The Generality of Deviance

The Generality of Deviance advances the idea that all forms of deviant, criminal, reckless, and sinful behavior have one thing in common: the tendency to pursue immediate benefits without concern for long-term costs. The editors argue, and the contributors confirm, that such disparate behaviors as smoking, auto accidents, burglary, and rape are similar in that they all involve disregard for their inevitable consequences: poor health, injury, loss of freedom, shame, or disrepute. The chapters here show how various forms of deviance relate to one another and can be explained by a common theory involving self-management. The editors illustrate how the idea of self-control challenges the psychological concept of aggression and provides a more useful alternative for understanding deviant behavior. They also apply the theory to the family, showing how this institution is central to crime control. Other contributors bring fresh perspectives to a variety of topics: the uncanny similarities between victims of car accidents and perpetrators of crime; the connection between drugs and crime; feminist explanations of rape; gender differences in crime rates; drunk drivers among high school students; and the progression of a delinquent's life from adolescence to adulthood. In short, this book makes a convincing case that it is a waste of intellectual effort and public funds to treat different forms of crime and deviant behavior as distinct problems. Studied collectively, various crimes may be seen to have the same causes and, hence, one cure. The Generality of Deviance will be a significant and provocative addition to the libraries of criminolegists, psychologists, and sociologists, those attempting to solve as well as to identify problems.