CJ for Students

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Other Resources on the Net

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Criminological Theory


Each article on this page was pulled from sites that specialize in peer reviewed documents. These sites included Capella University’s online library, Sage Publications, Proquest, EBSCO, ERICS, as well as numerous others. I have included the abstract for each article where available for ease of browsing.

Each document has been thoroughly scanned personally for viruses, Trojans, or macros and is clean and safe for download. These documents are in Adobe PDF or Word format.

"In this witty excursion through the recent history of sociological thinking about crime, Travis Hirschi traces the checkered career of therational choice perspective and discusses the reasons for its persistent failure to be granted status as a serious, testable, or even reasonable theory about human behavior. Hirschi ascribes these vicissitudes to the irreconcilable conflict of basic assumptions about human nature that underlies criminological theorizing—between those who hold to the image of human beings as social animals and those (social control,rational choice, and routine activities theorists) who perceive them as self-seeking."



Empirical Status of Social Learning Theory of Crime and Deviance:
The Past, Present, and Future - Akers et al 2009

"This paper has two goals. The first goal is to review the empirical research evidence on the validity of social learning theory as an explanation of criminal and deviant behavior. The second goal is to illuminate new directions for expanding, elaborating, and testing the
theory in the future. We will propose ways to build on the Social Structure and Social Learning (SSSL) model (Akers, 1998) and our recent efforts in “taking social learning global” (Jensen and Akers, 2003) toward an integrated theory that addresses issues that we believe have been ignored for too long."



A theory of rational action - pollock 2008

A theory of rational action is a theory of rational choice. This is a PDf slide presentation.



Implications analysis: A proposal for linking theory to the social science - Lieberson 2008

"Sociology and other social sciences struggle to emulate a model of
scientific evidence that is often inappropriate. Not only do social
researchers encounter special limits, but they are also handicapped
by a distorted and idealized picture of practices in the “hard sciences.”
Ironically, while often obliged to use data of lower quality,
sociology employs standards for evaluating a theory that are not
attained in the hard sciences. After a brief review of these obstacles,
we describe a set of procedures for using empirical data
to rigorously evaluate theories and hypotheses without resorting to the mimicking of hard science."


"Relational-cultural theory (RCT) theorists advocate expanding the multicultural/social justice counseling competencies beyond the domains of self-awareness, cultural knowledge, and culturally responsive helping skills. This article provides an overview of RCT and discusses how creating and participating in growth-fostering relationships are essential
dimensions of human development and psychological well-being. Implications of this theoretical model for counseling practice are also addressed."



Situational crime prevention and its discontents: Rational choice theory versus the culture of now - Hayward 2007

"The rational choice theory of crime and its cognate field of study, situational crime prevention, have exerted a considerable influence in criminal justice policy and criminology. This article argues that, while undeniably useful as a means of reducing property or acquisitive crime, rational choice inspired situational crime prevention initiatives are limited when it comes to offering protection against a growing number of so-called ‘expressive crimes’. Developing this critique, the article will
criticize the sociologically hollow narrative associated with rational choice theories of crime by drawing on recent research in social theory and consumer studies."



Socialogical mainstream theories of crime Chapter_6 - Hagen 2007 Major Sociological Theoretical Approaches in Criminology

"The early classical, biological, and psychological traditions in criminology theory were similar in their relatively conservative view of society (the consensus model) as well as in their search for the cause of crime in either lack of fear of deterrence, defective individual genetics, or the psyche. The individual criminal was the unit of analysis. The only departures from this deviant behavior approach to criminality were found in the writings of the economic theorists (Marx and Bonger) and the ecologists (Quetelet and Guerry)."



A Test of Hirschi’s Social Bonding Theory: Juvenile Delinquency in the High Schools of Ankara, Turkey - Ozbay et al 2006

"Travis Hirschi’s social bonding theory has mostly been tested in theWest. In this study, the theory is tested on juvenile delinquency in a developing country, Turkey. Data were gathered from 1,710 high school students in Ankara by using two-stage stratified cluster
sampling. Factor analysis was employed to determine the dimensions of juvenile delinquency (assault, school delinquency, and public disturbance), and regression analysis was used to test the theory. Similar to some other traditional societies, the social bonding
theory plays an important role in the explanation of juvenile delinquency in Turkey."



