189247 Epidemiology, Criminology, and Theories of Crime

Monday, October 27, 2008: 1:50 PM

Ronald L. Akers, PhD , Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
The understanding of epidemiology as the distribution of crime rates across social demographic categories and space has a long history in criminology. The term itself is not often used, and is even less often seen in the literature than previously. However, the epidemiology of crime as seen in the variation by age, race, ethnicity, social class, gender and other socio-demographic variables is and always has been central to research and theory in criminology, both as "control" and "explanatory" variables. Most theoretical perspectives, to include health and epidemiology, recognize the correlation of deviant behavior with these variables. Social class, race, gender, and age, used in epidemiological modeling, have been identified by some theorists as being the central issue around which all criminology should revolve. From a macro, sociological perspective, “epidemiological criminology” can be further validated when examined from various theoretical perspectives. For example, Conflict and Marxists/Radical theorists, for instance, focus on social class (and the related issues of power, elites, disadvantaged groups, etc.) as the most important factor in explaining crime and the criminal justice system. Feminists believe that gender is the key issue in criminology. Life-course criminologists argue that the entire field should be organized around understanding the age-crime relationship and the pathways and trajectories of crime across the life course. As a social learning theorist, the development of my Social Structure Social Learning (SSSL) model views all of these as indicators of "differential location in the social structure" and relates them to crime rates through the social learning process.

Learning Objectives:
1. To examine the macro theoretical relationships of criminological theorists and their historical recognition of how epidemiology is directly related to crime. 2. To identify theoretical models that transcend both the sciences of epidemiology and criminology from a Social Structure Social Learning perspective.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Extensive experience in presenting unique theories domestically and internationally and is openly recognized as one of the foremost criminologist throughout the world.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.