ABSTRACT

The most prevalent explanations of delinquent behavior are sociologically oriented theories. Sociological theories and perspectives reflect elements of both Classicism and Positivism. This chapter looks at a wide array of social and environmental factors as potential determinants of deviant behavior, including the neighborhood in which an individual grows up, one’s peers, the views of others, social and moral training, the organization of society, economic conditions, and the effect of being processed in the criminal justice system. Discussions of deterrence, control, and routine activities theories are also considered. This chapter attempts to outline the major points of each theory or view and draw out similarities and differences in the sociological explanations for deviance.