Criminal Justice theory: Toward legitimacy and an infrastructure - Kraska 2006

"Within Criminal Justice/Criminology, “theory” is generally assumed to be concerned with crime and crime rates. Studying criminal justice is tacitly, and sometimes explicitly, relegated to the narrow role of evaluative and descriptive scholarship. This article explores the reasons for our field’s failure to recognize the importance of developing an accessible and well-recognized theoretical infrastructure not about crime, but criminal justice and crime control phenomena. It examines the complexity of our object of study when theorizing criminal
justice and the efficacy of organizing criminal justice theory using multiple “theoretical orientations.”



Differential social organization, collective action, and crime - Matsueda 2006

"This article elaborates and extends Sutherland’s [Principles of criminology (4th ed.), Lippincott, Philadelphia, Sutherland (1947)] concept of differential social organization, the sociological counterpart to his social psychological theory of differential association. Differential social organization contains a static structural component, which
explains crime rates across groups, as well as a dynamic collective action component, which explains changes in crime rates over time. I argue that by drawing on George Herbert Mead’s [Mind, self, and society. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Mead (1934)] theories of symbolic interaction and social control, we can conceptualize organization in favor of, and against, crime as collective behavior. We can then integrate theoretical mechanisms of models of collective behavior, including social network ties, collective action frames, and threshold models of collective action."



Exploring theoretical linkages between self-control theory and
criminal justice system processing - DeLisi et al 2006

"Using Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) self-control construct for theoretical leverage, this conceptual article offers a preliminary framework for examining discretion, criminal justice decision-making, and criminal justice system behavior. Low self control likely facilitates negative interactions between defendants, police, judicial officers, and correctional staff, potentially affecting discretionary outcomes. Research questions are provided for future investigators to begin empirical assessment of the relationships between self-control and criminal justice processing. As a global construct, self-control could be incorporated into criminal justice models as a potentially robust correlate of discretion, decision-making, recidivism, and offender noncompliance with the criminal justice system."



Rational choice and sociology - Hedstrom et al 2006

"Rational-choice theorizing has a long tradition within sociology,
but has always been controversial and contested. Yet it has
influenced the theoretical vocabulary of the discipline at large and
has made deep inroads into some important sociological areas
such as social movements, social mobility, and religion. Most
sociological rational-choice theories assume that actors act
rationally in a broad sense, and focus on the aggregate outcomes
that individual actors in interaction with one another are likely to
bring about. This article reviews the most important contributions
to the rational-choice tradition in sociology, and briefly discusses
its historical past and its likely future."



Edwin Sutherland and the Michael-Adler Report: Searching the soul of criminology seventy years later - Laub 2006

"In response to a devastating critique of the state of criminology
known as the Michael-Adler Report, Edwin H. Sutherland created
differential association theory as a paradigm for the field of criminology. I contend that Sutherland’s strategy was flawed because he embraced a sociological model of crime and in doing so adopted a form of sociological positivism. Furthermore, Sutherland ignored key facts
about crime that were contrary to his theoretical predilections.
Recognizing that facts must come first and that criminology is an
interdisciplinary field of study, I offer life-course criminology as a
paradigm for understanding the causes and dynamics of crime. In
addition, I identify three warning signs that I believe inhibit the
advancement of criminology as a science and a serious intellectual



The attitudes and actions of others: Tutalige and Sutherland's differential association - MaCarthy 2006

"Contemorary studies of Sutherland's Differential Association theory argue that people learn about crime predominantly or exclusively through exposure to attitudes and motives that legitimize such behaviors."



Two-Stage Boundedly Rational Choice Procedures: Theory and Experimental Evidence - Manzini et al 2006

"We study and test a class of boundedly rational models of decision making which rely on sequential eliminative heuristics. We formalize two sequential decision procedures, both inspired by plausible models popular among several psychologists and marketing scientists. However we follow a standard ‘revealed preference’ economic approach by fully characterizing these procedures by few, simple and testable conditions on observed choice. Then we test the models (as well as the standard utility maximization model) with experimental data. We find that the large majority of individuals behave in a way consistent with one of our procedures, and inconsistent with the utility maximization model."



