Mannheim, Hermann

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MANNHEIM, HERMANN (1889–1974), lawyer and criminologist, pioneer of the teaching of criminology in Britain. Born in Russia of German parents, Mannheim was educated in Germany. He combined his work as a judge in the Berlin criminal and appeals court with that of a professor of criminal law at Berlin University. When in 1933 his career in Germany came to an end, he had already achieved a position of both judicial and academic eminence. In 1934 Mannheim settled in England where he continued his studies in the sociological and psychological problems connected with crime and punishment and introduced the systematic teaching of criminology into British universities. His courses at the London School of Economics, where the post of reader in criminology was created for him in 1946, were attended by social scientists, lawyers, psychologists, and psychiatrists from all over the world. In those years Mannheim already wrote some of his influential books, among them: The Dilemma of Penal Reform (1939), War and Crime (1941), and Criminal Justice and Social Reconstruction (1946, 2nd ed. 1949, 3rd ed. 1967). He took a leading part in the establishment and the development of almost every important scientific and public activity aiming at the study of crime, the understanding of the offender, and the peno-correctional treatment of delinquents and criminals. For several years he served as president of the scientific committee of the International Criminological Society. He was co-founder and coeditor of the British Journal of Criminology (1950–66) and of the International Library of Criminology. The London Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency and the Howard League for Penal Reform were among the causes to which he dedicated his life. In 1955 he published (together with L.T. Wilkins) his Prediction Methods in Relation to Borstal Training, the first examination in Britain of the efficacy of penal methods. The Home Office adopted its findings in the administration of the Borstal and prison services. His textbook, Comparative Criminology (2 vols., 1965), is the definitive statement on the study of crime in the United States, Britain, and Continental Europe, dealing with the causes of crime, the sociological, psychological, and physical factors involved, and also critically analyzing the various methods used in criminological research. He edited Pioneers in Criminology, which has become one of the basic readings for the student of criminology in the Anglo-Saxon world.


T. Grygier et al. (eds.), Essays in Honour of Hermann Mannheim (1965), includes a full bibliography. add. bibliography: odnb online.

[Zvi Hermon]

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Mannheim, Hermann

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