Fourth edition (Oxford University Press, 2003).
Understanding Deviance is one of the most popular criminology textbooks. It provides the reader with an indispensable guide to criminological theory. It sympathetically outlines the principal theories of crime and rule-breaking, placing them in their European and North American contexts, confronting the major criticisms that have been voiced against them, and constructing defences where appropriate.
The book has been thoroughly revised and brought up to date to include new issues of crime, deviance and theory in the 21st century, especially social exclusion, and 'third way' policies under New Labour.
'Downes and Rock's Understanding Deviance is the most sophisticated, insightful, and informative full-length textbook discussion of deviancy theory in existence. At the same time, it is written in clear, unpretentious English prose. Downes and Rock emphatically refute the gaseous claim that the field of the sociology of deviance is "dead". I regard Understanding Deviance to be a triumph, a major achievement - and its reading essential to a balanced understanding of the field." - Erich Goode, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
'Excellent, as ever. An indispensable guide to criminological theory.' - Chris Greer, Buckinghamshire College.
'Once again, Understanding Deviance amply fulfils its aims and can be recommended with confidence. It remains a perceptive, balanced, and clear introduction to the sociology of deviance and makes a significant contribution to criminological debate.' - Gavin Dingwall, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.