The missing piece in rational choice theory - Favereau 2005

"James Coleman’s project was to resocialize rational choice while keeping micro-macro connections as operational as they are in economics. His general model in Foundations of sociological theory either accounts for norms while effacing social organization, or brings
social organization to the fore (in the reduced form of social capital distribution) while failing to generate sufficient norms. A parallel simulation study suggests that the problem lies in the type of rationality itself: Coleman’s rationality is merely calculative; only interpretive rationality can take collective entities into consideration. This change would require the rational actor to accede to a less cursory type of language, intensional rather than extensional."



Social Learning and Structural Factors in Adolescent Substance Use - Lee et al 2004

"Akers' (1998) Social Structure and Social Learning (SSSL) model of crime and deviance posits that social learning is the principal social psychological process by which the social structural causes of crime and deviance have an impact on individual behavior. The central hypothesis of this model is that the effects of social structural factors on deviant behavior are substantially mediated by the variables specified in social learning theory. The SSSL model is tested here with data from the Boys Town study of adolescent substance use utilizing the LISREL program."



Applying social learning theory to police misconduct - Chappell et al 2004

"Although numerous studies have attempted to understand the causes of various forms of police misconduct, there is still no clear theoretical
explanation of police misbehavior. Akers’ social learning theory posits that peer associations, attitudes, reinforcement, and modeling are
predictors of delinquency and crime in general. With this article, we seek to determine if the theory can account for police deviance. Data from a random sample of Philadelphia police officers are used to examine how officer attitudes and perceptions of peer behavior are related to citizen complaints of police misconduct. Findings suggest
that social learning theory provides a useful explanation of police misconduct."



The general theory of crime: How general is it? - jones et al 2004

"Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) general theory of crime is one of the most widely cited in the deviance literature (Wright 2000), and has been
used to predict several analogous (i.e., deviant) behaviors. However, there remain questions that have not been adequately addressed in previous research. First, there are deviant behaviors that might be explained by the general theory that have not yet been explored. Second, previous research has not shown the extent to which self-control can explain specific forms of deviance as opposed to deviant behavior in general. Finally, extant selfcontrol literature has placed an emphasis on establishing a link between self-control and negative outcomes. However, self-control has not been used to explain socially acceptable forms of risky behavior. In this study we attempt to address
these limitations by determining if self-control affects analogous behaviors such as risky driving, risky sex, academic dishonesty, and pathological gambling."


The rationality of rational choice theory - Quackenbush 2004

"Rational choice theory has long been criticized, with several recent critiques of applications in political science in general and international relations in particular. In this paper, I seek to clarify discussion about rationality in several ways. I discuss the role of assumptions in theory and the assumption of rationality in rational choice theory. I demonstrate that many critiques of rational choice theory have been misguided , since instrumental rationality—the rationality of rational choice theory—is applicable to a wide variety of social situations, including situations where various psychological, informational, and structural factors claimed to interfere with rational decision-making are present."


Towards an integrated theory of police management - Domonoske 2004

"Although there has been, for many years, a growing body of literature considering aspects of general management in business and commerce,
much of it has little direct applicability to policing. Much of the police-related management material is poorly integrated with the realities of policing and tends not to form an academic discipline in its own right. Police management as an academic discipline is best described as the study of the management of discretion in the regulation of community conflict. It is the integration of those two aspects of police work with broader managerial theory that this article considers. The partial
paradigm presented here demonstrates what may be considered the emergence of a new and robust academic discipline that presents opportunities for the development of a distinctive body of theory
specific to police management."



A crying shame: The over rationilzation of man in the rational choice perspective - Dehaan et al 2003

"The rational choice perspective explains all forms of crime by
viewing offenders as reasoning criminals. In this article, we take this
approach to task by trying out its heuristic potential. More
specifically, we look at how well it works for one special type of
crime, i.e. street robbery. On the basis of a detailed analysis of
offender accounts we argue that rational choice theory fails
adequately to conceptualize some of the essential aspects of this
form of criminal behaviour: impulsiveness, expressivity, moral
ambiguity and shame. We argue that adequate explanation and
understanding of criminality requires taking more seriously the
affective aspects of criminal behaviour and the normative meanings
that perpetrators attribute to their own behaviour before, during
and after the crime."



