Nils Christie (1928 – 2015) was a Norwegian criminologist and sage who gave us profoundly different ways of thinking about crime and punishment. His insights are always grounded in humanity, wisdom and indeed practical good sense.

For an accessible introduction to his life and work, see the Chapter by Katja Franko Aas in Fifty Key Thinkers in Criminology, edited by Keith Hayward, Shadd Maruna and Jayne Mooney (2010: Abingdon: Routledge)

Online obituaries include tributes by Thomas Mathiesen, Richard Sparks, David Cayley,

There are a number of tributes here.

The best introduction to Christie’s work is through his own writings.

His paper ‘Conflicts as property’, (1977 – British Journal of Criminology, 17 (1): 1-15) must be among the most cited articles in the history of the subject and was enormously influential in developing thinking about restorative justice.

The full text of his marvellous work Limits to Pain (1981) is online here.

His other most influential writings are:

Christie, N. (2000) Crime Control as Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style (3rd edition), London: Routledge

Christie, N. (2004) A Suitable Amount of Crime, London: Routledge

Nils Christie

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