies to deal with them can come only with clear appreciation of the historical underpinnings of those problems. Thus, this four-volume work surveys the history and philosophy of crime, punishment, and criminal justice institutions in America from colonial times to the present. It covers the whole of the criminal justice system, from crimes, law enforcement and policing, to courts, corrections and human services. Among other things, this encyclopedia will: explicate philosophical foundations underpinning our system of justice; chart changing patterns in criminal activity and subsequent effects on legal responses; identify major periods in the development of our system of criminal justice; and explore evolving debates and conflicts on how best to address issues of crime and punishment. Its signed entries provide the historical context for students to better understand contemporary criminological debates and the contemporary shape of the U.S. system of law and justice.


From a Professor

Video is from the University of Maine, Augusta, Criminology Department for first year criminology students, disucssing what criminology is. 

Subject Guide

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Sarah Slominski

Subject Guide

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Brittany Champion

About the Author

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Ulana Holtz

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