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An introduction to life-course criminology

An introduction to life-course criminology

Carlsson, Christoffer, 1986- author; Sarnecki, Jerzy, 1947- author

Most people engage in crime at some point in their lives, but why does almost everybody stop soon after? And, why do a small number of offenders persist in crime? These two questions constitute the core of the field often known as life-course criminology. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to life-course criminology. It covers the dominant theories and methodologies in the field and equips you with all you need to succeed in your studies on the subject.  The book: Discusses the methodologies of life-course and longitudinal research Explains and critiques the major theories of life-course criminology Considers the issues of risk, prediction, onset, persistence and desistance of criminal activity Draws on research from studies in Europe, the UK, US and Australia, including the Stockholm Life-Course Project Written by two leading figures in the field, this is an authoritative text that will guide you through your studies in life-course criminology, criminal career research, and developmental criminology

Paperback, Hardback, Book. English.
All formats and editions (2)
Published Los Angeles: SAGE, 2016

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Statement of responsibility: Christoffer Carlsson & Jerzy Sarnecki
ISBN: 1446275906, 1446275914, 9781446275900, 9781446275917
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: ix, 172 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Subject: Crime Sociological aspects.; Life cycle, Human.; Australien.; Criminology.; Brottslighet.; Longitudinal studies.; Criminal career patterns.; Europa.; Developmental psychology.; Livsstilar.; Kriminologi.; Stockholm Life-Course Project.; Life-Course Transition.; Longitudinella undersökningar.; Förenta staterna.
Alternative Title: Life-course criminology


  1. Life-Course Criminology: An Introduction
  2. Criminological Theories and Criminal Careers
  3. Life-Course Theories of Crime and Deviance
  4. The Methodologies of Life-Course Criminology
  5. Risk and Prediction of Criminal Careers
  6. Onset of Crime
  7. Continuity in Offending: Persistence
  8. Desistance from Crime
  9. Looking Back; Looking Forward


This is an excellent introduction to a topic of central importance for criminologists.  It has the merit of being very clearly written, and the authors cover a wide range of materials – theories and data; European and American research; quantitative and qualitative studies.  Throughout, they provide helpful examples from their work on the Stockholm Life Course Project.  Highly recommended.

||‘Written by an emerging scholar in Carlsson and an internationally acclaimed criminologist in Sarnecki, the book is historically rich, theoretically provoking, methodologically sound, and policy relevant. Weaving in their own work with the Stockholm Life Course Project, this book casts a bright light into the futures of life course criminology and deserves to be read’ ||

'The field of life course criminology has clearly come of age. Carlsson and Sarnecki's important new text is a wise and generative gift for the next generation of life course scholars. The authors clarify and synthesize decades of research on crime and the life course across multiple disciplines, and lay out the challenges still to come. It is a perfect introduction to a fascinating body of work'


Carlsson and Sarnecki’s An Introduction to Life Course Criminology captures the excitement of the life course perspective within criminology, a lens and set of preoccupations that have become increasingly central to the field.  This lively and engaging volume will not only give other scholars and students alike a full appreciation of key concepts and historical roots, but open a window on what is at stake theoretically, and how recent research informs contemporary debates.  Illustrations from the authors’ own important longitudinal study are especially useful, as they make tangible sometimes slippery notions (e.g., agency) and complicated pathways (the desistance process).   This would be an ideal text for a class on life course criminology and an excellent supplement for more general courses, and will be an outstanding resource for researchers with interests in this area.