A General Theory of Crime: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A General Theory of Crime

1st Edition

By William J Jenkins

Macat Library

115 pages

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Paperback: 9781912128716
pub: 2017-07-04
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Description

Michael R. Gottfredson and Travish Hirschi’s 1990 A General Theory of Crime is a classic text that helped reshape the discipline of criminology. It is also a testament to the powers of clear reasoning and interpretation.

In critical thinking terms, reasoning is all about presenting a solid and persuasive case – and as many people instinctively understand, the most persuasive reasoning is that which bases itself on a single, simple hook. In Gottfredson and Hirschi’s case, this hook was what has come to be known as the “self-control theory of crime” – the idea that the tendency to commit crime is directly related to an individual’s level of self-control.

While the dominant schools of thought of the time tended to focus on crime as the product of complex environmental factors, with little attempt to unify different theories, Gottfredson and Hirschi sought to interpret things so as to provide a single overarching concept that explained why crimes of all sorts were committed. Moreover, while other theories of crime concentrated on understanding and explaining specific types of law-breaking, the self-control model could, in Gottfredson and Hirschi’s view, be seen as the basis for understanding the root cause for all crime in all contexts. While such simplicity inevitably attracted as much criticism as agreement, subsequent studies have provided real-world corroboration for the General Theory’s persuasive reasoning.

Table of Contents

Ways In to the Text

Who were Michael R. Gottfredson and Travish Hirschi?

What does A General Theory of Crime Say?

Why does A General Theory of Crime Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Author

Dr Bill Jenkins holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Michigan. He is currently co-chair of the Department of Psychology at Mercer University.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART000000
ART / General
SOC004000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology