academic imperialism

an unequal relation between academics where one group dominates while other groups are ignored or silenced.

Ag-gag laws

laws which criminalize actions which seek to render the animal agriculture and use industries more transparent, specifically, criminalizing undercover investigations and recording of animal agriculture activities, limiting whistleblowing, and otherwise interfering with normal business operations.

agenda-setting function

the ways in which the media play a role in determining which topics will receive the most attention and, thus, be deemed the most important for the audience to consider

Aggravating factors

These are factors that are considered by the sentencing judge that would increase the crime’s severity and would result in a more severe punishment. Examples of aggravating factors include previous criminal record for the same crime; use of a weapon; offence motivated by bias, prejudice or hate (based on race, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, or any similar factor); offence was committed against the offender’s intimate partner or family; the offence was committed against a person under the age of eighteen; offence was committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization; the offence was a terrorism offence; or the offence had significant impact on the victim’s health and financial situation.


the process of compiling and reviewing information, and then summarizing and synthesizing the data, often with the aide of statistical techniques, to reach a conclusion or explanation about the phenomenon under study.


the idea that humans are the most important beings; in the context of green criminology, the exclusive focus on humans as victims of crime and harm.

antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)

a deeply ingrained and dysfunctional thought process that focuses on social exploitive, delinquent, and criminal behavior most commonly known due to the affected individual's lack of remorse for these behaviors. ASPD falls into 1 of 4 cluster-B personality disorders within the DSM V, which also includes narcissistic, borderline, and histrionic personality disorders.

attachment theory

A psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory concerning relationships between humans. The most important tenet is that young children need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for normal social and emotional development. The theory was formulated by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby.

Attribution error

The over-emphasis of personal characteristics while devaluing environmental characteristics when judging others.


our connection to our true, genuine self; the ability to show up as us, and connect with our feelings in a meaningful way.

backwards law

the idea that the way in which media present crime and justice issues is the opposite of the way in which these phenomena occur in real life


a perspective that sees every species and being as equal in worth.

biopsychosocial criminology

a multidisciplinary approach that seeks to understand criminal behaviour by examining the interactions between biological, psychological and sociological factors.

carceral feminism

feminism that advocates for police and prison responses to things like gendered violence, sexual assault, child abuse, etc.


when one variable is said to cause a specific effect, the two variables must at least be correlated, the cause must precede the effect, and other possible explanations must be eliminated.


Circles are a process often associated with restorative justice although the roots of this ancient practice lie in many Indigenous traditions around the world. The circle embodies and nurtures the state of inter-connectedness we exist in as human beings. The circle is a structured process that can be adapted for many different purposes such as relationship and community building, sharing, problem solving and decision making, celebration, or as a response to harm. The circle allows all participants the opportunity to speak about values or a specific topic. Circles create a space for deep listening and to be heard. All voices are honoured equally which can cultivate mutual support and learning.

cognitive bias

systematic patterns of deviation from norm and/or rationality in judgment that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them.


the practice of controlling a territory, or another nation, and populating it with settlers in an exploitative manner. In this regard, colonization is also closely correlated with the practice of “settler-colonialism.”


the establishment of a colony to expand a nation state or territory. Establishing a colony might involve both the establishment of control over a territory and the Indigenous peoples who previously resided in that area. It may also involve the colonisation of minds through the imposition of Western European ideals, religion, language, and social practices onto the people who were living there before colonisation. The term “colonisation” is closely related to the term “colonialism.”

Community-based victim services

Provides direct services to victims and receive funding either in whole or in part by the provincial and/or federal government responsible for criminal justice matters.


The repayment of losses to the victim given by the state.

computational methods

research methods that involve using computers to model, simulate and analyze social phenomena, and to assess patterns and trends working with big data. Big data could be anything from corporate databases or datasets from the government that could not feasibly be examined by humans using discourse or content analysis.


to form a concept or idea about something and to become very specific about what we mean by those concepts for the purpose of our own research.


a learning process in which the likelihood of a specific behaviour increases or decreases in response to reinforcement or punishment that occurs when the behaviour occurs.


A process based on restorative principles whereby the people most impacted by a harm come together to dialogue about what happened, how they were impacted, and explore ways to repair the harm.  These processes are facilitated by a trained facilitator and often include victims, offenders, their supporters, and representatives of the community.

control dimension

involves parental expectations, limits, rules and control. Parental control can be flexible and democratic, or harsh, rigid and coercive. 

convict criminology

an approach to criminology that privileges the voices and standpoint of persons who have been criminalized or who have been system affected.


when two or more variables are associated with one another. The direction of the association is known when two variables are correlated.  A positive correlation means that as one variable increases, so does the other, or as one decreases, the other decreases.  A negative correlation means that as one increases, the other decreases, and vice versa.  Correlation does not guarantee causality.

Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP)

A provincial and/or territorial program that provides financial benefits to help offset monetary losses and supports recovery for victims. Programs and eligibility vary by province and/or territory in Canada.

criminogenic risk

Criminogenic needs may be defined as those offender need areas in which treatment gain will reduce the likelihood of recidivism; they have also been referred to as dynamic risk.

Critical criminology

A theoretical perspective in criminology which focuses on challenging traditional beliefs, uncovering false beliefs about crime and criminal justice, and unearthing biases and inequalities within the theories of criminology and the criminal justice system.


critical discourse analyses

method of research to explore the connections between the use of language/text and the social and political context within which it occurs.

cross-sectional research

a research study that gathers data at one point in time. It provides a snapshot of the phenomenon of interest.

Crown or court-based services

Provides support for people who have become involved in the criminal justice process as either victims or witnesses, offering information, assistance and referrals to victims and witnesses with the goal of trying to make the court process less intimidating.

cultural studies perspective

theoretical perspective that considers the role of media in producing and reproducing culturally relevant and socially constructed meanings


is a general term used to describe all aspects of a society related to individual and collective identity and meaning. Culture can be expressed in the material items of a particular society, such as clothing and other consumer goods, as well as in the ideas and beliefs that circulate and shape the way individuals and groups understand themselves and the surrounding world. Culture can more narrowly refer to aspects of creative output such as art, music and literature, and is often divided into high culture and low culture. While high culture is found in art galleries, museums and opera houses, low culture, or popular culture, can be found all around us and is the stuff of TV, popular music and graffiti art. Cultural criminologists view culture as arising from broader economic and social relations, and therefore tends reflect dominant ideas related to crime and crime control.


an umbrella term which encompasses the social behaviour, institutions, and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, customs, capabilities, and habits of individuals in these groups.

data sovereignty

implies rightful ownership of specific data.  This involves allowing Indigenous peoples to control who collects data about their people and what data are collected, as well as how the results are disseminated.


is the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches embedded in western societies such as Canada. Decolonization can also mean cultural, psychological, and economic freedom for Indigenous peoples.


a research model that involves working from the general to the specific, or from theory to data collection. The deductive model employs quantitative methods of research.


the process of discharging chronic mental health patients into the community in order for them to receive care from community mental health services. The deinstitutionalisation movement began in Canada in the 1960s.


the condemnation of an individual’s actions, specifically with regard to offending.


the idea or theory that the threat of punishment will deter people from committing crime and that the punishment of someone else will deter them as well (general deterrence). It also can mean punishing an individual to teach them not to offend again (specific deterrence).

disciplinary power

how individuals shape their conduct to line up with expert knowledge and rules of discourse.


the general domain of all statements and classifications about something/anything, like the discourse of child development or discourse of victimhood, and a system of categories that structures the way we perceive reality.

doctrine of discovery

an edict given by the Catholic church to Western European nations to discover, colonize, and spread the Christian message. It gave countries like England, France, Spain, and Portugal the god given right to conquer and colonize new lands that were uninhabited by Christians.


a perspective that holds that humans are relationally connected to the natural world and that, while humans need to utilize resources to survive, they have a duty to use resources responsibly and minimize their impact on other species and the environment.

Ecological justice

a perspective holding that natural entities and the natural world is worthy of protection in their own right and not just as resources to be exploited or used instrumentally.


a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.


a method of study based on tangible and observable facts, evidence, and research.

environmental criminology

a branch of criminology that deals with researching special – physical and social – determinations of patterns of criminal behavior and is closely connected with situational criminal prevention

Environmental justice

an approach to justice that strives to overcome the manner in which negative impacts of environmental crimes and harms disproportionately affect marginalized groups in society, specifically based on race (Black, Indigenous, people of colour), class (e.g., low-income), and gender (e.g., dangers of male dominated slaughterhouse work, affects of toxic chemicals on female reproduction).

