Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
General Theory of Crime
In 1990, A General Theory of Crime by Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi was published. The theory described in this book is often thought of as a social control theory with its theoretical foundation in both earlier social bonding theory and learning theory. At its core, the general theory of crime asserts that crime is committed because individuals have no self-control. In other words, if an individual, through processes of social bonding and learning, does not come to behave within the bounds of social norms, this means that he or she has no self-control. When testing the general theory of crime, researchers most frequently include race/ethnicity as either a key independent variable or, along with other demographic variables such as gender, as a control variable. In other words, researchers seek to answer the question, “Are there differences between Whites and minorities when it comes to the role that low For ...