Introduction

Authored by: Claire Hamilton , Deirdre Healy

The Routledge Handbook of Irish Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138019430
eBook ISBN: 9781315779003
Adobe ISBN: 9781317698173

10.4324/9781315779003.intro

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Abstract

With criminology ‘booming’ around the world (Bosworth and Hoyle, 2011), the position of Irish criminology may appear somewhat anomalous. Long dubbed an ‘absentee discipline’ (O’Donnell, 2005: 99), accounts of the development of criminology, at least in the Republic, have frequently sought to emphasise its embryonic nature, the lack of a proper infrastructure and the limited number of academic positions in the specialism (e.g. Rolston and Tomlinson, 1982; O’Donnell, 2005; Kilcommins et al., 2004). With a slow but steady increase in the number of programmes offering criminology and criminal justice, however, and a growing number of academics and postgraduate students working in the area, it may well be time to revisit the Cinderella status of Irish criminology. Indeed, the impetus to write this book derived substantially from a desire to collate and showcase that burgeoning knowledge, particularly those accounts which go beyond purely local imperatives to engage issues of general interest in criminology. We hope in this introductory chapter to provide a brief history of ideas of the discipline as well as a critical perspective on the position of Irish criminology today. Before we undertake a fuller discussion of Irish criminology, it is necessary to provide a brief overview of the origins and development of the criminal justice systems in the two jurisdictions for those readers less familiar with its history. Having cleared the ground thus, the potential contribution of Irish criminology to broader theory and comparative criminology is discussed, highlighting in particular the unique features which may contradict received wisdom.

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