This sophisticated, original book investigates the motivations behind crime and deviance. Steve Hall uses cutting-edge philosophy and social theory to analyse empirical work on patterns of crime and illuminate contemporary criminological issues. He provides a fresh, relevant critique of the philosophical and political underpinnings of criminological theory and the theoretical canon's development during the twentieth century. The book evocatively explores: 1) The changing patterns of harm 2) The adoption and abandonment of specific social theories within criminology 3) The application of new Continental philosophy to the criminological problem. Presenting harm as a universal means of understanding crime and deviance, it draws on dialectics, transcendental materialism and psychosocial history to construct an alternative perspective for criminological thought in the twenty-first century. Unmatched in its sophistication yet written in a clear, accessible style, this dynamic and highly engaging book is essential reading for all students, researchers and academics working in criminology, sociology, social policy, politics and the social sciences in general.