Bearing Witness to Crime and Social Justice

By Richard Quinney

Subjects: Criminology
Series: SUNY series in Deviance and Social Control
Paperback : 9780791447604, 304 pages, November 2000
Hardcover : 9780791447598, 304 pages, November 2000

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Table of contents


Part I. Witnessing

1. Crime: Phenomenon, Problem, and Subject of Study

2. The Social Reality of Crime

3. There's a Lot of Folks Grateful to the Lone Ranger: With Some Notes on the Rise and Fall of American Criminology

4. A Critical Philosophy of Legal Order

5. The Production of a Marxist Criminology

6. The Prophetic Meaning of Social Justice

7. Crime and the Development of Capitalism

8. Myth and the Art of Criminology

9. The Way of Peace: On Crime, Suffering, and Service

10. Criminology as Moral Philosophy, Criminologist as Witness

Part II. Reflecting

11. Journey to a Far Place: The Way of Autobiographical Reflection

12. Try to Make it Real, Compared to What?

13. The Question of Crime: Enlightenment in the Allegory of Oxherding



Eminent criminologist Richard Quinney offers his 40-year journey bearing witness to crime and social justice in writings both scholarly and autobiographical.


Featuring both scholarly and autobiographical writings, Bearing Witness to Crime and Social Justice follows Richard Quinney's development as a criminologist. Quinney's criminology is a critical criminology which he describes as a journey of witnessing to crime and social justice. Quinney's travels from the 1960s through the 1990s show a progression of ways of thinking and acting: from the social constructionist perspective to phenomenology, from phenomenology to Marxist and critical philosophy, from Marxist and critical philosophy to liberation theology, from liberation theology to Buddhism and existentialism. Along this journey, Quinney adopts a more ethnographic and personal mode of thinking and being. Each new stage of development incorporates what has preceded it; each change has been motivated by the need to understand crime and social justice in another or more complex way, in a way excluded from a former understanding. Each stage has also incorporated changes that were taking place in Quinney's personal life. Ultimately, there is no separation between life and theory, between witnessing and writing.

Richard Quinney is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently, For the Time Being: Ethnography of Everyday Life, also published by SUNY Press.


"This is one person's journey over 40 years searching to understand the phenomena of crime and punishment. However, this person has occupied a special place in criminological inquiry. During these years Richard Quinney has always been the criminologist creating the 'new criminology,' leading the rest of us into new terrains. In this sense, then, this book chronicles the development of criminological thought and theoretical development in the United States in the past 40 yearsfrom the opening chapter synthesizing and bringing to consciousness the mostly forgotten European criminology of the nineteenth century to the final chapter exploring criminology as moral philosophy and imploring us criminologists to witness. "  Larry L. Tifft, author of The Battering of Women: The Failure of Intervention and the Case for Prevention