Advertisement

Critical Criminology

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 313–330 | Cite as

A General Theories of Hate Crime? Strain, Doing Difference and Self Control

  • Mark Austin WaltersEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article attempts to put forward a more holistic vision of hate crime causation by exploring the intersections which exist between three separate criminological theories. Within the extant literature both Robert Merton’s strain theory and Barbara Perry’s structured action theory of ‘doing difference’ have been widely used to explain why prejudice motivated crimes continue to pervade most communities. Together the theories help to illuminate the sociological factors which act to create immense fear of, and hatred towards, various minority identity groups. However, neither of these theories adequately explain why some individuals commit hate crimes while others, equally affected by socio-economic strains and social constructions of ‘difference’, do not. This article therefore moves beyond such macro explanations of hate crime by drawing upon Gottfredson and Hirschi’s A General Theory of Crime (1990). Using typology research carried out by various academics, the article attempts to illustrate how socio-economic strains and general fears of ‘difference’ become mutually reinforcing determinants, promulgating a culture of prejudice against certain ‘others', which in turn ultimately triggers the hate motivated behaviours of individuals with low self control.

Keywords

Identity Group Hate Crime Strain Theory Young Offender General Strain Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author would like to that thank Carolyn Hoyle, Mary Bosworth and Jon Garland for their thoughtful comments on earlier versions of this paper and to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.

References

  1. Agnew, R. (1992). Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency. Criminology, 30, 47–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agnew, R., Brezina, T., Wright, J. P., & Cullen, F. T. (2002). Strain, personality traits, and delinquency: Extending general strain theory. Criminology, 40(1), 43–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  4. Armstrong, T. (2005). Evaluating the competing assumptions of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) a general theory of crime and psychological explanations of aggression. Western Criminology Review, 6(1), 12–21.Google Scholar
  5. Bibbings, L. (2004). Heterosexuality as harm: Fitting in. In P. Hillyard, C. Pantazis, S. Tombs, & D. Gordon (Eds.), Beyond criminology. Taking harm seriously. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  6. Bowling, B. (1998). Violent racism: Victimization, policing, and social context. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bowling, B., & Phillips, C. (2003). Racist victimization in England and Wales. In D. Hawkins (Ed.), Violent crime, assessing race & ethnic difference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Byers, B., Crider, B. W., & Biggers, G. K. (1999). Bias crime motivation: A study of hate crime offender neutralization techniques used against the Amish. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 15(1), 78–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chahal, K., & Julienne, L. (1999). ‘We Can’t All Be White!’: Racist victimisation in the UK. York: York Publishing Services.Google Scholar
  10. Craig, K. M. (2002). Examining hate-motivated aggression: A review of the social psychological literature on hate crimes as a distinct form of aggression. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 7, 85–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Franklin, K. (2000). Antigay behaviors among young adults: Prevalence, patterns, and motivators in a noncriminal population. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15(4), 339–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gadd, D., & Dixon, B. (2009). Posing the “Why” question: Understanding the perpetration of racially motivated violence and harassment. In B. Perry (Ed.), Hate crimes (Vol. 1). London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  13. Gadd, D., Dixon, B., & Jefferson, T. (2005). Why do they do it? Racial harassment in North Staffordshire. Keele: Centre for Criminological Research, Keele University.Google Scholar
  14. Garland, J., & Chakraborti, N. (2006). Recognising and responding to victims or rural racism. International Review of Victimology, 13(1), 49–69.Google Scholar
  15. Gerstenfeld, P. (2004). Hate crimes causes, controls, and controversies. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Gordon, P. (1994). Racist harassment and violence. In E. A. Stanko (Ed.), Perspectives on violence. London: Howard League.Google Scholar
  17. Gottfredson, M., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., Bursik, R. J., Jr., & Arneklev, B. J. (1993). Testing the core empirical implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30, 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Green, D. P., McFalls, L. H., & Smith, J. K. (2001). HATE CRIME: An emergent research agenda. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 479–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Green, D. P., & Seher, R. L. (2003). What role does prejudice play in ethnic conflict? Annual Review of Political Science, 6, 509–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Green, D. P., Strolovitch, D. Z., & Wong, J. S. (1998). Defended neighbourhoods, integration, and racially motivated crime. American Journal of Sociology, 104(2), 372–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Home Office. (2005a). Race equality in public services. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  23. Home Office. (2005b). Improving opportunity, strengthening society: The government strategy to increase race equality and community cohesion. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  24. Iganski, P. (2008). Hate crime and the city. Bristol: The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  25. Jacobs, J. B., & Potter, K. (1998). Hate crimes. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kelly, R. J. (Ed.). (1993). Bias crime: American law enforcement and legal responses. Washington, DC: Office of International Criminal Justice.Google Scholar
  27. Lawrence, F. M. (1999). Punishing hate: Bias crimes under American law. London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Levin, J., & McDevitt, J. (1993). Hate crimes: The rising tide of bigotry & bloodshed. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  29. Levin, J., & McDevitt, J. (2002). Hate crimes revisited: America’s war on those who are different. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  30. Levin, J., & Rabrenovic, G. (2009). Hate as cultural justification for violence. In B. Perry (Ed.), Hate crimes (Vol. 1). London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  31. Macpherson, W. Sir (1999). The Stephen Lawrence inquiry. Cm 4262-I. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  32. McDevitt, J., Levin, J., & Bennet, S. (2002). Hate crime offenders: An expanded typology. Journal of Social Studies, 58(2), 303–317.Google Scholar
  33. McGhee, D. (2005). Intolerant Britain?: Hate, citizenship and difference. New York: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  35. Newburn, T. (2007). Criminology. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Perry, B. (2001). In the name of hate: Understanding hate crimes. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Perry, B. (Ed.). (2009a). Hate crimes (Vol. 1). London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  38. Perry, B. (2009b). The sociology of hate: Theoretical approaches. In B. Perry (Ed.), Hate crimes (Vol. 1). London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  39. Phillips, C., & Bowling, B. (2007). Racism, ethnicity, crime and criminal justice. In R. Morgan, R. Reiner, & M. Maguire (Eds.), Oxford handbook of criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pratt, T. C., & Cullen, F. T. (2000). The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime: A meta-analysis. Criminology, 38, 931–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ray, L., & Smith, D. (2002). Hate crime, violence and cultures of racism. In P. Iganski (Ed.), The hate debate. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  42. Ray, L., Smith, D., & Wastell, L. (2004). Shame, rage and racist violence. British Journal of Criminology, 44, 350–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sibbitt, R. (1997). The perpetrators of racial harassment and racial violence, Home Office Research Study 176. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  44. Spalek, B. (2008). Communities, identities and crime. Bristol: The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  45. Vazsonyi, T. A., & Belliston, L. M. (2007). The family–low self control–deviance: A cross-cultural and cross national test of self control theory. Criminal Justice and Behaviour, 34(4), 505–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Young, J. (1999). The exclusive society: Social exclusion, crime and difference in late modernity. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Criminology, Faculty of LawOxford UniversityOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations