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NCJ Number: 99572 Find in a Library
Title: Level of Explanation Problem in Criminology (From Theoretical Methods in Criminology, P 51-72, 1985, Robert F Meier, ed. - See NCJ-99570)
Author(s): J F Short
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses the relationship of some of theoretical criminology's assumptions to levels of explanation, with particular reference to crime and delinquency.
Abstract: The author indicates that any phenomenon may be explained through an analysis of a variety of components and processes, no one of which completely explains the phenomenon. 'Levels of explanation' are defined as the distinguishing components of an analysis that explain some aspect of the phenomenon. The author classifies levels of explanation as (1) the individual level, (2) the microsociological level, and (3) the macrosociological level. The individual level examines the characteristics of individuals to explain their behavior. The microsociological level examines ongoing interactions between persons and groups, and the interactions between persons and groups, and the macrosociological level explores the characteristics of social systems and cultures. Analyzing a phenomenon at one of these levels while ignoring the other levels of explanation yields an incomplete explanation of the phenomenon, according to the author. He discusses how these various levels of explanation were used to analyze juvenile gang behavior and the behavior of juveniles within gangs in Chicago. He then explores special problems posed by an analysis of organizational behavior, followed by a discussion of the use of levels of explanation in the formal development of criminological theories. The chapter's concluding section shows how the concept of levels of explanation influences the organization of criminological knowledge. Thirty-eight references are listed.
Index Term(s): Criminology; Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Organizational theories; Research design
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