Most helpful critical review
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A reasonable but flawed introduction
on 10 July 2008
Professor Walklate's introduction to the field of criminology promises to be "easy to read, concise and supported by a glossary of terms and pointers to further reading". The first is sadly wide of the mark, though the latter claims are substantiated by a reading of the text.
Criminology is a complex field and Professor Walklate's range of reference is helpful in breaking down the completing claims of various groups (sociologists, politicians, the judiciary etc) and their definition of the field. The use of case studies is also helpful, locating the sometimes obtuse academic praxis of the subject in readily identifiable narratives which shed an interesting light on both those narratives and the subject itself. As a basic guide, then, this is informative.
Unfortunately, the writing itself is, at times, shockingly bad. Whether this is the fault of the author herself or the editors at Routledge is of course unclear, but that such obfuscating and grammatically erroneous writing should be published is a sad reflection on both parties. Some examples from the first 15 pages:
"Psychologists, for example, explore how the mind works, sociolgists are interested in social structures, economics in economic systems..." (3)
"...pointing not only to its multi-disciplinarity but also to its theoretical diversity. Thus emphasising the highly contested nature of the discipline..." (7)
"However in order to do that it is important..." (7)
"Criminology embraced Comte's understanding of positivism and its historically significant links with policy; that is in wanting to manage social problems." (8)
"That understanding of positivism; a concern to measure the..." (8)
"...can still be felt contemporarily in two ways; first in the continuing presence of biological positivism and second in ideas around who is, and who is not, likely to be criminal: the Criminal Other." (9-10)
And, worst of all:
"Thinking about this categorisation critically, it is possible to see that Von Hentig thought the normal person was the white, heterosexual male. Rather like in the work of Lombroso discussed earlier. Von Hentig does not suggest that there is a 'born victim', however, that parallels with the ideas of Lombroso." (15)
Professor Walklate, or her editors, seem sadly unable to identify incomplete sentences lacking a main verb, to use the semi-colon with any precision or accuracy, or to, at times, write with the clarity that a 'basic' introduction demands or that the back-cover spiel promises. It is very sad that an otherwise helpful book is so badly written that it fails to deliver its information in a readable format, frustrating this reader time and again.