Environmental racism

policies or practices that result in a discriminatory environmental impact (whether intended on unintended) on racialized groups or individuals.


the study of knowledge or ways of knowing.


a categorization of a group of people who share a national, cultural, religious, or language commonality. Such categorizations could be either an external labelling or one that is self-defined by the group. A concept of ethnicity can also overlap with a concept of race because ethnic categorization may also use skin colour, hair texture, and other physical characteristics to describe membership in an imagined ethnic community.


is a method of field research pioneered in cultural anthropology that involves immersive and lengthy interaction with cultural groups in order to learn about their ways of life and beliefs. In the nineteenth century, ethnography was used predominantly to study cultures in distant and non-western contexts. However, through the twentieth century, scholars in the social sciences began using this method to study subcultural groups closer to home. Ethnography involves participation in aspects of the culture under study as well as lengthy periods of contact and the development of mutual trust and respect. A common critique of this method is that researchers may grow too close to their subjects, and lose scholarly, detached perspective. A considerable strength of the method is that researchers gain deep, detailed, and realistic knowledge about a culture by adopting the perspective of insiders. Ethnography is a favoured method of cultural criminology, but it is not the only approach in this perspective.


information you use to make decisions that is based on research, not opinion.


when information and research is combined with experiences and expertise to best fit the population and culture being served.


a quantitative scientific procedure performed to determine something or test a hypothesis.

field research

a qualitative method that involves observing and possibly interacting with research subjects in their natural environment.

focus group

a qualitative method that involves a group of individuals brought together and led by a moderator to share similarities, opinions, or differences.

folk devils

in the context of moral panics, these individuals or groups are the perceived menace upon which the public concern is focused


fitting a story into a ready-made social construction such that it is easy for the audience to understand and interpret

freedom of information requests

a tool to use in social science research to investigate state and criminal justice practices that accesses state records that would not otherwise be disclosed.


a person or position that controls access to something and has the power to decide who obtains resources or opportunities and who does not.

General Social Survey

every five years a series of cross-sectional surveys conducted by Statistics Canada which collect comprehensive socio-demographic information and information on one topic in-depth each year. The experiences of victims of crime are captured here.


the degree to which the results of a study can be applied to a larger population. The larger the sample, the greater the ability to generalise the findings of the study.

geometric theory of crime

demonstrates how individuals develop an individual awareness space that consists of their major routine activity nodes (e.g., home, school, workplaces – activity spaces): the travel paths that connect them and everything within the visual range of the offender


the set of practices (rationalities, techniques, knowledges) via which people are (self) governed but also the means by which someone else’s activities are shaped.

green criminology

a branch of criminology that deals with research into criminality against the environment and associated phenomena (e.g., animal cruelty)

Green victimology

the study of the breadth of victims (environment, human, and animal) and avenues of victimization related to environmental crime and harm, as well as the institutional and state responses to such victimization


the corporate practice of portraying a product as environmentally friendly or not harmful; for example, using images of plants on a bottle to imply connection to environmental sustainability but the ingredients contain harmful chemicals.

grey literature

information produced outside of traditional publishing and distribution channels, including government and community reports, conference papers, and dissertations.


the dominance of one group’s ideas over another group’s ideas and when the dominant group controls the thinking of other groups, or when the ideas of the dominant class become the ideas of everyone.

hierarchy of credibility

the preference shown by journalists towards sources in powerful positions, casting them as primary definers whose opinions and ideas are portrayed as inherently more credible than those of others who might wish to comment upon a story

historical ethnography

method of research where a researcher examines a culture or society or social practice by immersing themselves in the history of experiences for the group or individual they are interested in.

historical trauma

multigenerational trauma experienced by a specific cultural or racial group, such as the violent colonization experienced by Indigenous peoples.

human ecology

refers to the study of the dynamic interrelationships between human populations and the physical, biotic, cultural and social characteristics of their environment and the biosphere


a proposed explanation used as a starting point in the deductive model for further investigation, or emerging at the end of the research process in the inductive model. A hypothesis is typically written as an “if, then” statement and outlines how we expect the variables to be related to one another and the direction of that relationship.

ideal victim

the socially constructed victim who is seen as weaker than their attacker, blameless, and with whom the audience will readily sympathize


