Crime is a source of endless fascination and fear. Yet behind the apparent consensus that crime must be fought, there is considerable conflict about what should or should not be treated as criminal, and even the most shocking crimes can inspire divisive debate.
This concise book explores the seemingly simple, common-sense concept of crime revealing the huge complexities, ambiguities and tensions that lie beneath it. Criminal law is often at odds with different moral perspectives and the practices of different cultures. The mass media distort the picture profoundly, as do politicians in pursuit of law and order votes. The criminal justice system tackles only a limited range of crimes – almost entirely ones committed by the poor and relatively powerless – while often neglecting the most dangerous and harmful activities of corporations and states, from the carnage of unjust wars to the tragedies engendered by austerity. It is only by examining the multiple and varied perspectives on crime that we can begin to understand and respond appropriately to this social phenomenon.
Written by a world-leading criminologist, this insightful book will be an invaluable and captivating introduction for students and interested readers of criminology, law, sociology and politics.