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Specialization and the Criminal Career

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 25 Issue: 2 Dated: (May 1987) Pages: 399-420
Date Published
22 pages
This paper attempts to remove the barrier found by Hirschi by providing improved measurement of specialization, such as has been proposed by Farrington (1986) and Klein (1984), and by placing the results in a more realistic criminal careers perspective than has been done in previous studies.
This study utilizes data from the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort. With information to age 26 for 27,160 persons, these data are perhaps better suited to investigate this topic than any available. Hirschi recently (1985) attempted to show the compatibility of social control with rational choice theory. This effort by Hirschi is noteworthy because, if successful, he could provide a connection between positive and classical sentiments which have traditionally appeared in contention. Hirschi fails, however, to achieve his objective and is hindered by what he views as the incompatible objectives of the two theories. Hirschi uses the recently accepted findings which indicate lack of specialization among persons involved in illegal behavior to illustrate the difference he sees between criminality and crime and, thus, the divergence between social control and rational choice. (Publisher abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1987