Indigenous peoples in Canada were originally referred to as “Indians” by Western explorers because they were looking for a western passage to the East Indies. When Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492, he incorrectly thought he had discovered a new passage to the imagined territory of the Indies (i.e., China, Japan, and India). The inhabitants were hence thought to be “Indians.”


a research model that involves working from the specific to the general or from observations to the development of theory.  The inductive model employs qualitative methods.

institutional ethnography

method of research where a researcher examines a specific institution via in-depth study of all of its elements and practices to identify power relations that structure an experience in the institution and how the institution itself is organized

institutional racism

a practice of racism where the racism can be understood as “racism without racists.” It does not require the presence of racist subjects or beliefs; it is the racism practiced by an institution or a governing body. The bias that is produced exists because of the invention and application of a rule or a policy. The racist outcome would not be the product of an individual’s racist ideation.

instrumental Marxism

the argument that the state system always operates as an arm of, or instrument of, capitalism, or the state apparatus and criminal law exists as a direct result of capitalism to uphold capitalism and the capitalist mode of production.


a concept of analysis designed to show how the categories of race, class and gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability—and their social effects—are interlinked or interlocked in a way that makes them difficult to pull apart and to be analyzed as separate entities. Critical legal theorists like Kimberlé Crenshaw and others have used the concept of “intersectionality” to describe how race intersects with social and economic class, gender and sexual expression, nationality, and other institutional markers of identity in such a way that race is more fruitfully examined when considered as co-located and connected with these other social markers.


a qualitative method that involves asking a series of mostly open-ended questions in an effort to capture the participants’ voices in their own words.


a theory of economics arguing for increased government spending (on things like education, employment insurance, etc.) and lower taxes (for businesses) to stimulate demand, meaning employers will invest more and employ more people thereby maintaining economic growth and stabilizing the economy.

Late Modernity

refers to the time period beginning in the late twentieth century and extending to today. Social theorists like Anthony Giddens and Zygmunt Bauman argue that the defining features of the modern era were transformed in significant ways in the late twentieth century. Capitalism, communications, and conceptions of the self were markedly altered in this period. However, these theorists dispute the notion that there has been a complete break from modernity heralding a new post-modern era. Instead, they see the present time period as being characterized by an intensification of modernity. Cultural criminology does not completely disavow the ideas and insights of postmodernism, but generally prefers the term late modernity to denote the present era marked by widespread interactive digital communications, commodification of crime and violence, rapid global flows of capital, goods and people, and an intensification of feelings of insecurity and anxiety (e.g. Young, 2007).

Legal personhood

a person or other entity that at law has the powers and responsibilities normally associated with an ordinary human; legal personhood is not limited to flesh-and-blood humans but can extend to corporations, municipalities and, in some cases, natural entities.

life-course persistent offenders

Offenders that begin to show antisocial behavior in childhood that continues into adulthood are what Moffitt considers to be life-course-persistent offenders. Their delinquent behavior is attributed to several factors including neuropsychological impairments and negative environmental features.

literature review

a written summary and overview of writings and other sources on a selected topic to gain an understanding of existing research relevant to the topic.

lived experience

personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people


a study which extends beyond a single point in time and involves the collection of data at various time intervals.


the recirculation of media content in different formats, contexts, and media outlets


in addition to the capitalist and working class, Marx identified the lumpenproletariat – a group that was defined as an unorganized, non-political underclass.

market model

theoretical perspective that views media as a business that delivers a product intended to meet market demand

media gaze

the way in which the perspective on society conveyed in mainstream media is similar to the dominant institutional perspective and encourages the audience to adopt the same perspective


system of methods, procedures and principles used in a particular area of study or discipline.

missing white woman syndrome

researchers generally attribute this term to Gwen Ifill, PBS news anchor, referring to the far more frequent and intense news coverage of instances where white women or girls go missing compared to instances where the missing persons are not white or not female

Mitigating factors

These are factors that are considered by the sentencing judge that would lessen the crime’s severity and support leniency in sentencing resulting a lighter sentence. Examples of mitigating factors include lack of criminal record; minor role in the offence; culpability of the “victim”; past circumstances such as abuse that resulted in criminal activity; addiction or mental health concerns; and circumstances at the time of the offense, such as provocation.


a set of government policies that controls the amount of money in circulation as a way to stabilize the economy.

