Integrating Criminologies and its ‘post-postmodern’ perspective was
exciting to receive and stimulating to read. Many others who see the wisdom in multidisciplinary studies will feel the same way, as will
those who are bored or in a rut because of what Barak calls ‘the sterile backwaters of disciplinary criminology’. Students, too, can benefit from reading larger issues about the production of knowledge and its synthesis. Indeed, such a pedagogy is increasingly needed for all of us who live in
a fragmented information processing society driven by sound-bites.
Some of the content of Integrating Criminologies will be familiar to those who have taught criminology classes before. There is, however, a broader range of topics
- from genetics to new world cybernetics - and a stronger emphasis on epistemology. The idea is to integrate and synthesize these diverse bodies of knowledge that all relate to criminology. Integration is done not simply within disciplines, but across them. The modernist knowledge discussed in most criminology texts is related to postmodern critiques that denaturalize the 'knowledge' produced by 'criminologists'.
The result is an effort to create a criminology for the 21st century that yields a more complete understanding of crime and better policies for dealing with it. As the text notes in several places, however, academic disciplines and fields like criminology exercise disciplinary functions regarding the extent, organization and content of its knowledge. Barak poses a challenge to criminology to think more broadly, more deeply and more self-reflectively. Because it does disturb the routines of ‘normal science’, the text is bound to encounter obstacles to its acceptance, and my hope is that this instructor’s manual can facilitate acceptance in some small way.