ABSTRACT

This chapter reviews, evaluates and reflects on the enterprise of contemporary criminological theory from 1970 to the present. The decade of the 1970s began as a liberal period and ended with a transition into conservatism. The carryover of 1960s liberalism made labeling and conflict theories popular, particularly with graduate students. Religion became more important for many and the “born-again” movement grew throughout the decade. The cynicism about government fostered by the Vietnam War and protest movements was further advanced by Watergate. A mid-1970s gasoline crisis heightened economic concerns. Social learning theory was another popular criminological perspective of the period. The blend of differential association with psychologically-based operant and social learning theories gave new life to Chicago School concepts. Feminist theory, derived from the writings of the late 1960s, developed throughout the 1970s.