moral entrepreneurs

individuals or groups who attempt to draw attention to and impose their moral perspective on behaviours they deem deviant or criminal in order to advance their own interests or political agendas

moral panics

period of intensified or frenzied public concern, the level of which is out of proportion with the actual threat posed by the object of concern


the idea that the world is divided into distinct territorial entities, or nations, comprised of peoples with inherent ethnic, cultural, and even biological characteristics. Such nations are almost always territorially-based where a specific land or geography is claimed. The imagined community and territory are often based on an ancient or long established history and identity allowing the group to claim a primordial right to sovereignty and territorial occupation.

negative reforms

reforms that diminish the power of the state and diminish the power of carceral institutions.


governmental reform focused on free-market capitalism – policies that frees the market for capitalists including deregulation, privatization, and free trade.

new media

term used to refer to Internet-based news, entertainment, social media, video games, etc. that are interactive

news values/newsworthiness criteria

the aspects of stories used by news media to determine which stories will be deemed of interest to the media audience and, thus, reported on


consists of places (conceptualized as points) that are places within the city that a person travels to and from (e.g., business, entertainment, or industrial districts in the context of large urban centres)

non-violent property crimes

crimes that do not involve the use of any force or injury to another person (e.g., property damage)


deals with ideas that are based on fact and free from bias or personal opinion.


The First Nations principles of ownership, control, access, and possession – more commonly known as OCAP – assert that First Nations have control over data collection processes, and that they own and control how this information can be used.

official data

data sets often produced by official governmental agencies for administrative purposes, such as Census data or crime figures.


the philosophical examination of being. As an invention of Western thought, the concept is often referred to as a “theory of being” and paired with the term “epistemology” that refers to the sister concept of a “theory of knowledge” or how something is known. In this regard, ontology refers to the study of the “thing in itself” and not how it may be represented or interpreted.


turning abstract concepts or phenomena that may not be directly observable into measurable observations. For example, this would involve selecting the exact wording of survey questions.

organisational model

theoretical perspective that views the routines of day-to-day news production as the most significant factor in shaping news content

overt racism

a form of discriminatory racism that may be expressed as a clear and unambiguous act of racialization. A subject or victim of such racism can experience overt racism as a direct and personal injury and/or emotional injury. It is often an encounter between two persons where racial bias is experienced by one party in a very personal and subjective manner.


A typical model, example, pattern, or theory of something. Restorative justice is often described as a paradigm shift (a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions).

parental monitoring

extent to which parents are aware of their children’s activities, including how they spend their time and who they spend their time with.


represents the channels that we use to move from node to node often limited by streets, walkways, and public transit

pattern theory of crime

examines the ways targets come to the attention of offenders and how this influences the distribution of crime events over time, space, and amongst targets

penal welfare state

government programs that focus on helping criminal offenders to stop offending by providing treatment or to provide for the welfare of prisoners.


the process of making something personally relatable for the audience


the characteristic sets of behaviours, cognitions, and emotional patterns patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. While there is no generally agreed upon definition of personality, most theories focus on motivation and psychological interactions with the environment one is surrounded by.


the observable properties of an organic organism. Phenotype is often understood as the product of both genotype, which refers to the genes of an organism, and the environment surrounding it. In the context of race and racialization, it might refer to human traits like skin colour, height, weight, or eye colour.

police reform

making changes or slight modifications to the existing structure of policing but keeping the original purpose of police.


all members of a particular area or group, or all things, that you want to learn more about from which a sample is drawn.

positivistic paradigm

an orientation to the study of society that focuses on what can be observed – in criminology this means a focus on identifying and studying causes of crime that could then be corrected, which is strongly associated with crime control.


set of theoretical ideas that examines language, text and culture and how these establish social spaces/creates our reality, as opposed to structuralism’s contention that the social is a patterned, rigid, and material set of structures.


the diverse ways in which our actions control and are controlled by our relations (structural and otherwise) to others.


when two or more companies that are supposed to be competitors conspire to set prices at a certain level in order to avoid direct competition when selling the same products

primary data

data collected by researchers directly from the subjects or sources for the purpose of  their own original research.

primary definers

individuals to whom the media turn to first to help define and explain a situation, who are perceived as having more specialized knowledge due to their institutional affiliation or professional position and, thus, as more credible sources (government officials, criminal justice system personnel, academics, etc.)

propaganda model

theoretical perspective that views the media as intentionally manipulating news content so that it aligns with the interests of the media owners and other powerful individuals or groups in society


a neuropsychiatric disorder marked by deficient emotional responses, lack of empathy, and poor behavioral controls, commonly resulting in persistent antisocial deviance and criminal behavior.


an impairment causing difficulties in perceiving what is real and what is not.


