The Role of Self-Control in Crime Causation : beyond Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime

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The Role of Self-Control in Crime Causation : beyond Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title The Role of Self-Control in Crime Causation : beyond Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime
Author(s) Wikström, Per-Olof ; Treiber, Kyle
Date 2007
English abstract
In this paper we present an alternative conception of self-control and its role in crime causation to the one advanced by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) in their influential General Theory of Crime. Our conception is based on the theoretical framework outlined in the situational action theory of crime causation (e.g. Wikström 2006a). We propose that self-control is best analysed as a situational concept (a factor in the process of choice) rather than as an individual trait. We suggest that the core individual trait influencing an individual's ability to exercise self-control is executive capability. We maintain that there are also important environmental influences on an individual's ability to exercise self-control. We submit that the ability to exercise self-control is a relevant factor in crime causation only in situations where an individual considers (deliberates) whether or not to engage in an act of crime. We argue that for most people (in most circumstances) whether or not they engage in acts of crime is not a question of their ability to exercise self-control but rather a question of their morality. In short, this paper aims to clarify the concepts of ‘executive capability’, ‘self-control’ and ‘crime’, and to specify their relationships and role in the explanation of crime.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1477370807074858 (link to publisher's fulltext)
Host/Issue European Journal of Criminology;2
Volume 4
Pages 237-264
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) crime
crime causation
morality
executive capabilities
self-control
situational action theory
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/5501 (link to this page)

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