Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sampson, Robert J., and John H. Laub: Age-Graded Theory of Informal Social Control
A debate over the significance of criminal careers dominated theoretical criminology, beginning in the mid-1980s. On one side, Alfred Blumstein et al. (1986, 1988a, 1988b) promoted a criminal career model to describe the volume of crime committed over an individual lifespan, including age of onset, frequency of offending, age of termination (desistance), and career length. The criminal careers paradigm suggested that each of these parameters warranted investigation and, possibly, distinct theoretical explanations. In opposition, Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi argued that these supposed distinct parameters were not necessary for understanding the causes of crime; stable individual differences in self-control accounted for crime committed over an individual criminal career. Furthermore, because of the stability of these differences, there was no need to measure criminal career lengths, or even to conduct longitudinal research. This debate fueled many theoretical and quantitative advances in criminology throughout the 1990s, and continues to impact research today. ...