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Control Balance: Toward a General Theory of Deviance

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329 pages
This volume puts forth an integrated theory of deviance referred to as control balance; the central premise of the theory is that the total amount of control people are subjected to, relative to the control they can exercise, will affect the probability and type of deviant behavior.
The author conceives of control balance as a continuation or temporary culmination of the collective efforts of previous crime and deviance scholars. In an effort to overcome some of the problems associated with simple theories of crime and deviance, he identifies four features (breadth, comprehensiveness, precision, and depth) that must be incorporated in successful general theories and highlights these features by reassessing the simple theories described earlier. The author also covers two popular methods, invention and elaboration, of building better theory and evaluates the practice and promise of each method against the backdrop of the four features. He advocates theoretical integration as an approach for building general theory, presents a framework for integrating theories, and specifies a central causal process called control balance around which the paradigm for integrating theories can be focused. Finally, consideration is paid to contingencies under which the control balance process is likely to operate with greater or lesser force, the extent to which the control balance process is consistent with current evidence about deviant behavior, and further research necessary to evaluate the control balance theory effectively. 350 references and 5 figures


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