Source: (2007) Theoretical Criminology. 11(4):1362-4806.

Although a few well-known case studies have appeared in criminology over the past few decades (e.g. King and Chambliss, 1972; Steffensmeier, 1986), The Jack-Roller remains by far the best known. Considering the fact that Shaw’s study (fascinating though it is) is over 75 years old, this does not speak well of the fate of single life case studies in criminology (see Bennett, 1981, for a remarkable historical review). As Gadd and Jefferson (forthcoming) argue, ‘The individual criminal offender has long ceased to be of much interest to criminologists.’ Where she or he has appeared, ‘it has been in a depleted and unrecognizable form: a travesty of a human subject’ (Jefferson, 2002: 145). Gone are the complexities, the conflicts, the contradictions, the insecurities and confusions that all of us struggle with as vulnerable, sensitive, emotional beings, replaced by a sort of ‘stick figure’ of the over-socialized individual or the rational actor.