Evolutionary Criminology,
Edition 1 Towards a Comprehensive Explanation of Crime
By Russil Durrant and Tony Ward

Publication Date: 13 Mar 2015

In our attempts to understand crime, researchers typically focus on proximate factors such as the psychology of offenders, their developmental history, and the social structure in which they are embedded. While these factors are important, they don't tell the whole story. Evolutionary Criminology: Towards a Comprehensive Explanation of Crime explores how evolutionary biology adds to our understanding of why crime is committed, by whom, and our response to norm violations. This understanding is important both for a better understanding of what precipitates crime and to guide approaches for effectively managing criminal behavior.

This book is divided into three parts. Part I reviews evolutionary biology concepts important for understanding human behavior, including crime. Part II focuses on theoretical approaches to explaining crime, including the evolution of cooperation, and the evolutionary history and function of violent crime, drug use, property offending, and white collar crime. The developmental origins of criminal behavior are described to account for the increase in offending during adolescence and early adulthood as well as to explain why some offenders are more likely to desist than others. Proximal causes of crime are examined, as well as cultural and structural processes influencing crime. Part III considers human motivation to punish norm violators and what this means for the development of a criminal justice system. This section also considers how an evolutionary approach contributes to our understanding of crime prevention and reduction. The section closes with an evolutionary approach to understanding offender rehabilitation and reintegration.

Key Features

  • Reviews how evolutionary findings improve our understanding of crime and punishment
  • Examines motivations to offend, and to punish norm violators
  • Articulates evolutionary explanations for adolescent crime increase
  • Identifies how this knowledge can aid in crime prevention and reduction, and in offender rehabilitation
About the author
By Russil Durrant, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Social and Cultural Studies, Wellington, New Zealand and Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Psychology, Wellington, New Zealand
Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Chapter 1. Criminology and Evolutionary Theory
    • Introduction
    • The Subject Matter of Criminology
    • Evolutionary Explanations in Criminology
    • Why Do Criminologists Largely Ignore Evolutionary Theory and Why Should This Change?
    • An Overview of the Book
  • Part I. The Evolutionary Framework
    • Chapter 2. Evolutionary Theory and Human Evolution
      • Introduction
      • Natural and Sexual Selection
      • The Modern Synthesis and Middle-Level Evolutionary Theories
      • The Extended Synthesis in Evolutionary Biology
      • Summary
      • Human Evolution
      • Summary
    • Chapter 3. Evolutionary Behavioral Science
      • Introduction
      • Applying Evolutionary Theory to Human Behavior
      • The Critical Literature
      • Evaluation and Integration: Toward an Evolutionary Behavioral Science
      • Summary
    • Chapter 4. Levels of Analysis and Explanations in Criminology
      • Introduction
      • The State of Criminological Theory
      • Levels of Analysis and Levels of Organization
      • Integration and Isolation
      • Summary
  • Part II. Explaining Crime
    • Chapter 5. The Evolution of Altruism, Cooperation, and Punishment
      • Introduction
      • The Underlying Assumptions of Criminological Theories
      • Punishment
      • The Evolutionary Origins of Cooperation and Punishment
      • Proximate Mechanisms and Processes
      • Implications for Criminology and Criminal Justice
      • Summary and Conclusions
    • Chapter 6. Distal Explanations: Adaptations and Phylogeny
      • Introduction
      • Key Explanatory Targets
      • The Evolution of Human Mating and Social Structure
      • The Evolutionary Origins of “Crime”
      • Aggression and Violence
      • Sexual Offending
      • Summary and Conclusions
    • Chapter 7. Development
      • Introduction
      • Explanatory Targets for Developmental Criminology
      • Approaches to Explaining Developmental Patterns in Offending
      • Evolutionary Approaches
      • Summary and Conclusions
    • Chapter 8. Proximate Explanations: Individuals, Situations, and Social Processes
      • Introduction
      • Dynamic Risk Factors, Protective Factors, and Desistance
      • Agency Model of Risk
      • Research Implications
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 9. Social-Structural and Cultural Explanations
      • Introduction
      • Historical Trends
      • Ecological Variations in Crime
      • Theoretical Explanations for Ecological and Historical Variations in Crime
      • An Evolutionary Perspective
      • Summary
  • Part III. Responding to Crime
    • Chapter 10. Punishment, Public Policy, and Prevention
      • Introduction
      • Applied Evolutionary Criminology
      • Social and Situational Crime Prevention
      • Punishment and Restorative Justice
      • Wider Policy Implications
    • Chapter 11. The Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders
      • What Is Offender Rehabilitation?
      • Evolutionary Explanatory Framework and Rehabilitation
      • Rehabilitation Implications
      • Example of Empathy and Altruism
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 12. Looking Forward from the Perspective of the Past
      • Integrative Pluralism: A Deeper Ontology
      • Embodiment
      • Emotion
      • Distributed Cognition
      • Conclusions
  • References
  • Index
Book details
ISBN: 9780123979377
Page Count: 348
Retail Price : £54.99
  • Shipley, Introduction to Forensic Psychology, 3e, 2012, 9780123821690, 696p, $75.95
  • O’Donohue, Handbook of Forensic Psychology, 2004, 9780125241960, 1064p, $215.00
  • Raine, Psychopathology of Crime, 1997, 9780125761550, 377p, $81.95

Researchers and graduate students in Forensic Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology, Forensic Science, and Criminology.