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NCJ Number: 168663 Find in a Library
Title: Explaining the Absence of Violent Crime Among the Semai of Malaysia: Is Criminological Theory Up to the Task?
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:25  Issue:3  Dated:1997  Pages:177-194
Author(s): G Moss
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article demonstrates that six major criminological perspectives--social control, self-control, strain, labeling, feminist, and social learning--apply in providing criminological accounts of nonviolence among the Semai people of Malaysia.
Abstract: The Semai are aboriginal people who have maintained settlements in which violent crime is completely absent. Although the Semai have been subjected to extensive anthropological examination, they have not been the subject of criminological inquiry. Anthropological accounts of Semai culture indicate the ability of the Semai to prevent violent crime is significantly aided by a form of violence prevention that criminological theory has not yet addressed. The Semai culture appears to have universally socialized its members to react to potentially violent situations with a fear response that inhibits them from committing violent criminal acts. Previous theories of crime that have dealt with, either directly or implicitly, the relationship between fear and the inhibition of crime have focused exclusively on the individual level, or they have focused on the ability of social environments to generate fear among potential criminals by providing them with formal or informal deterrents. Such theories have completely ignored the ability of social environments to affect the extent to which individuals tend to become fearful when they are confronted with frustrating stimuli. Further research is recommended to measure Semai levels of social bonding, self-control, and strain and to estimate the degree to which the Semai can remain nonviolent. 49 references and 9 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation
Index Term(s): Aborigines; Behavioral science research; Crime control theory; Crime in foreign countries; Cultural influences; Feminism; Foreign crime prevention; Labeling theory; Malaysia; Social control theory; Social Learning; Socialization; Sociological analyses; Strain theory; Violence prevention; Violent crimes
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