Criminals are born, not made (nature over nurture) explain.

Criminological Theories
The Positivist School
Cesare Lombroso
Criminals are born, not made (nature over nurture)
Focus on biological and psychological factors
Lombroso and Ferrero, “The Female Offender”
W.I. Thomas, “The Unadjusted Girl
Female crime as socially induced pathology
Sigmund Freud,
“penis envy”
Otto Pollak, “The Criminality of Women”
“Masked” nature of female criminality
Strain Theory
Robert Merton’s traditional strain theory
Rift between goals and means, focus on material success
Albert Cohen’s work on delinquent boys
Source of strain on ability to achieve status and prestige
Tests of strain theory
Differential Association
Sutherland and Cressey’s DAT presented as a general, non-sex-specific theory
Females were largely ignored in their work
Theory has been used to explain male and female delinquency,
Also to understand gender differences in offending
Labeling Theory
Labeling theory provides an explanation as to how a person acquires a deviant label, and the effect of that label on later behavior
Two main tenets:
1. Some people are more likely to be labeled than others as a result of race, sex, class, and other differentiating characteristics
2. Once a deviant label is acquired, the labeled individual may go on to accept that label and continue to commit crime as a result

Social Control
Social Bond Theory
4 types of social bonds
attachment           – commitment
involvement         -belief
Introduced as non-sex-specific, but tested on white males
A General Theory of Crime
Links classical and positivist schools of thought by suggesting low-self control as an individual attribute
Here self-control, rather than social control, and criminal opportunity interact to explain offending
Power Control Theory
One of few theories to explicitly direct attention to issue of gender
Suggests that the gender-power makeup of parent’s relationship influences daughter’s delinquency
Marxist, Radical, and Critical Theories
Marxist or radical perspective on criminology
Evolved from Marx’s writings on social relations under a capitalist system
Critical legal studies emerged in the 1970s
They questioned the objectivity of the US legal system
CLT scholars went on to develop critical race theory to address issue related to law, power, and race/ethnicity
Women’s Liberation
Women’s liberation/emancipation hypothesis
The crime rate of women will begin to resemble that of men as gender inequality diminishes
Similar to early positivistic theories, recent efforts use biological explanations to understand offending
Much of this work focuses on violence against women, including rape, intimate partner abuse, child abuse, and infidelity
They often point to biological forces including sex drives and hormones to explain/excuse rape and DV
These theories are highly criticized by feminists—bad science
Find that a broad range of social and cultural factors are better predictors of these behaviors

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