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Criminology (615)
CRIM 300W (16)
Nikki H. (1)


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Nikki H.

1Chapter 1The structure and relevance of theory in criminologyRational choicedeterrence theory o Asserts that criminal behavior is rational conduct that occurs when the benefits of committing crime are perceived by a wouldbe offender to be greater than both the costs of crime and the benefits of noncrimeAffected by the consequences of their actions benefits of crime are high and the costs are lowcrime will occurBenefits of crime are lower than the costscrime will not occurRetribution theory o Support the execution of convicted murderers Any theory of crime which argues that offenders can be deterred from committing criminal acts by making the punishments more sever does two things o First it emphasizes the importance of criminal sanctions in the causation of crimeRational conduct theory highlights the arsenal of penalties at the disposal of the state of discourage crimeo Second implicitly suggests what not to look atArguing that criminal conduct is rational and is responsive to the punishment policies of government implies that crime is not due to broken and dysfunctional families or psychological traits such as a weak superego or to any constellation of biological abnormalities that criminal offenders may have Articulated propositionsSocial theory Alvin Gouldner 1970 o Pointed to a complement of both articulated or explicit propositions and what he calls an infrastructure of sentiments and the personal dimension of theorythe implicit part of any theory Components are divided into articulated and unarticulated propositions Formal or written context o Theoretical concepts are linked by relationship statementsAs conventional beliefs get stronger the likelihood of crime decreases o Robert agnews general strain theory 1992Persons feel strain when they have unpleasant experiences Feel anger and blame someone or something for those feelingsAnger may be difficult to deal withUncontrolled anger may have a set of rationalizations for criminal conduct and a collection of likeminded others willing to provide support and companionshipBoth strained and anger lead to both justifications for and assistance with crime are more likely to commit criminal offenses than others 2 The cognitive or empirical validity of theory o Gouldner 1970Refers to the truth element cognitive validityA good theory with high cognitive validity is the product of an intellectual cerebral or cognitive exercise o Example of looking at social theory is that it is generally conducted by research therefore if the research obtained matches the theory it means that this is sufficient and if it does not then it has a low empirical supportUnarticulated propositionsPersonal product Gouldner 1970 o Reflect the theorist as a person a human being with a history with tastes feelings and preferences o Referred to as unarticulated because theorist usually do not make them apparent when describing the theory instead they are implicit which means formal written treatment is not likely usedInferred or discovered by implication and careful reading and rereading is used when analyzing unarticulated propositions and cognitive validity is rarely empirically tested Types of unarticulated propositionso One type concerns the assumption that all criminological theorists must inevitably make about human beings o Control theory Toby 1957 Nye 1958 Reckless 1967 and Hirshi 1969Emphasize different things in their explanations but they all share a common assumption about human beingsthat humans are generally selfinterested asocial beings who would naturally commit criminal or deviant acts if they thought it would be to their benefit Do not have an account for antisocial conduct instead account for conformity or obedience o Strain theory Merton 193868 Cohen 1955 Cloward and Ohlin 1960 and Agnew 1992Assume that human beings are social creatures who have internalized the existing belief or normative system of rules within which they existTake conformity for grantedBuild incentive or motivation to do crime and deviance into their theories Persons are under strain or pressure break rulesTacit Implications for public policyAugust aichhorns 1935 psychoanalytic theory of delinquency3o Diverse forms of rulebreaking are due to a timestable individual trait that aichhorn referred to as a predisposition to delinquency possibly rooted in the childs early emotional experiences o Early life experiences and internal emotional states are important o Doing something about crime means focusing attention on early life experiences Psychic traumaso Would be compatible with any number of psychological and psychiatric treatments Richard quinneys1974 conflictMarxist theory of crime o Social system itself breeds crime o Criminals are not biologically or psychically inferior they simply do not have control over the means of economic production o Focus on the relationship between economic and political power The sentiment relevance of theoryGouldner 1970 o Scientific considerations alone do not and should not completely determine the validity or acceptability of a theory o That a theory should be judged in part by how well it fits the factsits cognitive validity o Some theories are simply experience as intuitively convincingo Some theories are felt to be true because the sentiments captured in the theory resonate with the sentiments of the reader Marxist criminology suffers because the sentiments it contains are not reflected in the personal histories of some readers Labeling theory proposition that intervention by formal agencies of control usually will make things worse for someone caught up in them Chapter 2 Week 3IntroductionIntroductionSocial benefits means that the good is determined by a cost and benefit analysisGood policy is one that has more net good consequences than bad and possess utility Classical school of criminology o Product of the free will and rational deliberation of individuals o Human beings are rational calculating and hedonistic selfinterested beings o Referred to as penal criminology bureaucratic criminology and legal criminology because theorists looked at how the state could reduce crime by making the costs high or at least appear to be high thought its punishment policy
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