Evolution of theory and thought in criminology

Evolution of theory and thought in criminology
Criminology theory is made up by the speculative system, connecting facts through the cause-effect relationships. Criminology theory is connected with the causes and consequences of criminal conduct exposed changes of place and time, under the influence of certain values of representations. In turn, the criminology theory seriously affects the value orientation of society and public opinion on the causes of the crimes, and sometimes even modifies them. General criminological theory includes the theory and the theory of the cause of committing a crime.

Nowadays, private criminology explores specific types of crime: the selfish crime, violent crime, political crime - and the kinds of massive criminal conduct: organized crime, corruption, environmental crime, reckless crimes, crimes against minors and juveniles, etc. Criminological crime branch investigates major social subsystems, and counteracts crime means of those social subsystems (institutions) - Family Criminology, Criminology economic, political criminology, criminology, religious, criminology law, media criminology and environmental criminology.

There are such theories of crime: social structure theories, social disorganization (neighborhoods), social ecology, strain theory (social class) and sub cultural theory. There are also individual theories - trait theories and control theories. The social stratification of society, internalization (learning) adolescents from a lower layer of the values of the middle layer and blocking access to adolescents from the lower layer to the objectives of the middle layer are the issues of the theories of subcultures which exist nowadays.

Classical criminological theory was created in the eighteenth-century during the Enlightenment by the utilitarian and social contract philosophers. The main points of it are criminal justice and penology, and this theory does not support social problems or social responsibility. In the classical criminological theory the criminal behavior and its causes were described as “man is a calculating animal". Cesare Beccaria was a key thinker of the classical criminological theory, and he was also partly considered as a founder of modern criminology. This theory pays the special attention to human rationality and free will, and also it researched the prevention of crime not the criminals. At that time the most important goal seemed to be justice and prevention of crime, while nowadays, considering the current circumstances and arising problems in the modern world, social psychology and social responsibility have become the central issues for the criminology.
The central view of neo-classical criminology theory that applies to contemporary criminology has the traditions of the Classical School within the framework of Right Realism. Also, social philosophy remains in policy term in the use of punishment, imprisonment and courts. Social responsibility has become an important part of the modern society and it appears almost in every area of people’s lives, including the neo-classical criminology theory.


Akers, Ronald L. (1991). Self-control as a General Theory of Crime. Journal of Quantitive Criminology, 7, 201-211.
LaGrange, T. C. & Silverman, R. A. (1999). Low Self-control and Opportunity: Testing the General Theory of Crime as an Explanation for Gender Differences in Delinquency. Criminology, 37, 41-72.

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