The Promise of Evolutionary Psychology for Criminology: The Examples of Gender and Age

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Contribution to Books

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The maladies of sociology are many and grave, so much so that some scholars have deemed the discipline to be terminally ill (Barkow, 2006; Ellis, 1996; Horowitz, 1993; Lopreato & Crippen, 1999; Van den Berghe, 1990; Walsh, 2002) or have wondered if it could, or should, be saved (Kanazawa, 2006). Sociology is indeed adrift in a foggy maze of theoretical contradictions, ideological self-righteousness, and nonsensical postmodern "display prose", but to declare it beyond hope is premature. The discipline needs a solid anchor to stabilize it while its crew figures out how to steer it out of the swamp. That anchor is biology, the science that sociology divorced itself from by its fundamental interpretation of Durkheim's dictum that the cause of social facts should be sought by other social facts (Udry, 1995). Sociology as a whole took this tom mean that there are no other sources of human social behavior, and as a result many sociologists became not simply oblivious to biology but "militantly and proudly ignorant" (Van den Berghe, 1990, p. 177). As a subdiscipline of sociology, criminology is essentially in the same boat, although it seems that more criminologists than scholars in other areas of sociology have heeded biology's call, as evidenced by an avalanche of recent books entirely devoted to or containing significant coverage of biosocial approaches (Agnew, 2005; Ellis & Walsh, 2000; Fishbein, 2001; Robinson, 2004; Rowe, 2002; Walsh, 2002; Walsh & Ellis, 2003, 2007).