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The Family Tree of Theories of Criminology

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Samantha Pershing

on 2 May 2017

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Transcript of The Family Tree of Theories of Criminology

Crime results from the class struggle. There is an emphasis on wealth and competition, therefore the economic and social environment that is produced results in crime.
Critical Theory
The Family Tree for the Theories of Criminology
The criminal law and the criminal justice system are means of defending and preserving the capitalist system.
Structural Theory
Criminal law and the criminal justice system are instruments for controlling the lower class.
Instrumental Theory
Crime is a function of relative deprivation; criminals prey on the poor.
Left Realism
Criminality is a product of abnormal biological and/or psychological traits.
Trait Theory
This focuses on the psychological aspects of crime, including the associations among intelligence, personality, learning, and criminal behavior.
Psychological Trait Theory
People who have a high arousal level seek stimuli in their environment to maintain their preferred level of arousal. These stimuli are often associated with violence and aggression.
Arousal Theory
Behavior is a product of interacting biological and environmental events.
Biosocial Theory
Gender differences in crime can be explained because of economic power (one-earner families) and parental control (paternalistic). In other words, girls are controlled more closely than boys in male-dominated homes.
Power Control Theory
A correctional method that makes offenders confront their misdeeds and experience shame because of it. After that they can be re-included into society.
Re-integrative Shaming
Peace and humanism can reduce crime and conflict resolution strategies can work.
Peacemaking Criminology
Crime is a function of diet, vitamin intake, hormonal imbalance, or food allergies.
Biochemical
As the human race has evolved, traits and characteristics have become ingrained.
Evolutionary
Criminal traits and predispositions are inherited
Genetic
Criminals and delinquents often suffer brain impairment, as measured by the EEG.
Neurological
The development of the personality early in childhood influences a person's behavior for the rest of their life.
Psychodynamic
Individual reasoning processes influence a person's behavior.
Cognitive
People commit crime when they model their behavior after others they see being rewarded for similar acts.
Behavioral
The ability to bond emotionally to another person has important lasting psychological implications that last throughout life.
Attachment Theory
Intelligence is not inherited but is a product of the environment, and does not correlate to criminal behavior.
Nurture Theory
Intelligence is determined by genetics and that low intelligence is linked to criminal behavior.
Nature Theory
Human behavior is a product of social, biological, psychological, or economic forces.
Positivism Theory
Crime is a function of a decision-making process where the person weighs the costs and benefits of preforming an illegal act before the do it.
Rational Choice Theory
(Classical Theory)

If the probability of arrest, conviction, and sanctioning increases, crime rates should decline.
Deterrence Theory
Crime is a function of environmental, socialization, physical, and psychological factors. When people are lacking in these areas during human development, they have an increase risk for crime.

Developmental Theory
These theories look at the changes in a criminal's offending patterns over their life-time.
Life Course Theory
There are multiple paths to crime.
Trajectory Theory
Criminal behavior is controlled by a master trait that is present at birth or soon after (which is present throughout a person's lifetime).
Latent Trait Theory
Community and personal factors interact to strengthen or weaken social bonds.
Social Development Model
Criminals go through lifestyle changes during their criminal career.
Interactional Theory
As people grow older, the factors that influence them to commit crime change.
Age-Graded Theory
A person’s “control ratio” influences his or her behavior.
Control Balance Theory
Individuals exposed to coercive environments develop social and psychological problems that increase their probability of becoming a criminal.
Differential Coercion Theory
Crime and criminality are separate concepts. People choose to commit crime when they lack self-control.
General Theory of Crime
People with antisocial potential are at risk to commit antisocial acts.
Integrated Cognitive Antisocial Potential Theory (ICAP)
People begin to commit criminal activities at different points in their lives.
Life Course Persistent/ Adolescent Limited
People are a product of their upbringing. People who are influenced by deviant behavior, are more likely to become deviant.


Social Process Theory
People commit crime when the forces that bind them to society are weakened or broken.

Social Control Theory
Human behavior is modeled through observation of human social interactions. Interactions that are rewarded are copied, while those that are punished are avoided.
Social Learning Theory
Social Reaction Theory
(Labeling Theory)
Children learn ways of neutralizing moral restraints and periodically drift in and out of criminal behavior patterns.
Neutralization Theory
People learn to commit crime from exposure to antisocial behavior.
Differential Association Theory
Criminal behavior depends on a person’s experiences with rewards for conventional behaviors and punishment for deviant ones.
Differential Reinforcement Theory
A person’s bond to society prevents them from violating social rules.
Hirschi's Control Theory
People become criminals when significant members of society label them as criminals (and they accept those labels).

Disadvantaged economic class position is the primary cause of crime.

Social Structure Theory
Crime is a function of the conflict between people’s goals and the means available to obtain them.

Strain Theory
Combines elements of both Strain Theory and Social Disorganization Theory.

Cultural Deviance Theory
This focuses on the conditions within the environment that affect crime rates.
Social Disorganization Theory
Crime is a product of transitional neighborhoods that produce social disorganization and conflict.
Shaw and McKay’s Concentric Zones Theory
The conflicts and problems the social life and community influence the crime rate.
Social Ecology Theory
Strain causes crime in the absence of adequate coping mechanisms.
General Strain Theory
The base of the American lifestyle is to acquire wealth and material goods.
Institutional Anomie Theory
There are people who want the goals of society, but lack the means to attain them, so they gain them through crime.
Anomie Theory
When lowerclass boys fail to achieve middle-class success it causes them to join gangs because of their status frustration.
Cohen’s Theory of Delinquent Gangs
People who follow the street rules of lower-class life find themselves in conflict with the dominant culture.
Miller’s Focal Concern Theory
When Youth do not have access to conventional opportunities, it causes them to join gangs.
Cloward and Ohlin’s Theory of Opportunity
THEORIES OF CRIMINOLOGY
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