Why do many criminologist consider theory integration important for the future of criminology

Subject: Psychology
Type: Exploratory Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2575
Topics: Crime, Criminal Justice, Criminal Psychology, Criminology
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Introduction

The conducts of some individuals are considered illegal wen they come with adverse effects on other individuals and the society. In other to prevent such criminal behaviors, criminologists have to identify various methods to combat it both on the individual and at the social levels. (Barnes et al., 2014) defines criminology as the study of the nature of criminal behavior, the cause of the criminal behavior, its consequences  and how it can be controlled by using scientific methods. For the past 250 years and counting, different theories have been developed. Although some of the theories have falling out and it is no more popular in use, however, some are considered relevant for the future of criminology. The theory integration of criminology is considered to be one of the important theories for the future of criminology. The theory of integration according to (Kaiser & Holtfreter, 2016) formulate crime and the control of crime by combining concepts and central proposition into a new single set of integration that are more comprehensive than the complex traditional and one-dimension explanations to criminology. The theory integration can be analyzed at different levels of explanation such as micro, macro and cross level (Pratt, 2016). This essay will discuss the overview of theoretical integration in criminology, why theoretical integration should be pursued for the future of criminology and the different methodologies of integration and how they will shape future criminology.

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Overview of theoretical integration in criminology

When two or more theories are combined to address specific issues relating to crime or criminology in general, it is said that theoretical integration has been used (Kaiser & Holtfreter, 2016). The integration theory can take different forms in criminology. These forms include conceptual integration and propositional integration. With the conceptual integration, (Barnes et al., 2014) mentioned that this form of integration involve the use of absorption strategies which allows criminologist to use concept from one theory with another with the same features and then combines the two together into a common concept. In this case two or more existing theories which are explaining the same types of things are joined together at their different levels of analysis and then blended to form new theoretical products. This form of integration is sometimes called conceptual blending and involves the use of cognition that enables an individual to acquire knowledge and understanding through the individuals thought, experience and senses. (Maskaly & Donner, 2015).

The operations of cognition in this theory allows that devise ideas and images are blended together without having no apparent connection or any form of commonality in order to create meaning. According to (Weisburd, 2015), conceptual integration which combines different elements and relations in different scenarios was developed and brought to prominence in 1993 by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner and it is one of the theories use in George Lakoff and Rafael Nunez’s book, “Where Mathematics Comes From”. The conceptual integration is considered to be one of the most common theories of development and as such any review on this theory will require that a review on criminological theory be conducted.

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Propositional integration theory uses two or more theories to make the same prediction about crime and crime prevention (Kaiser & Holtfreter, 2016). Propositional integration also makes use of proposition that can be put together from a lot of theories into one unified set of propositions irrespective of whether those theories begin with different concepts and assumption.  (Maskaly & Donner, 2015) defines propositional integration as a method of combining propositions from various theories by way of organizing them in a logical manner. This explains the fact that propositional integration joins the various propositions together without placing emphasis on just the concept of different theories into one combined theory. What propositional theory seeks to achieve according to (Carrington, Hogg & Sozzo, 2016) is to blend the proposition of different theories and then connect them into a new theory.

Why criminologists pursue theoretical integration for the future

Several reasons have been attributed to why theoretical integration should be pursued for the future. Among the reasons are that the theory will ensure that there is effectiveness in the study and combat of crime, will ensure that there is efficiency in the study and combat of crime, there is diversity in the philosophical tenets for crime and punishment, there is diversity in the nature in which crime is committed and there is diversity in the way people respond to punishment. These reasons are discussed below.

