You will soon discover the pages are intended to introduce the lay reader and the prospective student to the issues and dilemmas that exist within the discipline of criminology.
Yes, I'm positive the reader will soon discover criminology is not as straightforward a subject to distil into the basic format. It is not like sociology, psychology or politics. They are disciplines whose basic concepts and ways of thinking are agreed upon by those working within them. The debates that exist within those disciplines reflect how to make best sense of the polity on the one hand or society on the other. Well, criminology is quite different. It is an area of analysis that is not constituted by an agreed upon set of concepts or ways of thinking but it is constituted by its subject matter: crime.
Again and again we have heard, politicians, lawyers, sociologists - all claiming to have something to say about crime. You have figured out; they do not all speak the same language most of the time and do not necessarily share in the same understanding of what counts as crime. Politicians are thinking of political institutions and voting behavior. Lawyers are focused on the concepts of justice and punishment. Sociologists are engrossed on the structure of society, social class and questions of identity.
Psychologists and sociologists can talk to each other across cultures because they share in a common understanding of their discipline, criminologists do not find that so easy. The reason why this is not so straightforward for criminologists is because what might be considered to be criminal in one country is not certainly criminal in another. As a result the problems for discipline and the policies that might flow from the focus of the discipline in different countries can vary enormously. You will soon discover the topics covered in the following pages are not diverse because I'm most familiar with the discipline of criminology as applied in the United Kingdom.
Having said that, I do hope the reader gets a sense of challenge that criminology offers as a result of its diversity. A challenge that should at a minimum, leave the reader with a sense that common sense and media presentations of crime, the criminal and the victim are often misplaced.
The overall intention is to encourage the reader to think critically about what it is that the media and the politicians have to say about crime and in the thinking critically, to tempt you to read or study further the issues that the crimino-website raises for you. If you are reading this to look for answers then you are going to be disappointed!
Thanks for stopping in - the crimino roller-coaster!