Review Essay: What is the Sociology of Crime? Disciplinary Conspicuousnesses and Qualitative Links

Ralf Ottermann

Abstract


The book "Kriminalsoziologie" (Sociology of Crime) by Stefanie EIFLER is about the emergence and development of the sociology of crime and current sociological approaches to criminality. The author criticizes the heterogeneity and disconnected-ness of the various sociological theories of crime. Nevertheless, she succeeds in systematically showing the connecting lines and the similarities and differences between the theories by classifying them as "consensus versus conflict models of society" and "macro- versus micro-sociological approaches". Her assessment of the theories' empirical evidence turns out to be predominantly negative. She pleads for an integration of the theories into a meta-theoretical macro-micro-macro-model of the sociological explanation of crime. This reviewer supports such a macro-micro-macro-model, however, he looks at the book from the point of view of a social constructivist within qualitative research. From this particular viewpoint, the book is relatively unhelpful. The reviewer refers, therefore, to social constructivism and qualitative research by means of other literature. Like other (German) introductory books on the sociology of crime or deviant behavior, the media unit at hand also proves to be insufficient in regard to the presentation of the history, methods, yields and background theories of qualitative crime research. A systematic compilation of the various qualitative approaches to the phenomena of criminality and deviant behavior would be a rewarding task for the future.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0302103

Keywords


criminality; criminology; sociology of crime; social constructivism; deviant behaviour; social control; labeling approach; Chicago School; macro-micro-macro-model; utilitarian theory of action; patterns of interpretation