Anomie and Strain: Context and Consequences of Mertons two theories - Featherstone et al 2003

"Robert Merton presented two, not always clearly differentiated theories in his seminal explorations on the social-structure-and-anomie paradigm: a strain theory and an anomie theory. A one-sided focus on Merton’s strain theory in the secondary literature has unnecessarily restricted the power and effectiveness of Merton’s anomie theory. For
although structural strain is one way to explain why deviance occurs in the context of anomie, it is not the only way. We contend that scholars who are critical of strain theory should not automatically discard Merton’s anomie theory, because the perspective of anomie is compatible with several other theories of crime and delinquency. Offering examples of previous integration efforts, we maintain that Merton’s theoretical model can benefit from the input of other theories of crime and deviance as much as these other theoretical perspectives can fine-tune their models and explanations."



New directions in social disorganization theory - Kubrin and Weitzer 2003

"Social disorganization theory focuses on the relationship between neighborhood structure, social control, and crime. Recent theoretical and empirical work on the relationship between community characteristics and crime has led to important refinements of social disorganization theory, yet there remain some substantive and
methodological deficiencies in this body of work. This article addresses these problems and charts some promising new directions in social disorganization theory."


Social Control Theory - Encyclopedia of Criminology - Jensen 2003

"Social control theories of crime and delinquency attribute law-breaking
to the weakness, breakdown, or absence of those social bonds or socialization processes that are presumed to encourage law-abiding conduct. Such theories accord primacy to relationships, commitments, values, norms and beliefs that are purported to explain why people do not break laws as compared to theories according primacy to motivating forces thought to explain why people do break laws. When taken to the extreme, social control theory can be an “amotivational” theory, dismissing or ignoring the necessity of addressing motivational issues."



A Theoretical Basis for Gender-Responsive Strategies in Criminal Justice - Bloom et al 2002

"The number of women under criminal justice supervision in the United States reached over onemillion in 2001. In response, contemporary corrections has begun to consider the best way to effectively respond to women offenders. Female offenders are now a significant proportion of all offenders: they comprise 17 percent of the total number of offenders under correctional supervision, or one in every six offenders. These numbers have lead to a reexamination of the ways in which correctional policy and practice affect the female offender. This paper describes the theoretical basis for gender-responsiveness in the criminal justice system and the conceptual foundation for a set of gender-responsive strategies designed to improve policy and practice regarding women (Bloom, Owen & Covington, 2002)."



Rational expectations of leniency: The implicit plea agreements and the prosecutors role as a minister of justice - Mazur 2002




The economics of sin: Rational choice or no choice at all - Cameron 2002

"What has economics got to do with sin or indeed vice versa? These are the questions typically asked in connection with the present endeavour. A bold initial step could be taken, from a religious point of view, by saying that economics, as defined, endorses sin by dint of its stress on individual selfishness. In the formative days of professional economics much energy was expended fending off just such criticism from humanist critics such as Charles Dickens, John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle."



Rationality and rule following: On the procedural and consequential interest of the rule guided individual - Kaisla 2001

"The purpose of this paper is to examine connections between
rationality and rule following, and to propose that a distinction between
consequential and procedural interests can help us in explaining rule
following behaviour. Simon (1955, 1978) maintains that when modelling
rationality, more attention should be directed to the processes by which
the actor arrives at choices — instead of preoccupying solely with the
results of rational choice."



Femenist state theory: Applications to jurisprudence criminology and the welfare state - Haney 2000

"This article discusses developments in feminist state theory through a comparision of feminist interventions into jurisprudence, criminology, and welfare state theory."



