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NCJ Number: 69148 Find in a Library
Title: REFORMULATION OF THE 'EQUAL OPPORTUNITY' EXPLANATION OF FEMALE DELINQUENCY
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(JULY 1980)  Pages:333-343
Author(s): J FIGUEIRA-MCDONOUGH; E SELO
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE 'EQUAL OPPORTUNITY' THESIS PREDICTS THAT AN INCREASE IN LEGITIMATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN INCREASE IN FEMALE CRIMINALITY.
Abstract: THROUGH A THEORETICAL INVENTORY OF OPPORTUNITY-RELATED DELINQUENCY EXPLANATIONS, SOME CRUCIAL LINKS IN THE CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OPPORTUNITY AND DELINQUENCY ARE IDENTIFIED. THREE FUNDAMENTAL PERSPECTIVES ON DELINQUENCY-THE STRAIN, THE SUBCULTURE, AND THE BOND THEORIES--ARE RELEVANT TO THE OPPORTUNITY ARGUMENT. BOTH STRAIN AND SUBCULTURE THEORISTS FOCUS ON SOCIAL PRESSURES ENCOURAGING ILLEGAL ACTS. STRAIN THEORISTS EXPLAIN THAT LACK OF ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITIES IS THE MAJOR RATIONALE FOR DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR. SUBCULTURISTS STATE THAT LACK OF OPPORTUNITY AND CONSIDERABLE DEPRIVATION FOSTER ADAPTATION TO DEVIANT NORMS; DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR IS SIMPLY THE EXPRESSION OF THESE INTERNALIZED COUNTERCULTURAL NORMS. BOND THEORISTS, IN CONTRAST, ARGUE THAT DELINQUENCY OCCURS AS A RESULT OF WEAKENING NORMATIVE AND INTERPERSONAL TIES TO CONVENTIONAL SOCIETY. THUS THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY THESIS CAN BE RESTATED AS THREE PROPOSITIONS, EACH BASED ON ONE OF THE ABOVE THEORIES. (1) THE ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES ENGAGED IN BY GIRLS WITH HIGH SUCCESS ASPIRATIONS AND LOW ACCESS TO MATERIAL AND LEGITIMATE OPPORTUNITIES WILL BE SIMILAR TO THE MISBEHAVIOR OF BOYS, ATTRIBUTED TO STRAIN. (2) SIMILAR LEVELS OF FRUSTRATION WILL LEAD TO SIMILAR BEHAVIOR BY THE TWO SEXES IF THEY HAVE EQUAL KNOWLEDGE OF AND COMPARABLE ACCESS TO ILLEGITIMATE MEANS. (3) LOW LEVELS OF CONTROL, UNDER CONDITIONS OF STRAIN, WILL RESULT IN SIMILAR DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR AMONG MALES AND FEMALES. THIS MODEL CAN BE USED TO TEST THE EFFECT OF THE THREE TYPES OF BONDS (STRAIN, SUBCULTURE, CONTROL) UPON BEHAVIOR PATTERNS OF MALES OR FEMALES. THE MODEL'S SIGNIFICANCE IS THAT IT ALLOWS FOR SEPARATE EXPLORATION OF CONVENTIONAL EXPLANATIONS FOR SEX DIFFERENTIALS IN DELINQUENCE: THAT LOWER RATES OF FEMALE DELINQUENCY CAN BE EXPLAINED BY LOW ASPIRATIONS AMONG FEMALES, REMOVING THE PROBABILITY OF INTENSE STRAIN; THAT GIRLS GET INTO LESS SERIOUS TROUBLE BECAUSE THAY ARE LESS EXPOSED TO ILLEGITIMATE ALTERNATIVES; AND THAT THE WEAKNESS OF LEGITIMATE ATTACHMENTS IS A BETTER PREDICTOR OF FEMALE THAN OF MALE DELINQUENCY. EXPLANATIONS FOR THESE ASSUMPTIONS NOW NEED NOT DEPEND ON SEX-BASED STEREOTYPES, BUT RATHER ON GENERAL VARIABLES APPLICABLE TO BOTH SEXES. THE VALIDITY OF THE PROPOSITIONS IS NOT CONTINGENT ON THE VALIDITY OF THE STEREOTYPES. OVER 30 FOOTNOTES AND 2 FIGURES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Female juvenile delinquents; Female offenders; Female sex roles; Male female offender comparisons; Models; Sex discrimination; Social conditions; Social control theory; Socioculture; Subculture theory
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