Finally, some people have personality traits that make them less responsive to the above controls and less able to restrain themselves from acting on their immediate desires. Elliott's theory states that strain and labeling reduce social control. This group—the capitalist class—uses its power for its own advantage. Marxist theories, then, attempt to explain both class and societal differences in crime. Elliott et al. The control theory of Travis Hirschi dominates the literature, but Gerald Patterson and associates, One reason for this is that some juveniles have more to lose by engaging in deviance. Labeling increases subsequent crime when no effort is made to reintegrate the offender back into conventional society; that is, when offenders are rejected or informally labeled on a long-term basis. Data do indicate that low self-control is an important cause of crime. Finally, a major goal of most adolescents is autonomy from adults. ." Also, theories will have to be modified to explain crime among different types of offenders. Sociologists, however, are coming to recognize that it is not possible to explain crime solely in terms of the immediate social environment. Crime and Everyday Life. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. As a consequence, their beliefs do not restrain them from engaging in crime. Level of direct control usually emerges as an important cause of crime in most studies. Such control may be exercised by family members, school officials, coworkers, neighborhood residents, police, and others. This further reduces control, since these organizations help exercise direct control, provide people with a stake in conformity, and socialize people. Institutional anomie theory. Sociological theories of deviance are those that use social context and social pressures to explain deviance. Another key factor is whether individuals blame their strain on the deliberate behavior of someone else. Crime is often defined as "conduct in violation of the criminal laws of a state, of the federal government, or of a local jurisdiction, for whi…, Introduction This research paper focuses on the three major sociological theories of crime and delinquency: strain, social learning, and control theories. Social disorganization theorists and other criminologists, such as John Hagan, point out that the number of communities with characteristics conducive to crime—particularly high concentrations of poor people—has increased since the 1960s. Meda Chesney-Lind and others argue that much female crime stems from the fact that juvenile females are often sexually abused by family members. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1969. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. Some individuals are better able to cope with strain legally than others. Such individuals are said to be low in "self-control.". And modified versions of such theories will be developed to explain crime in different groups and among different types of offenders. Several theories argue that predisposed individuals are more likely to engage in crime in some types of situations than others. But even the most predisposed people do not commit crime all of the time. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. The leading sociological theories focus on the immediate social environment, like the family, peer group, and school. As a consequence, such people experience strain and they may attempt to get money through illegal channels—such as theft, selling drugs, and prostitution. Reintegrative shaming is said to be more likely in certain types of social settings, for example, where individuals are closely attached to their parents, neighbors, and others. Thornberry attempts to integrate control and social learning theories. Rather than explaining why people engage in crime, we need to explain why they do not. Further, the emphasis on monetary success is paralleled by the dominance of economic institutions in the United States. Gresham Sykes and David Matza have listed some of the more common justifications used for crime. there was a total 5.7 million offences recorded between June 1992 and June 1993. Akers, Ronald L. Social Learning and Social Structure. Crime and Disrepute. These theories, however, differ from one another in several ways: they focus on somewhat different features of the social environment, they offer different accounts of why the social environment causes crime, and some focus on explaining individual differences in crime while others attempt to explain group differences in crime (e.g., why some communities have higher crime rates than other communities). Most people have put a lot of time and energy into conventional activities, like "getting an education, building up a business, [and] acquiring a reputation for virtue" (Hirschi, p. 20). Cohen, Lawrence E.; and Felson, Marcus. Direct control also involves monitoring the person's behavior to ensure that they comply with these rules and do not engage in crime. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1995. And some data suggest that crime is more common among people who are dissatisfied with their monetary situation—with such dissatisfaction being higher among lower-class people and people who state that they want "a lot of money.". By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Rather than describing the different versions of control theory, an integrated control theory that draws on all of their insights is presented. These controls may be viewed as barriers to crime—they refer to those factors that prevent them from engaging in crime. The study of crime and sociology together seeks to understand why some individuals turn to crime and how society as a whole can prevent it. Contemporary versions of these theories continue to be used today. Match. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. Crime and the American Dream. Finally, these residents are less likely to form or support community organizations, including educational, religious, and recreational organizations. While strain may result from the failure to achieve a variety of goals, Agnew and others More attention is now being devoted to informal labeling, such as labeling by parents, peers, and teachers. Sociological Theories Sociological theories generally assert that crime is the normal response of a biologically and psychologically normal individual to social conditions that are abnormal and criminogenic. Labeling theory focuses on the official reaction to crime and makes a rather counterintuitive argument regarding the causes of crime. Informal labeling is said to have a greater effect on subsequent crime than official labeling. Agnew, however, points to certain types of strain not considered in these previous versions and provides a fuller discussion of the conditions under which strain is most likely to lead to crime. Sometimes this reinforcement is deliberate. They are followed by theories of strain, social control, opportunity, conflict, and developmental life course. It then briefly describes several other important theories of crime, most of which represent elaborations of these three theories. Crime is said to be more likely in communities that are economically deprived, large in size, high in multiunit housing like apartments, high in residential mobility (people frequently move into and out of the community), and high in family disruption (high rates of divorce, single-parent families). These values do not explicitly approve of or justify crime, but they make crime appear a more attractive alternative than would otherwise be the case. Sociological theories, then, will become more complex, taking account of individual traits, the immediate social environment, the larger social environment, and situational factors. 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