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Morality, Markets, and the ASC: 2011 Presidential Address to the American Society of Criminology

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 50 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2012 Pages: 5-26
Steven F. Messner
Date Published
February 2012
22 pages
This Presidential Address explores the possibilities for fruitful multilevel theorizing in criminology by proposing an integration of insights from situational action theory (SAT), a distinctively micro-level perspective, with insights from institutional anomie theory (IAT), a distinctively macro-level perspective.
These perspectives are strategic candidates for integration because morality plays a central role in both. IAT can enrich SAT by identifying indirect causes of crime that operate at the institutional level and by highlighting the impact of the institutional context on the perception-choice process that underlies crime. Such multilevel theorizing can also promote the development of IAT by revealing the "micro-instantiations" of macro-level processes and by simulating further inquiry into the social preconditions for institutional configurations that are conducive to low levels of crime. Finally, drawing on Durkheim's classic work on occupational associations, the author points to the potential role of professional associations such as the American Society of Criminology in promoting and sustaining a viable moral order in the advanced capitalist societies. (Published Abstract)