An approach to law and criminal justice that involves the intentional infliction of punishment.


research that involves the collection and analysis of in-depth textual or verbal, non-numerical data. Methods include interviews, focus groups, and field observation.

qualitative methods

collecting and analyzing data that are non-numerical and focused on the detailed understanding of the subject being researched which can include in-depth interviews, observation, and other non-numerical data.


research that involves the collection and analysis of numerical data. It can involve testing causal relationships and making predictions. Methods include closed-ended surveys and experiments.

racial profiling

the use of race—by the criminal justice system—as the basis for criminal suspicion. This term is often associated with policing. It can be understood as describing race-based policing, or race-biased policing, where police use racial appearance as a deciding factor in who to select for stopping, questioning, searching, detaining, and arrest. Outside of this reference to policing, it can also be used to describe an intentional and deliberate consideration of race that negatively impacts racial minorities in the form of increased contact with public and/or private authorities. That is, it might manifest itself as a) the activity of selecting or examining a racial minority at a rate of selection that is higher and incommensurate with their demographic representation and/or b) attributing racial and stereotypical characteristics to a subject in a manner that is illogical and/or not based on empirical examination.

racialisation of crime

the assumption that the crimes committed by racial minorities can be explained by their race


racialisation employs the word “race” as a verb to demonstrate that race is a human action or activity and not a biological or scientific certainty. In so doing, the term helps demonstrate that “race” is a man-made or invented category. Racialisation is an everyday happening where “race” is something that we do to somebody else or to ourselves. As a verb, we can understand it to be a common mental shortcut where we might use a person's physical appearance as a stand-in or as a marker of their intelligence, their thinking, or their potential actions. We racialise other people and sometimes we racialise ourselves in this moment of comparison and othering. Some might also understand racialisation as a form of race-based stereotyping.


the process by which groups of people are designated as being part of a "race" and subjected to differential or unequal treatment on that basis

rational choice theory

individuals use rational calculations to make rational choices and achieve outcomes that are aligned with their own personal objectives.

raw data

data collected directly from the source and that exist at this point without any processing, transformation, or analysis.  Interview notes or survey responses are examples of raw data.

regulatory offences

regulatory offences deal with legal activities such as the manufacture of products to the public, driving on roads and highways, and working. The goal of this law is to protect the public from the potentially harmful consequences of otherwise legal activity.


In the context of the criminal justice system, this is the process of helping inmates grow and change, allowing them to separate themselves from the factors that made them offend in the first place. In addition, preparing someone for a productive/crime free life once out of incarceration.


the degree to which a measurement or research method produces consistent results. This consistency can also be understood as replicability, either at different times, and/or by different researchers.


The making of amends for a wrong one has done. This can be done by paying money to or otherwise helping (with service) those who have been wronged. In the criminal justice system, reparation is often court ordered.


the process of socially constructing images and attaching signification/meaning to them

repressive state apparatuses

bodies of government/states granted with the legal right to use physical force to control the masses.


An approach to law and criminal justice based on the punishment of offenders with the intention of making the offender “pay” for what they have done (an “eye for an eye”).

routine activity theory

requires that a potential offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a capable guardian must come together in order for criminal activity to be realized

scientific racism

the positivist use of science to prove the existence of race as a scientific category. It exploits science and scientific method as a pathway to promote the existence of race and it attempts to use natural and evolutionary science to falsely demonstrate that different “races” of human beings have evolved over centuries and now populate our world. Contemporary scientific research has shown that race is a faulty construct because DNA examination proves there are no “racial” differences in the genetic samples taken from people adapted to the different climates and continents of the world. For example, a person with Western European ancestry might have more genetic similarity with someone with east Asian ancestry than they do with someone with Scandinavian ancestry.

secondary definers

those individuals who have the task of responding to the definition of a situation as set out by the primary definers (including journalists who reproduce and/or filter what the primary definers have stated, as well as oppositional definers who journalists may include to provide a counter-point to what the primary definers have stated)


fulfillment of one’s full human potential.


a form of colonization where newcomers resettle a territory that is already inhabited by Indigenous peoples. The resettlement erases and reterritorializes the land in such a way that the land becomes both foreign and inaccessible to the indigenous first inhabitants.


