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What does contemporary criminological theory look like? What impact, if any, does it have on policy?The new edition of this bestselling text updates a key title in the Crime and Justice series, whilst maintaining it's trademark theory-intensive approach to Criminology. In this third edition, the author pays particular attention to the development of the policy agenda under New Labour. The book examines the development of criminological theory over the past twenty five years, with detailed analysis of the relationship between criminological theorizing, criminal justice, social justice, and politics. It also provides: A detailed examination of the role of the media in relation to the fear of crime Expanded discussion of classical criminology, adding discussion of cultural criminology Special reference to young people and victims of crime A critical consideration of current policies concerned with rebalancing the criminal justice system Increased emphasis on issues related to risk and terrorism A comprehensive update of policy and research throughoutUnderstanding Criminology is key reading for students who are new to the discipline, but also contains the rigourous analysis required by all levels of undergraduate student.