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In recent years the life-course perspective has become a popular theoretical orientation toward crime. Yet despite its growing importance in the field of criminology, most textbooks give it only cursory treatment. Crime and the Life Course: An Introduction by Michael L. Benson provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary research and theory on the life-course approach to crime. The book emphasizes a conceptual understanding of this approach. A special feature is the integration of qualitative and quantitative research on criminal life histories.
* Provides an overview of the life course approach and describes the major concepts and issues in life-course theory as it applies to criminology.
* Reviews evidence on biological and genetic influences on crime.
* Reviews research on the role of the family in crime and juvenile delinquency.
* Provides a detailed discussion of the criminological life-course theories of Moffitt, Hagan, Sampson and Laub, and others.
* Discusses the connections between youthful crime and adult outcomes in education, occupation, and marriage.
* Presents an application of the life-course approach to white-collar crime.
* Discusses how macro sociological and historical developments have influenced the shape of the life course in American society as it relates to patterns in crime.
Chapter One: An Overview of Life Course Theory and Research
Four Million Babies
The Life Course Perspective
Criminal Careers, Career Criminals and the Rise of the Life Course Approach
Important Theoretical Concepts and Issues
Major Developmental Studies
Plan of the Book
Chapter Two: Biology and the Family: Initial Trajectories
Starting Behind the Starting Line: Biology and Crime
Behavioral Genetics and Antisocial Behavior
Biological Bases of Delinquent Behavior
Families: Structure, Support, and Discipline
How Early Can Trouble Start?
Chapter Three: Adolescence and Crime: Continuity, Change, and Cumulating Disadvantages
Societal Age-Crime Patterns
Adolescent Trajectories in Crime: Discovery of the Chronic Offender
Explaining Offending Trajectories
Terrie Moffitt: Complementary Pair of Developmental Theories
Robert Sampson and John Laub: Age Graded Theory of Informal Social Control
John Hagan: Criminal Capital and Capital Disinvestment
Terence P. Thornberry: Interactional Theory of Delinquency
Delbert Elliott: Integrated Theory
Chapter Four: Adulthood and Aging Criminals
Cumulative Disadvantage: Adult Consequences of Juvenile Crime
Marriage, Children, and Family
Chapter Five: White-Collar Crime and the Life Course
The Concept of White-Collar Crime
Applying the Life Course Approach to White-Collar Offenders
The Social Locations of White-Collar and Common Onset of Offending and Trajectories in Crime
Family Background and Educational Trajectories
Conviction as an Event in the Life Course of White-Collar Offenders
White-Collar Crime and the Life Course
Chapter Six: Historical and Structural Contexts
Overview: Four Million Babies in History
The Maturity Gap
The Prison Experiment and the War on Drugs
Public Policy, Globalization, and the Inner City
Summing Up: Crime and the Life Course
A Final Conclusion