The opening unit of this text provides a framework for studying criminology and a foundation for the units to follow. Criminology is an expansive interdisciplinary field. By consensus, although not unanimity, contemporary criminology is the scientific study of crime and especially its causes. But across time, understanding of both crime and how it should be scrutinized have shifted dramatically. Those changes alone are critical; thus, a generous dose of history is incorporated in Criminology: Explaining Crime and its Context. Indeed, one of the premises of this text is that appreciating history is paramount in understanding where we are and where we may go.
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