Crime and Criminology: Free the Texts

Although criminology is a unique field of study focused on all things crime and criminal (yes, really), it invariably incorporates all kinds of sociological and psychological ideas, concepts and theories that makes criminology texts a potentially useful source of information.

Mainly for teachers but, in some instances, a-level students as well.

For this reason – and having absolutely nothing to do with the fact that in the course of finding all kinds of out-of-print sociology and psychology textbooks I stumbled across their criminological counterparts – I thought I’d do a post dedicated to all-things-criminal, albeit in the shape of a few orphaned texts that someone might find useful.


As with previous posts, only two criteria have been applied to the texts: that they were published “this century” (and depending upon which century you think you’re currently living, this may leave a little wiggle room) and they’re out-of-print. While I may or may not have collected a great many books that are currently in-print I’m not going to post them – presupposing I have them.

Which I most certainly don’t.


So, moving swiftly on from stuff I most-certainly haven’t found, to stuff I most-certainly have:

Criminology: This 2006 text covers a lot of crime-related stuff (the clue is in the title) that’s not going to interest a-level social scientists, but there are areas (such as theories of crime, white-collar crime, hate crime, transnational terrorism…) that will.

Explaining Crime and Its Context: The 7th edition of this text appeared in 2010 and has a couple of areas of major interest – crime statistics, the social distribution of crime, theories of crime – and some areas of minor interest (victimless crime, for example). The chapter on Crimes without Victims and Victims without Crimes is interesting but probably peripheral to most a-level sociology teaching.

The Criminology of White-Collar Crime: Just about everything you might conceivably want to know about White-Collar crime (and plenty you probably don’t) explored in a variety of chapters by different authors in this 2009 tome. Probably more a reference guide for teachers, though.

Criminology: A Sociological Introduction: Loads of chapters to interest sociologists from the relatively standard stuff (Functionalism), to the less standard stuff (Postmodernism) and the areas (green criminology, Terrorism, State Crime and Human Rights…) that most current textbooks tend to treat very lightly.

Sociology of Deviant Behavior: As the title says, this – the 14th edition published in 2011 – focuses squarely on the concept of deviance – from explanations to types and taking in the concept of stigma for good measure. There is, however, a chapter on deviance and crime.

Globalization & Crime: A useful book for teachers with a bit of time on their hands because this 2007 text goes into a lot of detail about various aspects of criminal globalisation.

Sage Dictionary of Criminology: Although this just sneaks into the 21st century, it’s a dictionary so that probably doesn’t matter too much. It’s quite comprehensive, though, with each entry given a short overview followed by an analysis of it’s distinctive features and a brief evaluation.


Aside from complete textbooks there are also a large number of “Crime and Deviance” specific chapters kicking around the web. These are usually a sample chapter or two a publisher has spat out in a completely misguided attempt to get you to buy the complete text.

As you might expect, it’s an eclectic collection consisting of some general chapters that cover a lot of ground in a little detail and some specific chapters that cover a little ground in a lot of detail.

Some of the chapters are relatively old but generally useful – you just need to keep in mind any statistical data will be a little dated – while others are brand spanking new as they try to lure you into buying the complete textbook with their fancy layouts and up-to-the-minute information (or as near to it as you can get in a printed textbook. Spoiler Alert: not very).

Crime and Deviance Topic Companion: This sample of the complete Companion covers Functionalist and Marxist explanations and is basically a textbook example of exam technique: a bit of knowledge about something, such as Durkheim on Deviance, followed by some well signposted evaluation. The full version covers every part of the AQA Spec. but costs £30 (plus VAT!) – which is a bit steep for what is effectively a single chapter that doesn’t really go much beyond the textbook you already have.

Sociology AQA Year 2: A sample section on Functionalism from Chapman et al’s latest text. We know it’s a sample because it’s got SAMPLE stamped unobtrusively across every page. Quite what the point of that should be, I don’t know. You’ve probably got the whole textbook in any case.

Crime and Deviance 2nd edition: The opening chapter – an Introduction to Crime and Deviance – of a book that might be by Lawson and Heaton circa early 2000’s. On the other hand, it might not. Either way it’s an interesting rather than necessarily illuminating read.

Deviance: This sample chapter from what looks like a recent (American) textbook covers a wide range of deviance-related topics: definitions, theories, crime demographics, hate crime, intersectionality, the criminal justice system. If you’re not teaching an American Specification some of this will probably be less-than-useful – but having said that there’s some stuff here that’s universal and it looks very nice. What more could you ask for?

Deviance: Another sample chapter, presumably from some textbook or other, this covers all of the major areas from defining deviance through a variety of theories (consensus, conflict and interactionist), to the criminal justice system and crime statistics.

Media and Crime: A couple of chapters from what I think is Yvonne Jewkes’ “Media and Crime”. The first, Theorizing Media and Crime (2010), looks at Media Effects and various theoretical explanations thereof (from strain theory to cultural criminology) while the second, The Construction of Crime News (2015), focuses on News Values and the production and consumption of News.

Deviance and Social Control: Although I’ve no idea where this chapter comes from, it offers a standard coverage of all the old favourites (defining deviance, theories and crime statistics) but in a lot more detail than is usually the case – it’s a very wordy chapter with nary a picture in sight.

Crime data and crime trends: A whole chapter devoted to “measuring crime” may not be everyone’s sense of fun and I get the impression this is from an early 21st century text. The data cited throughout is a long way out-of-date now. Having said this there’s stuff here, such as the reliability and validity of official statistics, that’s largely timeless.

Introducing the Sociology of Crime and Deviance: As the title suggests, this (partial) chapter looks at how we define deviance and crime. And that’s your lot, basically. There is, however, an extensive index included, presumably so that you can see what you’re missing if you don’t buy the book.

Victims of White-Collar and Corporate Crime: This chapter by Hazel Croall provides a useful and quite in-depth overview of white-collar and corporate crime.

Victims, Crime and Society: This chapter has the same look-and-feel as Croall’s “White-Collar” chapter but whether it’s from the same book or different editions I don’t know. Something I do know is that the chapter offers extensive coverage (probably too much for a-level) of crime and victimization.

White Collar Crime and Criminal Careers: This 2001 chapter goes into a great deal of detail about White-Collar crime, without even a sniff of a picture to break-up the text. Be that as it may, if you’re looking for background information on this topic for your teaching it may well be worth a look. Be warned, however, it does stop rather abruptly mid-sentence.

Online Crime: A free chapter taken from the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Criminology (2016) that provides a neat and current overview of various types of internet and computer-related crime. This is more for teachers who want to buff-up their knowledge of online crime.

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