Changing patterns of social controls and self-controls. On the rise of crime since the 1950s and the sociogenesis of a 'Third Nature'

This attempts to explain the rise in crime rates since the 1950s in all Western countries focuses on changes in the pattern of social controls and self-controls, as well as changes in the balance between these two types of control. Between the 1950s and 1980s, the old conviction that being open to &...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Wouters, Cas
Format: Electronic/Print Article
Language:English
Published: 1999
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 1999, Volume: 39, Issue: 3, Pages: 416-432
Online Access: Presumably Free Access
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Availability in Tübingen:Present in Tübingen.
IFK: In: Z 7
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Summary:This attempts to explain the rise in crime rates since the 1950s in all Western countries focuses on changes in the pattern of social controls and self-controls, as well as changes in the balance between these two types of control. Between the 1950s and 1980s, the old conviction that being open to 'dangerous' impulses and emotions would almost irrevocably be followed by acting upon them, was destroyed. This conviction expressed a fear that is symptomatic of rather authoritarian relationships and social controls as well as of a rather rigid type of self-control, dominated by an authoritarian conscience. As social and psychic distance between people diminished, overcoming this fear came to be taken for granted. Social emancipation and integration demanded psychic emancipation and integration: only a more ego-dominated self-regulation allowed for the reflexive and flexible calculation that came to be expected. In these processes, increasing numbers of people have become aware of emotions and temptations in circumstances where fears and dangers had been dominant before. This paper aims at suggesting an explanatory connection between these social and psychic processes and the rise in crime rates in all Western countries since the 1950s. The central hypothesis is that as more calculative and flexible self-controls have come to be socially demanded, most people came more readily to consider the possibility of becoming involved in criminal activities; this has made these acts more likely in general, and more likely in particular to be committed by those sections of the population that are relatively deprived
ISSN:0007-0955