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NCJ Number: 136255 Find in a Library
Title: Poverty of a Classless Criminology -- The American Society of Criminology 1991 Presidential Address
Journal: Criminology  Volume:30  Issue:1  Dated:(February 1992)  Pages:1-19
Author(s): J Hagan
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 19
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: There are ideological and scientific reasons to be skeptical of the contemporary link between social class and crime in the context of the underclass.
Abstract: Historians continue to write about dangerous and criminal classes, while contemporary discussions refer to the underclass. One writer distinguishes four elements of the underclass: hostile street and career criminals, skilled entrepreneurs of the underground economy, passive victims of government support, and the severely traumatized. Another writer characterizes class in terms of poverty, crime, poor education, dependency, and teenage pregnancy. Prominent theories of criminogenesis also emphasize the harsh class circumstances experienced by the most desperate and disreputable segments of the population, and they causally connect these adverse conditions with serious crime. The correlation of class and crime, however, is only weakly if at all reflected in self-report analyses of crime and delinquency. Nonetheless, class is relevant to the study of crime not only for its main effects, but also through interaction and conditioning effects. Class contexts set conditions and parameters within which other factors influence and are influenced by crime and delinquency. An example of potential conditioning effects of class involves the link between juvenile delinquency and adult employment outcomes. The author concludes that more information is needed about the ways in which ideology and science influence class and crime and on the ways in which class and crime relationships vary across time and place. 81 references
Main Term(s): Society-crime relationships
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Criminology theory evaluation; Social classes
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