Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Crime, Theorises of the Definition of
Mark M. Lanier & Stuart Henry
Most definitions of crime have reflected particular disciplinary perspectives, with their tendency to amplify certain features of its nature, while diminishing the contribution of other factors and variables. For example, the legal approach to defining crime emphasizes the governmental definition of behavior as violations of its laws, while philosophers accentuate the moral dimension of harmful behavior. Sociologists focus their efforts on the consensus or conflict in society that the behavior represents, while anthropologists highlight crime's cultural relativity. Finally, historians focus on crime's temporal quality, and geographers accentuate the spatiality of crime. An alternative approach uses the concept of a prism of crime . The prism of crime builds on Canadian criminologist John Hagan's concept of the “pyramid of crime” to develop an integrated definition. This approach is consistent with an interdisciplinary or integrated criminology that allows one to conceptualize crime holistically rather than partially, thus emphasizing its multiple dimensions. The ...