Theories of Crime and Criminal Activity

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Theories of Crime and Criminal Activity Every theory of crime has at least 2-3 meta-theoretical levels above it. The fundamental issues are usually addressed at the approach level, and are often called the assumptions, or starting points, of a theory, although the term "assumptions" more strictly refers to the background or domain boundaries one can draw generalizations about. Above the approach level is the Perspective level, the largest unit of agreement within a scientific community, and in fact, the names for the scientific disciplines. Perspectives are sometimes called paradigms or viewpoints, although some people use the term paradigm to refer to untestable ideologies such as: (1) rational choice; (2) pathogenesis; (3) labeling; (4) critique for the sake of critique; and (5) theoretical integration. Theory is the foundation of criminology and of criminal justice, and we study theory to know why we are doing what we do (Bohm 1985). Theory without research is not science. All research must be based on theory. People who are uninterested in theory choose to move blindly through life, or in the case of criminal justice, intervene in people's lives with only vague notions about why they are doing what they are doing. The most important task of theory is explanation, which is also called prediction. An explanation is a sensible way of relating the facts about some particular phenomenon to the intellectual atmosphere of a people at a particular time or place. Any group of like-minded, receptive people at a particular time and place is called a school of thought. Explanations are always tied to context (inter-subjective reliability) and concepts (the intellectual words and phrases in use at any given time). ... ... middle of paper ... ... be understood without considering gender. Crime is shaped by the different social experiences of and power is exercised by men and women. Patriarchy is a broad structure that shapes gender-related experiences and power. Men may use crime to exert control over women and to demonstrate masculinity—that is, to show that they are “men” in a way consistent with societal ideals of masculinity. Studied by Adler, Chesney-Lind and Messer Integrated theory uses components from other theories—usually strain, control, and social learning—to create a new theory that explains crime. They often are life-course theories, arguing that causes of crime occur in a sequence across time. Studied by Elliott, Thornberry and Cullen. References Freud, S. (1961). The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 19). Frank E. Hagan. (2002). Introduction to Criminology (5th Edition).

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