IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/qsh/wpaper/358031.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Word Criminology: A Philology and a Definition

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey R. Wilson

Abstract

This essay looks into the past of criminology as a way to think about its future. I take a philological approach to the word criminology, looking at the etymology and history of that word, to argue for a new definition of the field: Criminology is the systematic study of crime, criminals, criminal law, criminal justice, and criminalization. I expand and explain this definition with respect to some common and (I argue) misguided dictates of criminology as it is traditionally understood. Specifically, I argue that criminology is usually but not necessarily academic and scientific, which means that criminology can be public and/or humanistic. I arrive at these thoughts by presenting some early English instances of the word criminology which predate the attempt to theorize a field of criminology in Italy and France in the 1880s, and I offer some new readings of those Italian and French texts. These philological analyses then come into conversation with some twentieth-century attempts to define the field and some twenty-first-century innovations in an effort to generate a definition of criminology that is responsive to the diversity of criminology in both its original formation and its ongoing transformations. Thus, the virtue of this new understanding of criminology is its inclusiveness: It normalizes unorthodox criminological research, which opens up new possibilities for jobs and funding in the name of criminology, which holds the promise of new perspectives on crime, new theories of criminology, and new policies for prevention and treatment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey R. Wilson, "undated". "The Word Criminology: A Philology and a Definition," Working Paper 358031, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:358031
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://wilson.fas.harvard.edu//node/358031
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:358031. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard Brandon). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cbrssus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.