Tony Jefferson graduated from Loughborough College of Education with a degree in Education in 1969. After teaching in schools for three years, he did postgraduate work in the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Birmingham University (1972-7), receiving his MA in 1974.
He took up a Home Office funded Police Research Fellowship at Sheffield University in 1977. In 1980 he became a Lecturer in Criminology, also at Sheffield University where he taught for the next 16 years. He was made a Professor there in 1994 and was appointed Professor of Criminology by Keele University in 1997, where he remained until his retirement in 2007. Between 1997 and 2000 he was Head of the Department of Criminology.
He has also held Visiting Professorships in Sweden, Denmark, Australia and the USA, including a year as Visiting Presidential Scholar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (2007-08).
He has researched and published widely on questions to do with youth subcultures, the media, policing, race and crime, masculinity, fear of crime and racial violence. His recent books include: Policing the Crisis 2nd edn., 2013 (with Stuart Hall et al); Doing Qualitative Research Differently 2nd edn., 2012 (with Wendy Hollway); Psychosocial Criminology, 2007 (with Dave Gadd); Resistance through Rituals 2nd edn., 2006 (edited with Stuart Hall). Between 1999 and 2002 he was the British Editor of the journal Theoretical Criminology.