A General Theory of Crime

Juvenile delinquency, Deviance (sociology), Social control theory

A General Theory of Crime
(Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi)

Term Paper
Soc 203
Prof. Ortiz
12th December 2002

Crime is a serious issue in the United States and research shows that it is running rampant, and its effects are felt in all socioeconomic levels. Each economic class has its own crime rates and types of crime. It is a mistake to think of crime as a lower class problem. Crime is a problem for all people. The lower classes commit crime for survival while the upper class commits crime to supplement capital and maintain control. Research also highlight that middle class crime is the most popular while lower class neighborhoods are deteriorating. This paper will focus on "A General Theory of Crime" using classical theory (Schmalleger, 2001, p.96-98), such as the relationship between crime and socioeconomic class structure. The essential nature of crime and results of scientific and popular conceptions of crime. In reading the book, there is a broad perspective and comprehensive explanations of crime per se, as well as a breakdown of crime under capitalistic system of government. In doing this the authors explore the typical patterns of crime associated with specific classes and attempts by the state to regulate and control capitalist marketplace activities and working class life. An important theme also highlighted was dynamic and contradictory relationship between the structural reproduction of capitalism and capitalist methods of crime control. The actual patterns of social relations are determined by the economy, institutionalized forms of the state or political power, and associated forms of culture and ideology (Gottfredson, 1998). Modes of behavior and their definition as criminal vary accordingly. Class structure gives rise to different types of criminality, which relate fundamentally to the needs of the dominant minority to control the laboring majority. Such a pattern ensures the continual production of social wealth,...
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