How Theories of Crime Address Gender Differences
Differential association theory assumes that people acquire motives, techniques, values, and attitudes towards criminal behavior via their active interaction with others. The theory claims that persons tend to be involved in crime when specific definitions favoring offenses are advantageous over those that do not. One distinct feature of this approach is that it targets explaining various crimes, including juvenile delinquency, those conducted by the lower class, corporate, organized, or gender groups.
The social bonds theory developed by Hirschi implies that all humans are naturally predisposed to delinquency. The central question is what factors avert individuals from violating laws and norms. The theory offers four social bond types, including a commitment to accepted standards, attachment to family, commitment, involvement in activities, and belief in the importance of particular things. In this regard, Hirschi postulates that the more powerful social control is, the more probably persons are to conduct according to norms. The theory can be applied to both men and women and contradicts the differential association theory’s assumption that the milieu has a crucial impact on people’s inclination toward delinquent behavior.
The life course theory examines how the multiple social, cultural, and structural contexts affect people’s lives. In this regard, life course scholars offer fundamental concepts such as cohorts, trajectories, transitions, life events, and turning points. For example, the cohort concept concerns the historical context’s influence on persons’ developmental pathways, while transitions imply various roles that people may assume throughout their lives. Thus, the perspective investigates how early events reflect on future actions and decisions regarding marriage, crime, and disease incidence. The theory does not consider personal characteristics but accounts for gender differences.
Routine activity theory concentrates on examining different situations of crimes and relates them to their environments. In particular, theorists Cohen and Felson indicate that the occurrence of offenses pivots on the timely convergence of three elements, namely, a motivated criminal, a suitable victim, and an apt guardian’s absence. The theory also analyzes both victim and offender’s routine activities and helps security practitioners design preventive methods to safeguard citizens. Finally, the approach directly addresses gender differences and tries to explain female victimization.