Criminological Theory Summaries
Theory Classical Main Points Theorists/Researchers Beccaria Crime occurs when the benefits outweigh the costs—when people pursue self-interest in the absence of effective punishments. Crime is a freewilled choice. See also deterrence, rational choice. Cric if reinforced. When criminal subcultures exist, then many individuals can learn to commit crime in one location and crime rates—including violence— may become very high. The gap between the American Dream’s goal of economic success and the opportunity to obtain this goal creates structural strain. Norms weaken and ‘anomie’ ensues, thus creating high crime rates. When otheant. When such an institutional imbalance exists—as in the United States—then crime rates are very high. Glueck & Glueck Mednick Caspi Moffitt Shaw & McKay Sampson Bursik & Grasmick
Differential Association Social Learning Subcultural
Sutherland & Cressey Sykes & Matza Akers Wolfgang & Ferracuti Anderson
Merton Messner & Rosenfeld
Strain General Strain
Cohen When individuals cannot obtain success goals Cloward & Ohlin (money, status in school), they experience strain Agnew or pressure. Under certain conditions, they are likely to respond to this strain through crime. The strains leading to crime, however, may not only be linked to goal blockage (or deprivation of valued stimuli) but also to the presentation of noxious stimuli and the taking away of valued stimuli. Crime is a more likely response to strain when it results in negative affect (anger and frustration). Asks the question, “Why don’t people commit crime?” They assume that criminal motivation is widespread. They key factor in crime causation is thus the presence or absence of control. These controls or containment might be rooted in relationships (e.g., social bonds) or be internal (e.g., self-control). Exposure to control also might differ by...
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