Criminological Theories

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Student Study Guide
for

Ronald L. Akers and Christine S. Sellers’

Criminological Theories:
Introduction, Evaluation, and Applications
Fourth Edition

Prepared by

Eric See
Youngstown State University

Roxbury Publishing Company
Los Angeles, California

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Student Study Guide by Eric See for Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation, and Application , 4th Edition by Ronald L. Akers and Christine S. Sellers Copyright © 2004 Roxbury Publishing Company, Los Angeles, California. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the Publisher. Publisher: Claude Teweles Project Manager: Renee Ergazos Copy Editor: Jann Einfeld Production Assistant: Leigh Conley Manufactured in the United States of America. ISBN: 1-931719-85-3

ROXBURY PUBLISHING COMPANY P.O. Box 491044 Los Angeles, CA 90049-9044 Voice: (310) 473-3312 Fax: (310) 373-4490 E-mail: roxbury@roxbury.net Website: www.roxbury.net

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. Chapter 8. Chapter 9. Chapter 10. Chapter 11. Chapter 12. Introduction to Criminological Theory Deterrence and Rationale Choice Theories Biological Theories Psychological Theories Social Learning Theory Social Bonding and Control Theories Labeling Theory Social Disorganization, Anomie, and Strain Theories Conflict Theory Marxist and Critical Theories Feminist Theories Integrating Criminological Theories 4 7 11 15 18 22 25 28 32 35 38 41

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Chapter 1
Introduction to Criminological Theory Terms Causality. A concept more applicable to the hard sciences. Does the appearance of X cause effect Y? In a perfect relationship, the appearance of X would always cause the effect Y. each and every time the relationship is seen. Empirical Validity. This is the most important factor in evaluating a theory, and means that the theory has been supported by research evidence. Ideology. A belief system and a set of core values or philosophy. In a pure sense, an ideology states or explains how things should be, and a theory explains how things actually are. Internal Logical Consistency. A theory needs to be presented in a logical manner and to have clearly stated propositions that agree with or do not contradict one another. Restated, does the theory make logical and consistent sense? Macro. Macro theories of criminal behavior explain the “big picture” of crime—crime across the world or across a society. They attempt to answer why there are variations in group rates of crime. Other authors have used the terms “epidemiology” or social structural theories. Micro. Micro theories of criminal behavior focus on a small group of offenders or on an individual crime. They attempt to answer why some individuals are more likely than others to commit crime. Other authors have used the terms “individual conduct” or processual theories. Necessary Condition. This means that X must be present to produce effect Y. If X is not present, Y will not occur. Parsimony. This refers to how many propositions, steps, or statements are involved. How simple is the theory? Policy Implications. If the theory is empirically valid, what solutions are suggested. Probabilistic Causality. A concept more applicable to the social sciences. X is more or less likely to cause effect Y. Restated, X tends to cause Y. Scope. Refers to how much or how many types of crime or deviance the theory covers. Sufficient Condition. Each time X is present, effect Y will always occur.

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Tautology. Circular reasoning. If a theory states that greed causes people to commit crime, and then says we know Jon is greedy because he committed a crime, it becomes impossible to subject the theory to the scientific process. In this case, you...
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