When humans prey on one another

Understanding the biosocial origins of victimization

Authored by: Maria Koeppel , Brian B. Boutwell , J.C. Barnes

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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Divining a clear conception of what causes crime—while elusive and still relatively opaque—has occupied the attention and captured the imagination of scholars and lay persons alike. A cacophony of voices has weighed in over the past few centuries. Everyone, it seems, has some idea about why criminals commit crime, and explanations range from external forces that compel criminality (i.e. socio-cultural theories; Cohen, 1955; Anderson, 1999) to internal propulsions toward antisocial behavior (i.e. motivational and psychological theories; Moffitt, 1993; Patterson et al., 1990). Slowly, however, scholars of crime have placed a growing recognition on the fact that criminal behavior is often a two-sided equation involving both a perpetrator and a victim. For the past several decades, theories of victimization have metastasized into the mainstream and found their way into the prominent journals in the field. There is a stark reality, though, that victimologists have yet to fully address. Most of their theories might be incomplete (and in some cases, incorrect).

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