© 2018

Criminal Actions and Social Situations

Understanding the Role of Structure and Intentionality

  • Interrogates the nature of responsibility and how people act within groups

  • Questions differing levels of culpability when people are engaged in a criminal act

  • Appeals to a wide range of scholars within the Social Sciences: criminologists, sociologists and practitioners


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Technical and Analytical Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Anthony Amatrudo
      Pages 3-32
    3. Anthony Amatrudo
      Pages 33-60
  3. Legal Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 61-61
    2. Anthony Amatrudo
      Pages 63-87
  4. Reality and Sociology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 117-117
    2. Anthony Amatrudo
      Pages 145-169
    3. Anthony Amatrudo
      Pages 171-179
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 181-196

About this book


This book develops a more nuanced, and technically rigorous, account of persons and groups in the context of intentional action and responsibility. Until now criminologists have taken groups as fairly straightforward associations and neglected the technical – and problematic – issues of how intention and action both structure membership and action. Amatrudo also assesses the often-overlooked fleeting nature of many groups and the overstated continuity of group membership, and this book has radical implications for the way we describe criminal groupings e.g. “criminal” groups with their loose bonds but tight sense of intentionality from criminogenic groups with their tight bonds and loose sense of intentionality. A key issue investigated here is the implications involved for people incarcerated on joint criminal enterprise charges and gang membership-related charges; and this timely topic will be of great interest to academics and students of Criminology, Law, Sociology and a variety of other Social Sciences. The volume will also be useful for lawyers, social workers, community workers and others involved in the criminal justice system.


Collective Action Collective Goals Mobs Gangs Criminal Groups UK Criminal Law International Law War Criminal Prosecutions Membership of Illegal Organisations criminal responsibility Culpability robbers war criminals drug dealers

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolMiddlesex UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dr Anthony Amatrudo is Associate Professor of Criminology at Middlesex University School of Law, UK.

Bibliographic information


“This book makes a vital contribution to criminologists’ understanding of the limits of shared criminal responsibility. Drawing on philosophy, law and sociology – and through exploration of real world examples – Amatrudo argues for a more technical and restricted concept of collective responsibility that would place more emphasis on intention and limit recourse to racialised stereotypes of ‘the gang’ in cases of joint enterprise.” (Lizzie Seal, Reader in Criminology, University of Sussex, UK)

“Criminal Actions and Social Situations provides a powerfully insightful exploration of individual responsibility and the situational context from which these behaviors are performed. However, rather than view the individual and the social as discrete philosophical categories, Amatrudo explores the ways in which individual responsibility is reflected in group behavior and how group behavior implicates the individual in its actions. This is a must read.” (David Polizzi, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Indiana State University, USA)

“In this book Amatrudo takes the analytical scalpel to the criminological discourse on collective action, intentionality and culpability. This is no mean feat and the book therefore deserves to be read widely.” (Ronnie Lippens, Keele University, UK)