Source: (2004) London: Routledge.

Often when we use the term 'crime' we speak as if it were an absolute, unambiguous concept or reality. Crime, however, is not an absolutely fixed concept. Acts which are considered criminal vary across time and across societies. In fact, any act could be defined as criminal; hence, there is in theory an endless 'supply' of crime or criminal acts. In this book, Nils Christie trenchantly examines variations between countries as to what are considered undesirable acts, what undesirable acts are classed as criminal acts, what acts are punished, and how such acts are punished. Moreover, he criticizes the size of prison populations in punitive states as a threat to human values and to civil forms of society. Christie argues that academics and researchers have a moral obligation to highlight alternative approaches to understanding and responding to crime.