We’ve Come a Long Way: Introduction to the Special Issue on Modern Developments in Biosocial Criminology

Date01 February 2019
Published date01 February 2019
Subject MatterIntroduction
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2019, Vol. 35(1) 4 –6
© The Author(s) 2018
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1043986218817006
We’ve Come a Long
Way: Introduction to the
Special Issue on Modern
Developments in Biosocial
The role of biology in criminology has come a long way. Mostly gone are the days in
which the discussion of XYY chromosomes, atavistic throwbacks, phrenology, and
dated references pitting nature against nurture were the sole contribution of the “bio-
logical theory” chapter of most criminology textbooks. In their place, discussions of
neurological structure and functioning, gene–environment interplay, behavioral endo-
crinology, and behavior genetics are becoming more and more likely to appear. This
evolutionary adaptation is exciting in and of itself, but it is also symbolic of a larger
shift in criminology. While still far from mainstream, biosocial criminology has
wedged itself into the modern criminological landscape. Biosocial articles have begun
to appear more frequently in some criminological journals, calls for biosocial research
have been put forth by federal funding agencies, more biosocial criminology courses
are being offered, and the number of students determined to study behavior from a
biosocial perspective has grown year over year. Even with all of this progress, we still
have a long road ahead of us. The journey before criminologists, biosocial or other-
wise, presents real challenges but also exciting opportunities to better realize the full
potential of the biosocial perspective in better informing existing theories, methodolo-
gies, and, yes, even policies.
In light of the progression of biosocial criminology within the last decade, this
special issue is aimed at presenting modern advances in biosocial criminology.
With this theme in mind, the special issue aims to address two objectives. First, we
hoped to attract studies that demonstrate the diversity of research organized by the
biosocial perspective. Modern biosocial research examines a broad range of topics,
employs an extensive number of research methodologies and datasets, and informs
an expansive set of theoretical perspectives. This diversity is reflected in the arti-
cles appearing in this issue, as the subject matter covered is relevant to many cor-
ners of mainstream criminology and criminal justice research. Three of the articles
included in the special issue examine topics other than criminal offending but are
still likely to be of interest to researchers working within a range of criminological
subareas. Gajos, Russell, Cleveland, Vandenbergh, and Feinberg (2019) examine
the contributions of gene–environment interplay in the association between roman-
tic partner alcohol misuse and problem drinking behaviors in emerging adulthood.
Portnoy, Legee, Raine, Choy, and Redo-Hutt (2019) examine the role of resting
817006CCJXXX10.1177/1043986218817006Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeSchwartz and Beaver

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