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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118596 Find in a Library
Title: Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences
Author(s): J R Lilly; F T Cullen; R A Ball
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 226
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8039-2639-1
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In examining the history of criminological theory, the central theme of this book is the interconnection among social context, criminological theory, and criminal justice policymaking.
Abstract: A review of early efforts to explain criminal behavior focuses on attempts to posit crime causes in individuals: in their souls, their wills, or their bodily constitution. These theories were followed by theories which reasoned that crime causes were not rooted in individuals but in the characteristics of the socioeconomic system. Some scholars asserted that the seeds of crime were in the fabric of slum life; others reasoned that the very nature of American society was criminogenic. An examination of theoretical models that largely emerged and then gained force in the 1960's and 1970's addresses "control" theorists, who suggested that criminal behavior inevitably emerges in the absence of exposure to and the incorporation of normative values. Also discussed is labeling theory, which holds that attempts to identify and isolate offenders from society by processing them in the criminal justice system increases the risk that a criminal identity will emerge. This is followed by an examination of "conflict" or "radical" theories, which suggest that the system of capitalism induces high rates of lawlessness among both rich and poor. The concluding chapter notes a current return to the focus on the individual as the root cause of crime. Policy implications of the various theories are examined. 253 references, subject index. For individual chapters, see NCJ-118597-99.
Main Term(s): Crime causes theory
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Opportunity theory; Social control theory; Society-crime relationships; Strain theory
Note: From the series "Studies in Crime, Law and Justice," volume 5.
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