On the Absence of Self-Control as the Basis for a General Theory of Crime: a Critique: a Summation of Geis’ Text

Topics: Criminology, Crime, Theory Pages: 2 (787 words) Published: June 21, 2013
On the Absence of Self-Control as the Basis for a General Theory of Crime: A Critique: A Summation of Geis’ Text

On the Absence of Self-Control as the Basis for a General Theory of Crime: A Critique: A Summation of Geis’ Text
Self-control theory theorizes the single most important factor behind crime is an individual’s lack of self-control. This is explored and explained much more in-depth in A General Theory of Crime. In this book, Gottfredson and Hirschi theorized that low self-control is the root to all crime at all times and ultimately the general theory of crime. They referenced back to the cause of low self-control describing the parenting that they claim is to blame and therefore theorized that bad parenting leads to low self-control that leads to crime, making low self-control the root of all crime. Gilbert Geis, a criminologist, has dissected the theory and found many deficiencies regarding its applicability to all crime. Although Geis admires the attempt to generalize a theory to explain all crime he also admires a saying that states “nothing is more tragic than the murder of a grand theory by a little fact” (p. 177). Through many examples of different crimes, criminal behaviors, and scenarios, Geis was able to dispute the self-control theory in regards to: its definition of crime, the matter of tautology, its discussion of criminal law, its inclusion of the acts analogous to crimes, exceptions to the theory, the role played in the theory by the concept of opportunity, its views about specialization in criminal behavior, its handling of the matter of aging, how it deals with white collar crime, research on the theory, ideological issues, and child-rearing and the theory. How much variance can the theory explain? There should be one theory per one type of crime. It is not likely that any contributing variable is applicable for all crimes. This is the idea that fueled Geis to dispute the claims made by Gottfredson and Hirschi. The idea of...

References: Cretacci, M. (2007). A general test of self-control theory: Has its importance been exaggerated?. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 52(5), 538-553.
Pontell, H. (2004). Social deviance: readings in theory and research (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Turner, M., & Piquero, A. (2002). The stability of self-control. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30(6), 457-471.
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