By Don Crewe (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137307714

ISBN-13: 9781137307712

ISBN-10: 1349303720

ISBN-13: 9781349303724

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Extra resources for Becoming Criminal: The Socio-Cultural Origins of Law, Transgression, and Deviance

Example text

While in DN and DS explanation it is taken that a particular event can be predicted from some information about the event’s antecedents and known laws of nature it is clear that there are events that do not follow this model. Should a person take a statin that Theory as Causal Explanation 31 has shown statistical regularity to reduce cholesterol in the blood, we cannot deduce that an individual has reduced blood cholesterol because he or she has taken the statin (even if we know they have taken it).

Understanding (verstehen) of the world of offenders and victims is taken to be explanatory concerning causes of crime and victimization, just as much as the measurement of the behaviour of offenders and victims provides statistical models upon which statements of the likelihood of certain outcomes are based. That is, criminological theories, and criminological and social study in general are taken to provide explanations of the causes of crime rather than mere descriptions (for example) of criminal or other social events.

In other words there is no logical foundation for our inductive 34 What Is Theory? reasoning and thus induction cannot constitute a necessary attribute of adequate theory. This has led Salmon (1965) to say it would seem that we use inductive methods, not because they enable us to make correct predictions or arrive at true explanations, but simply because we like to use them . . If you use inductive procedures you can call yourself ‘reasonable’ – and isn’t that nice! (369) Furthermore, criminologically speaking, this means that claims to be able to predict, or even show the likelihood of future offending based on observation of past offending must be regarded with significant scepticism, and this is of importance in many criminological arenas, not least where the assessment of future risk posed by potential parolees is concerned, or indeed where any actuarial techniques are used to manage problems of crime and criminal justice.

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Becoming Criminal: The Socio-Cultural Origins of Law, Transgression, and Deviance by Don Crewe (auth.)


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