Ensuring effectiveness in the study and combat of crime

Many criminologists consider the integration theory an important theory for the future of criminology due to the degree to which the theory will be successful in producing a result which is desirable. In other words, due to how the theory is deemed effective, criminologists belief that it has the capacity to produce expected outcome. The measure of effectiveness according to (Weisburd, 2015) must be developed so that it will correspond to the accomplishment of some stated objective and the achievement of desired result. The assessment of the integration theory in the future will quantify the result of crime and crime prevention by the use of different forms of the theory and also express the probability that the various forms of the integration theory will perform as required. It is important to note that to measure effectiveness of something is to measure the quality of outcome of that thing. Integration of theories means many different evidences from different areas being brought together to study and combat crime. This thus has the potential of improving the quality of approaches used in combating crime. For instance, criminologist use of theoretical integration for the future of criminology will be effective in creating well-targeted programs that will reduce and combat crime such as homicides. Its effectiveness will enable criminologist to identify hotspots areas and focus on the population group most likely to commit crime.

Ensuring efficiency in the study and combat of crime

Another reason why theoretical integration should be pursued for the future of criminology is that it will ensure efficiency in the study and combat of crime. (Burt & Simons, 2014). With efficiency, the theory has the ability to avoid wasting energy, money and time in getting something done but rather will enable speed and use of fewer resources in getting something done. Because the theory ensures efficiency in the study and combat of crime, developing a program selection that will identify areas of violent crime like homicide will ensure speed and use of limited resources in getting in preventing the crime or keeping it under control. When the theory ensures efficiency in the study and prevention of crime, it will enable criminologist to avoid repressive policies and rather approach the problem of violent crime by focusing their actions on law-enforcement. (Carrington, Hogg & Sozzo, 2016).  Integration of theories means many different evidences from different areas being brought together to study and combat crime. This thus has the potential of improving the overall understanding of the concept of crime and how it can be combated.

Diversity in the philosophical tenets for crime and punishment

To add to the above, (Carrington, Hogg & Sozzo, 2016) mentioned that pursuing integration theory for the future criminology will ensure that there is diversity in the philosophical tenets for crime and punishment. Many people have different ideological believes for which they act on violent impulse and commit certain outrageous crime. Because some people are not able to control their anger or frustration, they turn to channel these anger and frustration to other people who are not destructive. Other people are also faced with feelings of disappointment and because they are not able to control their actions, most of them end up in violent crime. The prospect of pursuing integration theory in the future will research into such violent crime and its punishment. With theoretical integration, the notion that by using a single philosophical tenet, criminologist can conduct a research into violent crimes and it associated punishment will fall out (Maskaly & Donner, 2015). Criminologist will be able to combine different philosophical tenets and theories by the adoption of different integrative frameworks for new research into complex social phenomenon such as crime. For instance, in researching into the violent crime such as homicide, criminologist will no longer use a single ideological belief in determining the cause of the crime and combating it but will cling to the use of different interdisciplinary framework that will give them a knowledge base to explain human motivation to such crimes.

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Diversity in the nature in which crime is committed

A fourth reason why theoretical integration should be pursued for the future of criminology is that it will show that there are differences in the type and nature in which crime is committed. (Belknap, 2015). The different types of crimes committed include murder, criminal homicide, property crime, burglary, rape, robbery, motor-vehicle theft and others. (Altier, Thoroughgood & Horgan, 2014). People have also become varying with new forms crime like cybercrimes being introduce. It is important to integrate theories in order to ensure that the theories are more effective in dealing with crime.  Various researches have shown that the theory of crime, punishment and prevention have become diverse. Researches in psychological, medical, social, behavioral, political sciences and social have all studied the phenomenon of diversity in relation to crime, punishment and prevention. Due to the increase diversity in crime it is important that criminologist formulate plans to combat it. The integration theory in the future will help criminologist to identify the main types of crime as it become varying with new forms so that the criminologist can integrate theories to ensure that the theories are more effective in combating crime.

