SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Bruinsma, G. (2016). Proliferation of crime causation theories in an era of fragmentation: Reflections on the current state of criminological theory. European Journal of Criminology, 13, 659–676.

Abstract: In this presidential address I reflect on the theme of the 2015 annual European Society of Criminology meeting by addressing and discussing the issue of the overwhelming number of crime causation theories in criminology, as well as providing a brief assessment of their quality. The discipline possesses a mixture of hundreds of perspectives, definitions, ideas, sketches, multiple factors, theories and single hypotheses that are partly true and partly untrue, and none are completely true or untrue. It will be argued that, among other factors, criminologists in fact apply hardly any rule to distinguish between true and untrue theories. I sketch the evolution of the discipline and some of its features that led to the current state of affairs. With these issues in mind I raise the question of whether this situation is good or bad for criminology. A future challenge for the discipline will be a stronger commitment by criminological researchers to design more epistemological and methodological studies to limit further proliferation of criminological theories and improve their quality. To reach that reduction, three strategies will be discussed.

Journal Article 2: Bennett, R. R., & Bennett, S. B. (September 1982). Translating criminological theory into action programs: Theoretical and political considerations. Criminal Justice Review, 7, 1–8.

Abstract: Criminologists have been unable to successfully translate theory which is intended to orchestrate social change into applied policy programs. This inability is hypothesized to be a function of two interrelated conditions. First, since effective application of criminological theories requires the identification, specification, and interrelation of causative factors, a valid theory must contain unambiguous causal statements, scope conditions, and calculi. Second, criminological theories are applied in apolitical environment which may or may not allow for the unfettered change of factors identified by the theory. Currently, the undeveloped state of criminological theory and interference by; political interests make successful application almost impossible. This article addresses the problem of theory application in a political environment and presents a strategy for the evaluation and application of criminological theory.

Journal Article 3: Aas Franko, K. (2012). ‘The Earth is one but the world is not’: Criminological theory and its geopolitical divisions. Theoretical Criminology, 16, 5–20.

Abstract: The article addresses the prevailing assumptions about geo-political context in criminological theory. It draws on a well-developed and prolonged critique within sociology, gender and postcolonial studies, of the seemingly context-free nature of western social theory and its assumptions about the universality of its knowledge production. The article’s particular concern is criminology’s engagement with the global. By examining the ‘situated identity’ of criminological theory, and its claims to universality, the article raises questions about who produces theory, who has access to the universal, and what are the potential consequences for our understanding of the global.