The distribution of deviance and exceeding the speed limit

Some theorists have argued that the propensity to deviance, like certain other psychological traits, is normally distributed in the population. Others have maintained that, since deviance is socially defined, its distribution is inevitably skewed by laws, rules, and regulations in the direction of c...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Clarke, Ronald V.
Format: Print Article
Language:English
Published: 1996
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 1996, Volume: 36, Issue: 2, Pages: 169-181
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Availability in Tübingen:Present in Tübingen.
IFK: In: Z 7
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Summary:Some theorists have argued that the propensity to deviance, like certain other psychological traits, is normally distributed in the population. Others have maintained that, since deviance is socially defined, its distribution is inevitably skewed by laws, rules, and regulations in the direction of conformity. Support for both these positions can be found in empirical studies conducted more than 50 years ago, but there has been little relevant work since then. The present study, using data made available by the Illinois Department of Transportation, supports the former position in that observed speeds of 16.4 million cars on rural highways in the state were found to be normally distributed with the mean on the speed limit of 65 mph. Similar results were found for trucks, though the distribution was slightly skewed in the direction of non-conformity. The implications of these results for criminological theory and for controlling everyday crimes committed by ordinary people are discussed
ISSN:0007-0955