Cover image for Criminological theories : [introduction and evaluation]
Criminological theories : [introduction and evaluation]
Akers, Ronald L.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 259 pages ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6018 .A38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV6018 .A38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In Criminological Theories, the noted criminologist Ronald Akers provides thorough description, discussion, and appraisal of the leading theories of crime/delinquent behavior and law/criminal justice - the origin and history of each theory and its contemporary developments and adherents.

Akers offers a clear explanation of each theory (the central concepts and hypotheses of each theory as well as critical criteria for evaluating each theory in terms of its empirical validity).

Researchers and librarians, as well as general readers, will find this book a very useful tool and will applaud its clear and understandable exposition of abstract concepts.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. iv
Acknowledgementsp. vi
Chapter 1 Introduction to Criminological Theory
What Is Theory?p. 1
Types of Criminological Theoriesp. 2
Theories of Making and Enforcing Criminal Lawp. 2
Theories of Criminal and Deviant Behaviorp. 4
Criteria for Evaluating Theoryp. 6
Logical Consistency, Scope, and Parsimonyp. 6
Testabilityp. 7
Empirical Validityp. 9
Empirical Validity and the Concept of Causality and Determinismp. 10
Usefulness and Policy Implicationsp. 11
Empirical Validity as the Primary Criterionp. 12
Summaryp. 12
Chapter 2 Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories
Classical Criminology and the Deterrence Doctrinep. 15
Deterrence: Certainty, Severity, and Celerity of Punishmentp. 16
Modern Deterrence Theoryp. 17
Studies of Deterrencep. 17
Do Criminal Sanctions Deter?p. 19
Deterrence and the Experiential Effectp. 20
Modifications and Expansions of Deterrence Conceptsp. 21
Rational Choice Theoryp. 23
Deterrence and Expected Utilityp. 23
Research on Rational Choice Theoryp. 24
Routine Activities Theoryp. 27
Felson and Cohen: Offenders, Targets, and Guardiansp. 27
Empirical Validity of Routine Activities Theoryp. 28
Summaryp. 33
Notesp. 34
Chapter 3 Biological and Psychological Theories
Introductionp. 35
Lombroso and Early Biological Theoriesp. 36
Lombroso's Theory of the Born Criminalp. 36
The Criminal as Biologically Inferiorp. 37
Recognizing the Inadequacies of Early Biological Theoriesp. 39
Modern Biological Theories of Crime and Delinquencyp. 42
IQ, Mental Functioning, and Delinquencyp. 43
Testosterone and Criminal Aggressivenessp. 44
Mednick's Theory of Inherited Criminal Tendenciesp. 45
Empirical Validity of Biological Theories of Criminal Behaviorp. 48
Psychoanalytic Theoryp. 50
Personality Theoryp. 53
Summaryp. 55
Notesp. 57
Chapter 4 Social Learning Theory
Introductionp. 59
Sutherland's Differential Association Theoryp. 59
Akers' Social Learning Theoryp. 62
Development of the Theoryp. 62
The Central Concepts and Propositions of Social Learning Theoryp. 63
The Social Learning Process: Sequence and Feedback Effectsp. 67
Social Structure and Social Learningp. 69
Empirical Validity of Social Learning Theoryp. 70
Critiques and Research on Social learning Variablesp. 70
Akers' Research on Social Learning Theoryp. 74
Summaryp. 76
Notesp. 78
Chapter 5 Social Bonding and Control Theories
Introductionp. 79
Early Control Theoriesp. 81
Reiss' and Nye's Theories of Internal and External Controlsp. 81
Reckless' Containment Theoryp. 82
Sykes and Matza: Techniques of Neutralization and Driftp. 84
Hirschi's Social Bonding Theoryp. 85
The Central Concepts and Propositions of Social Bonding Theoryp. 86
Empirical Validity of Social Bonding Theoryp. 88
Gottfredson and Hirschi: Self-Control Theoryp. 90
Low Self-Control as the Cause of Criminal Behaviorp. 90
What Is the Relationship Between Self-Control Theory and Social Bonding Theory?p. 91
Testability of Self-Control Theoryp. 92
Research Indirectly and Directly Testing Self-Control Theoryp. 93
Summaryp. 95
Notesp. 97
Chapter 6 Labeling Theory
Introductionp. 99
Labeling as a Process of Symbolic Social Interactionp. 100
The Label as an Independent Variable in Crime and Deviancep. 101
Empirical Evidence on Labeling Theoryp. 105
Developments and Modifications in Labeling Theoryp. 107
The Past and Future of Labeling Theoryp. 109
Summaryp. 111
Notesp. 113
Chapter 7 Social Disorganization, Anomie, and Strain Theories
Introductionp. 115
Social Disorganization and the Urban Ecology of Crime and Delinquencyp. 115
Research on Social Disorganizationp. 117
Anomie/Strain Theoryp. 119
Merton's Anomie Theoryp. 119
Cohen: Status Deprivation and the Delinquent Subculturep. 121
Cloward and Ohlin: Differential Opportunity and Delinquent Subculturesp. 122
Miller: Focal Concerns of Lower-Class Culturep. 124
Research on Anomie/Strain Theoryp. 125
Is Crime and Delinquency Concentrated in the Lower Class and Minority Groups?p. 125
Other Social Structural Correlates of Crimep. 127
Gangs and Delinquent Subculturesp. 128
School Dropout and Delinquencyp. 129
Perceived Discrepancy Between Aspirations and Expectationsp. 130
Agnew's General Strain Theory of Crime and Delinquencyp. 131
Summaryp. 133
Notesp. 135
Chapter 8 Conflict Theory
Introductionp. 137
Law is a Type of Social Controlp. 137
Consensus and Functionalist Theories of Lawp. 139
Conflict Theory of Law and Criminal Justicep. 141
Empirical Validity of Consensus and Conflict Theories of Law and Criminal Justicep. 146
Research on Legislation and Public Opinion on Crimesp. 146
Research on Legal and Extra-legal Variables in the Criminal Justice Systemp. 147
Conflict Theory of Criminal Behaviorp. 153
Empirical Validity of Conflict Theory of Criminal Behaviorp. 156
Summaryp. 157
Notesp. 159
Chapter 9 Marxist and Critical Theories
Marxist Theoryp. 161
Marxist Theory of Law and Criminal Justicep. 163
Instrumentalist and Structuralist Marxismp. 163
Empirical Adequacy of Marxist Theory of Law and Justicep. 164
Marxist Theory of Crimep. 167
Bonger: Early Marxist Theory of Crimep. 168
Quinney: Class, State, and Crimep. 168
Modifications of Marxist Theoryp. 170
Is Crime the Result of a Capitalist Economy?p. 173
Critical Criminologyp. 175
Critical/Constitutive Criminologyp. 176
Left Realismp. 179
Peacemaking Criminologyp. 182
Summaryp. 185
Notesp. 187
Chapter 10 Feminist Theories
Introductionp. 189
Feminist Theory of Criminal Justicep. 190
Empirical Validity of Feminist Theory of Criminal Justicep. 190
Feminist Theories of Crimep. 195
Women's Liberation and Female Crimep. 197
Power-Control Theory of Gender and Delinquencyp. 198
Patriarchal Society and Crimep. 199
Empirical Validity of Feminist Theoryp. 201
Summaryp. 202
Notesp. 203
Chapter 11 Integrating Criminological Theories
Theory Competition Versus Theory Integrationp. 205
Varieties of Theoretical Integration in Criminologyp. 208
Conceptual Integrationp. 208
Akers: Integration by Conceptual Absorptionp. 208
Pearson and Weiner: Conceptual Integrative Frameworkp. 210
Propositional Integrationp. 211
Elliott's Integrative Model of Strain, Bonding, and Learningp. 211
Krohn's Network Analysisp. 214
Thornberry's Interactional Theoryp. 215
Kaplan's Self-Derogation Theoryp. 216
Bernard's Unified Conflict Theory of Criminal Behavior and Criminal Lawp. 217
Tittle's Control Balance Theoryp. 218
How Successful Has Theoretical Integration Been in Criminology?p. 219
Summaryp. 220
Notesp. 221
Referencesp. 225
Author Indexp. 251
Subject Indexp. 257