the process of making something easier to understand, which also results in a loss of detail and complexity

situational crime prevention

a highly practical and effective means of reducing specific crime problems. Essentially, it seeks to alter the situational determinants of crime so as to make crime less likely to happen

social formation

a society or a social structure (e.g., a nation, a city, family, etc.) made up of a complex of concrete economic, political, and ideological relations, bound together and characterized by their historical relation to the economic relations (e.g., capitalism) they are located in.

social responsibility model

theoretical perspective that views the media as playing an important role in upholding democracy, ensuring an informed citizenry, and shining light on abuses of power

social structures

organized patterns of social relations and institutions such as class, family, law, race, gender.

spatial criminology

a branch of criminology that measures and theorizes explicitly spatial processes and relationships

spatial patterns

refers to space

Species justice

an approach to justice concerned with living creatures as having value in their own right; as such humans owe obligations and duties to them.


connected to anthropocentrism, this is the assumption that humans are the superior species; human needs are prioritized and needs of other species are deemed unimportant; most often connected to the privileging of humans over animals.

state-organized crime

acts defined by law as criminal and committed by state officials in pursuit of their job as representatives of the state.


socially constructed category or label relying on generalized assumptions about people, behaviours, or situations based on a specific characteristic (such as race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, neighbourhood, gender, social class, etc.)

street crime

crimes that include acts that occur in both public and private spaces, as well as interpersonal violence and property crime

structural Marxism

the argument that law works to ensure capitalist accumulation and to maintain conditions where the generation of wealth is possible based on the idea that states act on behalf of capital, not at its behest, and ideology is spread out among numerous social structures.


a subdivision within the dominant culture that has its own norms, beliefs, and values.

substance abuse disorders

a mental disorder that affects a person's brain and behavior, leading to a person's inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe, with addiction being the most severe form of SUDs. Support dimension: warm, responsive parenting. Children who lack support feel rejected, unaccepted or neglected.

suite crime

crimes that include those referred to as corporate crime, crimes of the powerful, state-corporate crime, and state criminality


a general view, examination, or description of someone or something

symbiotic relationship

an interaction between two individuals or groups that is mutually beneficial

technique of neutralisation

a technique which allows the person to rationalise or justify a criminal act. There are five techniques of neutralisation: denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of the condemners, and appeal to higher loyalties.

techniques of neutralisation

a technique which allows the person to rationalise or justify a criminal act. There are five techniques of neutralisation: denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of the condemners, and appeal to higher loyalties.


an aspect of personality concerned with emotional dispositions and reactions and their speed and intensity; the term often is used to refer to the prevailing mood or mood pattern of a person.

temporal patterns

refers to time

the carceral

the multiple networks of diverse techniques and the power of normalization to regulate human behaviour that we see in prison as it extends into the entire social body.

the unfinished

an abolitionist concept capturing the idea that abolition is ongoing and requires constant struggle and analysis.

traditional (legacy) media

traditional types of media (that existed pre-Internet), including print (newspapers, magazines, books), visual (films, television programs), and audio (radio, music recordings) forms

Transgenic organism

a genetically modified organism (GMO) that has had DNA from another creature introduced into its genome.


Psychological trauma is a response to an event that a person finds highly stressful. Examples include being in a war zone, a natural disaster, or an accident. Trauma can cause a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. Not everyone who experiences a stressful event will develop trauma.

trauma-informed approach

recognizes and responds to the signs, symptoms, and risks of trauma to better support the health needs of patients who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress.

victim-blaming discourses

ways of talking about victims and victimization that place at least part of the responsibility for the harm done to the victim on their own behaviour or attributes (e.g. how they were dressed, what they said, where they were, what they were doing, which measures they took to defend themselves, etc.)

Victim-Offender Dialogue

A process based on restorative justice principles where a victim and offender have direct or indirect dialogue in the aftermath of a harm.  This dialogue is usually facilitated by a trained person who has worked with both parties to prepare them for the encounter.


the outcome of deliberate action taken by a person or institution to exploit, oppress, or harm another, or to destroy or illegally obtain another's property or possessions

white-collar crime

a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.


the study of social harm; from the Greek zemia, meaning harm or damage.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Introduction to Criminology Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Shereen Hassan and Dan Lett, MA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book