Diversity in the way people respond to punishment

When it comes to punishing people for the crimes they have committed, it is realized that each individual responds differently to punishment. (Burt & Simons, 2014) defines punishment as a way of inflicting either a negative or positive consequences on an individual in order to reduce undesirable behavior. Punishing someone for a crime can be judicial, by fine, corporal punishment or custodial sentence. The responds of criminals to any of these punish will differ. Unlike the earlier proposition which argue that crime and its punishment can be researched by criminologist by using a single philosophical tenet, it will be difficult to ascertain how each person responds to the punishment. Consequently, when criminologist combines several theories together, it will lead them to a new research which will eventually open the way for knowledge-based framework through which they can analyze the way people respond to punishment. (Carrington, Hogg & Sozzo, 2016). As integration theory deals with the formulation of crime and the control of crime by combining concepts into a single set of integration, it will be more effective and efficient in for criminologist to formulate theories that will enable them to identify the diversity in the way people respond to punishment.

Different methodologies of integration and how they will shape future criminology

This section will consider the different methodologies of integration and how the methodologies will shape future criminology. The methodologies include conceptual methodologies of integration and assimilation methodologies of integration.

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Conceptual methodologies of integration

Conceptual methodologies of integration bring pre-existing theories together and demonstrate that they are achieving comparable results, only at different levels of analysis. (Altier, Thoroughgood & Horgan, 2014). The intention is to blend the elements into new theories so that criminologist can use concept from the theories to shape future criminology. Blending element into new theories means that there could be two or more elements of different theories, however, these elements have some features that explain the same type of things. With this kind of methodology, criminologists will be able to join together theories at their different levels of analysis and then form new theoretical concepts using the explanation obtained from the various theories to conduct research into complex social phenomenon like crimes and how to combat them. Knowledge acquired when various theories are blended together will help to determine diversity in the nature in which crime is committed and diversity in the philosophical tenets for crime. Because of the use of cognition in this methodology, criminologist will be able to acquire knowledge and understanding of a person’s thought, experience and senses (Koehler, 2015). For instance, to understand crime and how blending pre-existing theories together will shape future criminology, using structural methodology of integration will help to achieve comparable results of different theories in order to come out with the appropriate prevention techniques.

Assimilation methodologies of integration

Assimilation methodology of integration allows different theories to be united into large conceptual frameworks without considering the interactive relationships and conditional effects that these theories may have on each other. (Altier, Thoroughgood & Horgan, 2014). With this methodology, criminologist will be able to include various ideas and strategies from different sources in order to shape future criminology. This can be done when important elements from different theories are incorporated into a single theory that will enable criminologist to understand the concept of crime and how it can be combated. To have the potential of improving the overall understanding of the concept of crime and how it can be prevented, pre-existing methodologies of assimilation integration have to be incorporated and described based on psychodynamic foundation and cognitive behavioral therapy. (Koehler, 2015). Psychodynamic foundation and cognitive behavioral therapy are both used for the treatment of mental disorders which implies that criminologist use of assimilation methodologist of integration will give an indication to study the nature of crime, causes, and consequences and how to combat it. For instance, the cause of homicide can be identified when research is done to include ideas from different sources so that such a crime will be prevented.

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Conclusion

The society is affected by the various crimes committed by people. Before the introduction of the theoretical integration in criminology, criminologist have identified and used different methods of theories in criminology to study the nature of criminal behavior, the cause of it, its consequences and how it can be controlled. Although some the theories proved to be worthy of use but in recent time it has faded out. The integration theory in criminology have been identified by criminologist as having the potential to shape crime therefore it is important for the future of criminology.  The integration theory will combine elements of different theories into a new single set of integration which is rather more comprehensive to use. Many criminologists consider the use of theoretical integration as important for the future of criminology when the theory takes different forms in criminology. The forms of theoretical integration include the conceptual integration and propositional integration.  The overview of theoretical integration gives an indication to why the theory should be pursued or the future of criminology. Among the reasons why it is important for the future of criminology is that, the theory ensures that there is effectiveness in the study and combat of crime in social level.  Other reasons are that it ensures efficiency in the study and combat of crime, there will be diversity in the philosophical tenets for crime and punishment, there will be diversity in the nature in which crime is committed and there will be diversity in the way people respond to punishment. Different methodologies of integrations such as conceptual methodology of integration, structural methodology of integration and assimilation methodology of integration have shown how they will shape future criminology.

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