Criminological knowledge: Period and cohort effects in scholarship

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Abstract

Period and cohort effects are explored in regard to criminological knowledge. Hypotheses are inspired by biographies and by research in the sociology of knowledge, based on Karl Mannheim's essay on generations, Maurice Halbwachs' partly conflicting arguments about the presentist orientation of collective memory and newer ideas about the institutional context of knowledge production. The data set results from content analysis of 1,390 articles in leading American sociology, criminology, and law and society journals from 1951 to 1993, supplemented by information on the authors' "academic age." Results show that cohort membership has some effect and periods have considerable impact on topic, type of theory examined and data used by criminologists. These effects are interpreted against the background of post-World War II history: dominant ideological currents of different eras, historic events, changing academic institutions, and the ebb and flow of influential schools. Multivariate analyses indicate that period effects are largely but not fully explained by shifts in research funding and by the emergence of specialized fields with their own institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1042
Number of pages34
JournalCriminology
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004

Keywords

  • Cohort and period effects
  • History of criminology
  • Sociology of criminology

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