Sociology Today; Problems and Prospects

By Robert K. Merton; Leonard Broom et al. | Go to book overview

23
Criminological Research

MARSHALL B. CLINARD University of Wisconsin

C riminologists are by no means confined to the field of sociology, although the fact that sociologists have written nearly all the textbooks in this area might give this impression. Much research and publication, both here and abroad, is being done by psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and others with a nonsociological approach.1 The controversy between the theoretical position of the nonsociologists, which emphasizes personality-trait structures, early family environment, or the physical constitutions of the individual, and that of the sociologists, which emphasizes subcultural norms and an area of group interaction larger than the family, has not been reconciled. Much sociological writing has been devoted to revealing theoretical and methodological errors in psychiatrically and psychoanalytically oriented research. Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts, on the other hand, seldom refer to sociological research, either because they are unfamiliar with it or because they choose to ignore it.

In the sections which follow, we shall evaluate two important general sociological theories, as well as the problem of differential response. We shall then discuss the importance of studying situational factors, some conceptual problems involved in delinquent and criminal typology, and the need for small-group research on delinquent groups. Concluding sections will deal with the relation of the concept of crime

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1
Much criminological research in other parts of the world is done by law professors, and criminology is frequently offered in the law schools.

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