The first chapter is an introduction to criminology. It tells about the basic topics and defines the basic term. From my point of view, this chapter can be divided into two subtopics, which it encompasses. Those are criminology and crime.
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I am going to start with crime since the author has done the same to give readers a better understanding of what criminology is. So, crime can be defined in many different ways and at least from four various viewpoints, which are legalistic, political, sociological, and psychological. The author gives definitions from those four perspectives, though paying particular attention to the legalistic one. From the very beginning, it is emphasized that an action is not a crime unless no law prohibits such kind of action. Further, this idea is extended by identifying the difference between crime and deviance. Indeed, these two terms are not synonyms, although they actually can overlap. While crime violates the laws, deviance only contradicts social norms.
After defining criminology (which literally can be determined as a study of crime) and criminologists, the author returns to the topic of crime, exploring it deeper. He states, “crime does not occur in a vacuum” (Schmalleger 16).
Thus, we can identify its participants, who interact with each other, its causes, and its consequences. Besides the evident parties of any crime, which are an offender and a victim, other sides contribute to the crime. Those are the Criminal Justice System and society. The role of society in crime is rather interesting because it is not obvious. For example, a simple TV program or popular music can become the cause of violence, and the offender would not even realize it.
I like that this chapter provides the readers with various definitions, viewpoints, and perspectives (instead of only one), as well as gives a lot of graphics and schemes, which makes the information comprehensible.
Schmalleger, Frank. Criminology Today. 7th ed. 2015. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education. Print.