Jock Young, 1942-2013

One of the world’s leading criminologists has died

December 12, 2013

William “Jock” Young was born in Midlothian on 4 March 1942 and educated in Aldershot before studying sociology at the London School of Economics from 1962. He began teaching at what is now Middlesex University in 1968 and remained there for 35 years, for much of it as director of the Centre for Criminology. In 2002 he moved to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. He later served as professor of sociology at the University of Kent and then returned to New York as distinguished professor of criminal justice and sociology at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

A founding member of the National Deviancy Conference, which from 1968 promoted new forms of critical criminology, Professor Young soon began to make a major impact as a writer. His first book, The Drugtakers (1971), was based on an ethnographic study in Notting Hill in London. The New Criminology: For a Social Theory of Deviance (with Ian Taylor and Paul Walton, 1973) rapidly established itself as an essential text in the discipline and was reprinted with his new introduction for its 40th anniversary this year.

Equally influential was Professor Young’s 1975 article, “Working Class Criminology”, which laid the ground for a more engaged and policy-relevant style of “Left realist” criminology. What is To Be Done About Law and Order? (with John Lea, 1984) went on to argue for more accountable and responsive policing while also addressing sensitive issues of race and crime.

Although he was closely allied with the Labour Party during the 1980s, Professor Young became disillusioned with New Labour’s “tough on crime” approach and began work on a trilogy looking at broader cultural trends. The Exclusive Society (1999) traces the shift from an “inclusive” to an “exclusive” society; The Vertigo of Late Modernity (2007) develops the analysis of social exclusion to include terrorism, inequality and immigration; while The Criminological Imagination (2011) explores how criminology has become increasingly subject to excessively numerical and abstract methods.

“Jock Young greatly enriched the lives of those who knew and worked with him as well as the legions of criminologists that have read his work,” recalled Roger Matthews, professor of criminology at Kent.

“He was a truly inspirational figure who shared a lifelong commitment to an appreciation of the richness and diversity of social life. All those who knew and loved him will feel that the world has suddenly and tragically become less full of humour, colour and meaning.”

Professor Young died on 16 November and is survived by his wife Jayne, three sons and a stepdaughter.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest