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Crime Causation: Sociological Theories - Strain Theory, Social Learning Theory, Control Theory, Labeling Theory, Social Disorganization Theory, Critical Theories

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law

This entry focuses on the three major sociological theories of crime and delinquency: strain, social learning, and control theories. It then briefly describes several other important theories of crime, most of which represent elaborations of these three theories. Finally, efforts to develop integrated theories of crime are briefly discussed.

All of the theories that are described explain crime in terms of the social environment, including the family, school, peer group, workplace, community, and society. 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).

ROBERT AGNEW

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