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Criminology Class, Fall 1999
Rational-Choice Theory and Violence

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: September 26, 1999
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

Summary and Notes from Adler's Chapter on Social Control Theory

At p. 171. Rational-choice theory in criminology, has developed out of the utilitarian concept that we choose that which will provide the most reward and will result in the least pain. This theory recognizes the importance of the social setting in all its complexities. Ronald Clarke and Derek Cornish, who developed the perspective, analyze all the component decisions involved in the commission of a home burglary:

How might this apply to violence? Consider the possibility that all the same series of decisions must be calculated. To the extent that the decision to use violence is rational, the perpetrator must consider

The victim also has choices:

To the extent that both victim and perpetrator are acting rationally, pervention may be effective. Adler et al. report on the low rate of crime in Disney parks, noting the extent of awareness and precaution taken by the Disney corporation, which enhances greatly the protection of unaware potential victims. In most very safe places today there are watchful eyes, as in Disneyland, that we are not conscious of.