Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bonger, Willem Adriaan (1876–1940)
Misha S. Lars
Willem Adriaan Bonger was a preeminent Dutch criminologist and scholar whose pioneering research transcended the landscape of criminological thought at a historical juncture when biologically based explanations of crime predominated. His work was rooted in economic determinism, as a lens through which he believed that examinations of the etiology of crime were best explored. Bonger was characterized as a staunch anti-Lombrosian or someone who was adamantly against biological positivism and an advocate of Marxist historical materialism. His research emerged as a critique of extant criminological theory in general and of the capitalistic economic structure that was a dominant feature in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A revival of Marxist thought, Bonger's work provides the earliest systematic application of Marxian concepts to explore the etiology of crime as a manifestation of capitalism. Advancing the work of Karl Marx, Bonger viewed capitalism as a vehicle whereby economic and ...