Crime, the criminal and criminology
Having invited you to the party, it is now time to find out more about the guests and their activities. The starting point is to introduce you to two key terms: crime and the criminal. Although the meaning of these terms may initially seem obvious, there have long been arguments about the definition of them. These arguments are important, for they raise key issues about criminology and its scope, and the way in which societies identify and respond to actions as criminal. This leads into a consideration of the nature and focus of criminology itself. There are different ideas about its nature and aims, which will be explained. The final part of the chapter attempts to contribute to our understanding of criminology by taking a brief overview of its history, particularly in its early days. When was it born, and do those early years help to explain its nature and development in the years to come?