Falsification by Atrophy: the Kuhnian Process of Rejecting Theory in US Criminology

Thomas Kuhn posits that the structure of science promotes revolutionary discovery. The decision of a scientific community to discard the status quo in favour of a revolutionary paradigm is influenced by sociological forces. Karl Popper disagreed, arguing that falsification is required. An examinatio...

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Published in:The British journal of criminology
Main Author: Dooley, Brendan D. (Author)
Other Authors: Goodison, Sean E. (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2020
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 2020, Volume: 60, Issue: 1, Pages: 24-44
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Thomas Kuhn posits that the structure of science promotes revolutionary discovery. The decision of a scientific community to discard the status quo in favour of a revolutionary paradigm is influenced by sociological forces. Karl Popper disagreed, arguing that falsification is required. An examination of a random sample of 501 articles published in 14 peer-reviewed American outlets in criminology and criminal justice from 1993 to 2008 is coupled with oral histories from 17 leading criminologists in determining which approach best characterizes criminology. Twelve per cent of papers falsify theory. When not explicitly falsified, atrophy occurs when theory is overused (exhaustion), ignored (indolence) and subjected to a sustained critique (assault). The intention of the effort is to document and describe falsification and then invite further discourse.
ISSN:1464-3529
DOI:10.1093/bjc/azz026