Promising strategies to reduce substance abuse - Reno et al 2000

"Drug and alcohol abuse, drug trafficking, and related criminal activity remain serious problems that affect the lives of most Americans. Under the leadership of President Clinton and in cooperation with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the U.S. Department of Justice has promoted and pursued an approach that combines prevention,
treatment, and enforcement to break the cycle of substance abuse and crime. Promising Strategies to Reduce Substance Abuse illustrates this approach through examples of programs that have been adopted successfully by communities across the country."



Relation of affect control theory to the sentencing of criminals - Tsoudis 2000

"Past researchers have explored legal variables and demonstrated the significance of various criteria (e.g., criminal's prior record, seriousness of offense, influence of victim) on the sentencing of criminals. Affect control theory focuses on inferences about the identity of the criminal. In the present study, the author examined the influence of the foregoing legal variables and affect control theory in sentencing decisions by using U.S. undergraduates' reactions to statements of criminals and victims."



Rigor or rigor mortis? Rational choice and security studies - Walt 1999

"The past decade has witnessed a growing controversy over the status of formal approaches in political science, and especially the growing prominence of formal rational choice theory. Rational choice models have been an accepted part of the academic study of politics since the 1950s, but their popularity has grown signiªcantly in recent years.1 Elite academic departments are now expected to include game theorists and other formal modelers in order to be regarded as “up to date,” graduate students increasingly view the use of formal rational choice models as a prerequisite for professional advancement, and research employing rational choice methods is becoming more widespread throughout the discipline."


A sociology of hackers - Jordan et al 1998

"Illicit computer intruders, or hackers, are often thought of as pathological individuals rather than as members of a community. However, hackers exist within social groups that provide expertise, support, training, journals and confrences. This article outlines this community to establish the nature of hacking withininformation societies."


An introduction to the chicago school of sociology - Lutters et al 1996

"The “Chicago School” refers to a specific group of sociologists at the University of Chicago during the first half of this century. Their way of thinking about social relations was heavily qualitative, rigorous in data analysis, and focused on the city as a social laboratory. This paper provides a brief introduction to the school, as well as an overview of some of their most central themes. An examination of the thought and practice of the Chicago School must be sensitive to its socio-historical context. Thus, in order to best understand the Chicago School, some inquiry into its background is required."


Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach - Cohen et al 1979

"In this paper we present a "routine activity approach" for analyzing crime rate trends and cycles. Rather than emphasizing the characteristics of offenders, with this approach we concentrate upon the circumstances in which they carry out predatory criminal acts. Most criminal acts require convergence in space and time of likely offenders, suitable targets and the absence of capable guardians against crime. Human ecological theory facilitates an investigation into the way in which social structure produces this convergence, hence allowing illegal activities to feed upon the legal activities of everyday life. In particular, we hypothesize that the dispersion of activities away from households and families increases the opportunity for crime and thus generates higher crime rates. A variety of data is presented in support of the hypothesis, which helps explain crime rate trends in the United States 1947-1974 as a byproduct of changes in such variables as labor force participation and single-adult households."



Critical social theory: An introduction and critique - Scott 1978

"This paper gives a systematic introduction to the major themes of Jurgen Habermas' formulation of critical social theory. A discussion of his views on knowledge, cognitive interests, and scientific method is followed by an account of his social theory and his attempt to combine marxism with mainstream sociology."



Toward a critical theory of criminal justice - Buren 1975

"Criminal justice departments in higher education should take care that they critically evaluate today’s justice agencies. What is suggested is the development, primarily in academic structures, of a subdiscipline, "critical theory," to stand midway between the lofty analysis of social ideals (social philosophy) and the exposure of the inefficiencies of particular justice institutions (social criticism)."



Sutherland's differential association and marijuana use - Griffin et al 1973

"Edwin Sutherland's differential association theory was posited to explain all types of criminal or delinquent behavior. While research efforts have generally been confined to a focus on general criminal or delinquent behavior of the individual, it appears that the theory may also be applied to specific criminal or delinquent acts such as marijuana use by the individual. A casual path model based on Sutherland's theory was developed and operationalized with this emphasis. Two distinct processes of differential association (differential action association and differential attitude association) were suggested to explain the genesis of marijuana use for the individual."



A behavioral model of rational choice - Simon 1953

"A model is proposed for the description of rational choice by organisms of limited computational ability"