AuthorCostello, Barbara Jean.
Committee ChairHirschi, Travis
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe two criminological theories that conflict most sharply in terms of their fundamental assumptions about human nature and social order are control theory and cultural deviance theory. This research tests two major hypotheses derived from these theories. The first is that norms regulating the use of "force and fraud" are universal, and the second is that deviant behavior is caused by parents' failure to adequately socialize their children. The first hypothesis is tested through an analysis of the sanctioning practices of 100 cultures, drawn from the Human Relations Area Files. The results indicate that norms regulating the use of force and fraud are universal, and that the circumstances under which such acts are not sanctioned are quite limited. Apparent exceptions occur mainly when the consequences of the acts for social order are less severe or nonexistent. These findings indicate that certain norms are universal, and this fact can provide insight into human nature. If all societies prohibit some of the same acts, then these acts must present a threat in all societies, and members of all societies must perceive them as such. This indicates that people naturally tend to engage in criminal acts, since it is implausible that all societies would teach people to engage in behavior that they then punish. In order to identify the causes of the failure to learn cultural norms, micro-level data from the National Survey of Children are analyzed. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), delinquency is most likely to occur among children whose parents do not adequately care for them. The results show that parents with lower self-control are less attached to their children, they do not adequately supervise their children, and they are more likely to use punitive forms of punishment. In turn, their children are less attached to them, they are less likely to report feeling guilty after deviation, and they are more likely to engage in a wide range of deviant acts. In sum, the evidence shows that children's deviance is the result of inadequate child-rearing practices.