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Overholser, W. (1962). Sociology of Crime: Edited by Joseph S. Roucek. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1961. 551 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 31:114-115.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:114-115

Sociology of Crime: Edited by Joseph S. Roucek. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1961. 551 pp.

Review by:
Winfred Overholser

The jacket informs us that this volume 'is the only one in English which surveys broadly the sociology of crime'. Certainly there is breadth—twenty-one chapters in all under the general groupings, Framework, Socio-Psychological Aspects, Experimental Efforts at Treatment, Sociology of the Police, Selected Global Aspects, The USSR and the European Satellites. Each, except for the USSR groups, is by a different author or pair of authors and, as is almost inevitable in such a collection, the chapters vary in quality. Each (except the one on psychopathology) is written by a sociologist and is followed by footnotes and a selected bibliography.

Some chapters, however, appear somewhat oversimplified and occasionally inaccurate or sweeping. Professor Newman, for example, in Legal Norms and Criminological Definitions, informs us in speaking of insanity as a defense that 'no two experts can agree on its definition, symptoms, or causes' (p. 59). Perhaps the least rewarding chapter is Psychopathology of the Social Deviate by Dr. Nathan Masor. We are told that 'the psychopathic personality … is an individual who is unable to adjust satisfactorily to the accepted code of ethical, social and moral climate' (p. 93). The author also discusses 'the occult psychotic, a newly formulated concept, … described for the first time in my book, The New Psychiatry' (p. 97).

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