Messner (2014) in the article Social Institutions, Theory Development, and the Promise of Comparative Criminological Research, explains how the recent research in criminology has inclined towards advancing theory development. In particular recent research is directing focus on the function of the structures of institutions in crime trends, therefore giving it a sociological view (Messner, 2014). The sensitivity with which criminology research is focusing towards the context of institutions in the Asia has made it possible to offer an elabotatoi of influential theories relating to social life (Messner, 2014). These theories include general crime theory; also call the theory of self-control and the routine activity theory. While the routine activity theory states that crime is not affected by unemployment, inequality, and poverty, the general crime theory states that individual self-control is the primary determine to of criminal behavior. Using such theoretical elaborations increase the analytical ability of the sociological theories to explain criminal behavior and activities from an institutional and multilevel context.
According to Messner (2014), there is a transformed variant of self-control theory that shows two types of self-control (Messner, 2014). Each type of self-control has a different causative or deterministic impact on criminal tendencies based on the respective structures that characterize an institution or society. Messer (2014) finds that criminal behavior is not solely dependent on the self-control aspect of the perpetrators, but rather its results from a combination of both self-control and social factors like unemployment, inequality, and poverty (Messner, 2014). Therefore, crime is a social phenomenon that is shaped by the dynamic of the social institutional structure.
Consistency with the Material Presented in the Text
Bartol & Bartol (2016) stated that sociological criminology examines the relationship between the group and demographic variables to crime, which includes ethnic and cultural affiliations, socioeconomic status, gender, race, and age. In the same way, the research consists the course reading since it applied theoretical perspective to test whether crime depends on external factors like unemployment, inequality, and poverty and as counter-outlined in the routine activity theory or is dependent on self-control as suggested by the theory of self-control. (Bartol & Bartol, 2016) Highlight that the juveniles, African Americans, and whites are overrepresented in non-violent property offenses, homicide, and corporate offenses respectively, Messner (2014) confirms that ethnic affiliations are a determinant in the type of crimes people engage in or the types of crimes that are prevalent in a particular region. This fact elaborates that fact that unequal distribution of wealth and power in the society leads to criminal activity. The same affiliations determine how crimes are defined and how legal action will be taken on each of the criminal situations. The theory of social systems comes into play to explain why crime seems contagious for people with similar interest.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Article
The article is effective in applying theoretical knowledge on sociological criminology to evaluate social nature of the crime. Social nature of the offense has been explained using the theory of self-control and the routine activity theory (Messner, 2014). Theories are the basis of understanding social phenomena, and by using a theoretical background, the hypothesis is evaluated adequately. In the same way, the paper is useful in the application of critical thinking on theoretical frameworks. In the article, the author has evaluated the routine activity theory critically to bring out the relationship between social phenomena and crime. Finally, the article has used effective and credible reference material, from a diversified perspective, making the content valid (Messner, 2014).
On the other hand, the weaknesses of the research include the overreliance of secondary research rather than conducting primary research on the topic. Using secondary research makes it possible for a recurrence of conceptual errors to be propagated into future research as well as confining research to a specific line of through. Such inconsistencies can be eliminated by conducting primary research on the topic then comparing with what had been done earlier. Finally, the research has a shortcoming of location bias. From a statistical perspective, samples can only provide a clear characteristic of the population if they are evenly spread throughout the population. Sociological criminology is a global topic can only be evaluated best from a global perspective. Overreliance on the Asian population as a global representation may have altered the research negatively.
Future Expansion of the Research
Research in the context of sociological criminology is a critical area and is under constant adjustment. Therefore, this research can be expanded in future to provide a better understanding of the concept of crime and societies. Future research can be expanded and made more effective by conducting a primary research to complement secondary research so that the possibility of bias is limited. The topic can further be developed to evaluate cultural aspect that determines their conduct regarding sociological criminology. This coverage would give further insight beyond the trends. Also, the research can be further expanded by incorporating a global perspective rather than an Asian perspective of the subject matter. Incorporating a global scope of research will provide results that cut across all cultures of the world, therefore giving a reference point for researchers and criminology specialists on a global scale.
Bartol, A. M., & Bartol, C. R. (2016). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach. Boston: Pearson Education, c2014. xxiii,
Messner, S. F. (2014). Social institutions, theory development, and the promise of comparative criminological research. Asian Journal of Criminology, 9(1), 49-63. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/criminaljusticeperiodicals/docview/1504713133/fulltextPDF/D7DBE50E5EF04AE3PQ/25?accountid=14745