Professor Manuel EisnerProfessor of Comparative & Developmental Criminology
Deputy Director of the Institute
Professor Manuel Eisner
Professor of Comparative & Developmental Criminology, Deputy Director of the Institute
Manuel Eisner is Professor of Comparative and Developmental Criminology, Deputy Director of the Institute, and Director of the Social Science Research Methods Programme at the University of Cambridge. He is also Director of the Violence Research Centre. Previously he was Associate Professor of Sociology at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He has published 15 authored or edited books and over 100 journal articles and book chapters in English, German, and French. Professor Eisner is a member of several editorial and advisory boards of academic journals and book series. He was awarded the Fellowship of the Society of Experimental Criminology in 2006 and is this year’s recipient of the Sellin-Glueck award by the American Society of Criminology.
The academic work of Professor Eisner revolves around two main areas, namely research on macro-level historical patterns of violence and research on individual development and the causes and prevention of aggressive behaviour.
Historical Violence Research
Professor Eisner's research on the history of interpersonal violence comprises, amongst others, an innovative study on levels of homicide across Europe over a period of over 800 years ( see, e.g. "Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime", Crime and Justice: A Review of Research , Vol. 30). This study has become a landmark in our knowledge on historical patterns of interpersonal violence. More particularly, Professor Eisner was first to conclusively demonstrate a long-term pattern of declining homicide across Europe and to empirically show geographic variations in these patterns. This research has had a profound impact on how sociologists and criminologists think about long-term trends in interpersonal violence and their relationship to the evolution of modern society. For example, his research has highlighted the ways in which cultural models of conduct of life, embedded in social institutions, have shaped patterns of daily behaviour among adolescent and young adult men, which in turn influenced the likelihood of frictions leading to aggressive behaviour.
A recent study has examined long-term trends in elite violence by examining the frequency of regicide in all major European Monarchies between 600 and 1800 AD ("Killing Kings", in British Journal of Criminology, 2011, 51(3), 556-577).
Developmental Research on the Causes of Aggression
Professor Eisner is also an expert on the developmental causes of crime and delinquency as well as the effectiveness of early prevention during childhood. He is currently conducting a unique large scale longitudinal study in Switzerland, the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children, z-proso.
Z-proso is a longitudinal study that examines the social development of 1200 children who entered primary school in 2004. It is combined with a randomized field trial on the effectiveness of two early prevention programmes, one targeting parenting skills and the other promoting social, cognitive, and emotional skills in the school setting. At present the longitudinal study comprises four waves of data collection between ages 7 and 11. Z-proso is thus one of only a handful of studies worldwide that combine a long-term longitudinal and an experimental design, allowing for assessing durable effects of early prevention efforts until adolescence. Based on this study Professor Eisner has published, amongst others, on the methodological challenges of conducting criminological research in multicultural contexts, the use of event history calendars for measuring life events, and the implementation of universal prevention programs (e.g. "Conducting a Criminological Survey in a Culturally Diverse Context." European Journal of Criminology, 2007, 4(3)).
He has recently published a paper on the potential impact of conflict of interest on evaluation research in criminology that has stimulated a debate with contributions by Prof. Lawrence Sherman and Prof David Olds (Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2009, Vol 5, 2).
Students who consider applying for a PhD under my supervision should contact me by email with a short summary of their research proposal before submitting an application. I mainly supervise doctoral theses that use a quantitative approach in the following areas:
- History of violence research
- Causes of aggression and violence
- Prevention and intervention research
- International research on micro and macro-level predictors of violence.
There may be possibilities to conduct a Ph.D. related to on of my on-going research projects. Please contact me for further information.
Selected Publications and Working Papers
- Averdijk, M, M. Eisner, D. Ribeaud (2013). Method effects in survey questions about peer victimization, in: Ruiter, S., Bernasco, W., Huisman, W. & Bruinsma, G. (Eds.) (2013). Eenvoud en verscheidenheid: Liber amicorum voor Henk Elffers [Simplicity and Diversity; Festschrift for Henk Elffers]. Amsterdam: NSCR & Afdeling Criminologie Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 559 pages. ISBN 978-90-902-7706-6.
- Eisner, Manuel and Amy Nivette (2013) Does Low Legitimacy Cause Crime? A Review of the Evidence (Violence Research Centre Working Paper, final version to appear in Tankebe, J. and Liebling, A. (eds.), Legitimacy and Criminal Justice: An International Exploration. Oxford University Press.)
- Eisner, Manuel and Amy Nivette (2012) How to Reduce the Global Homicide Rate to 2 per 100,000 by 2060, in: Loeber, Rolf, and Walsh, Brandon C. (eds.). The Future of Criminology. New York: Oxford University Press, p 219-228.
- Eisner,Manuel (2012) What Causes Large-scale Variation in Homicide Rates? (Working Paper, July 2012) Final revised version to be published in in Heinze, Juergen and Kortuem, Henning (eds.) Aggression in Humans and Primates. Berlin: de Gruyter.
- Eisner, Manuel & David Humphreys (2012) Measuring Conflict of Interest in Prevention and Intervention Research – A Feasibility Study (draft). Final version published in: T. Bliesener, A. Beelmann & M. Stemmler (eds.), Antisocial behavior and crime. Contributions of developmental and evaluation research to prevention and intervention. Göttingen, London: Hogrefe International.
- Averdijk, M., Malti, T., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M.P. (2012). Parental separation and child aggressive and internalizing behavior: An event history calendar analysis. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43(2), 184-200. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0259-9
- Averdijk, Margit, Katrin Mueller-Johnson & Manuel Eisner (2011). Sexual Victimization of Children and Adolescents in Switzerland; Final Report to the UBS Optimus Foundation. Zurich: Optimus Foundation.
- Malti, T., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M.P. (2011). The effects of two universal preventive interventions to reduce children’s externalizing behavior: A cluster-randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40(5), 677-692.
- Averdijk, M., Malti, T., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M.P. (2011). Trajectories of aggressive behaviour and children’s social-cognitive development. International Journal of Developmental Science, 5,103-111. doi: 10.3233/DEV-2011-10067
- Eisner, Manuel (2009) The Uses of Violence: An Examination of Some Cross-Cutting Issues International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 3(1), 40-59.
- Eisner, Manuel (2008) Modernity Strikes Back? A Historical Perspective on the Latest Increase in Interpersonal Violence (1960–1990). International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 2(2) 288-316