Professor Manuel Eisner

Professor at Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge


Professor of Comparative & Developmental Criminology, Deputy Director of the Institute and Director of the Social Science Research Methods Programme, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

Professor Eisner’s research focuses on two main area; macro-level historical patterns of violence, and individual development and the causes and prevention of aggressive behaviour.

His research on the former includes an innovative study on levels of homicide across Europe over a period of over 800 years. Through this research Professor Eisner was able to conclusively demonstrate a long-term pattern of declining homicide across Europe and to empirically show geographic variations in these patterns. This research has influences how sociologists and criminologists view trends in interpersonal violence and its relationship to the evolution of modern society. His research has also 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.

Professor Eisner’s research into the causes of aggression has focused 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 to examine the social development of primary school children, known as the ‘Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children’. 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.

In addition to his role at the University, he is also a Private Docent in Sociology at the University of Zurich. Prior to which he was Associate Professor of Sociology at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. 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.