Encyclopedia of Adolescence

2011 Edition
| Editors: Roger J. R. Levesque

Taxonomies of Delinquents

  • Tim BrennanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1695-2_206


This essay describes the roles and importance of taxonomic research in delinquency. It is noted that taxonomic research has been largely neglected and there still is no taxonomy of delinquency that has achieved consensus in this field. However, recent theoretical developments suggest that four broad delinquency categories: psychopathic, sociopathic, neurotic, and normal/normative may offer the beginnings of a taxonomic structure for delinquency. The essay describes the major theorists and their arguments for these categories and reviews recent empirical taxonomic studies that are building support for these broad categories and providing evidence for subtypes within each category. A series of controversies is addressed, particularly the rejection of taxonomies by advocates of general theories of crime.

Significance of Taxonomies of Delinquency

Taxonomies play vital roles in all scientific disciplines, e.g., scientific communication, to develop “analytical categories” and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northpointe InstitutePeachtree CityUSA