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Criminological Theory and Early Explanations for Crime Goals of the Lecture What is a theory? Early theoretical perspectives The Classical school The Positivist school Rational choice theory, Deterrence, and Routine Activities Programs and Policy Implications of theory Findings on rational choice theory, routine activities, and deterrence Discussion WHAT IS A THEORY? An idea of why something occurs Kurbin Et Al. (2009): A systematic way of stating our ideas on the how and why of social phenomena Akers and Sellers (2009): A theory is a set of interconnected statements or propositions that explain how two or more events are related to one another Reid (2009): A theory is a part of an explanation, an attempt to relate two or more variables in ways that can be tested pg. 46 What does a theory do?- Theory explains or helps us to understand why people commit crime or why some people commit more crimes than others or why some people stop and others continue- Focuses our attention on important concepts and variables- Help guides research- Helps to make prediction about the criminological world Components of a Theory 1. Concept 2. Assumptions 3. Hypothesis 4. Operational definition 5. Scope 6. Applicability- Theory is the major thing and hypotheses are under it 1. Concepts a) a mental image that summarizes a set of similar observations, feelings, or ideas b) the building blocks of theory Example 1: Social Disorganization theory: Concepts: poverty, residential mobility, racial/ethnic heterogeneity, collective efficacy Example 2: General Strain Theory Concepts: strain/stressors 2. Assumptions Example 1: Rational Choice theory Assumption: peoples behavior is influenced by calculating the cost and benefit of their actions Example 2: Deterrence Assumption: research on whether arrest deters crime assumes that potential law violates are rational 3. Operational Definitions: the procedure for actually measuring the concept we intend to measure---identifying, the value of a variable for each case CLASS DISCUSSION How would you operationalize/measure these concepts? Parental attachment Strain Self-derogation Past Methods of Measurement Rochester Youth Development Study Parental attachment: How often would you say that . (4=often, 3=sometimes, 2=seldom, 1=never 1. You get along well with your child 2. You feel violent toward your child 3. You wish your child was more like others that you know 4. Your child is too demanding Agnew and Raskin-White (1992) Strain ... View Full Document

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