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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 159641 Find in a Library
Title: In Defense of Comparative Criminology: A Critique of General Theory and the Rational Man (From Legacy of Anomie Theory: Advances in Criminological Theory, Volume 6, P 367-392, 1995, Freda Adler and William S Laufer, eds. -- See NCJ-159627)
Author(s): M J Lynch; W B Groves
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: Transaction Publishers
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Sale Source: Transaction Publishers
Rutgers-the State University
140 West Ethel Road
Units L-M
Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The authors offer a defense of criminological research and theory that is both historically and culturally grounded in the literature favoring general theory.
Abstract: They contend that general theory speaks against comparative theory, that it does so without providing an adequate critique of a comparative perspective, and that it fails to consider comparative research findings. Their arguments are divided into four parts: (1) goals of general theory, its logical style, and levels of abstraction and forms of analysis common to general theory; (2) the general theory of crime developed by Hirschi and Gottfredson; (3) the role of history and culture in the construction of criminological theory; and (4) rational man assumptions on which general theoretical approaches within criminology are based. The authors conclude that a general theory of crime that attempts to explain crime in all cultural and historical settings and in terms of immutable forces is impossible. Rather, crime theory should be culturally and historically specific and directly address the context in which crime is committed, reacted to, and constructed. An adequate crime theory should address multiple causation levels, demonstrate a connection between structural and subjective factors, include opportunity structure as an important dimension of understanding crime, discuss effects of law enforcement, and construct explanations of crime that are grounded in empirical realities. 111 references and 15 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation
Index Term(s): Comparative criminology; Crime causes theory; Crimes of opportunity; Cultural influences; Opportunity theory; Psychological theories; Society-crime relationships; Sociological analyses
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