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Using 'Turning Points' to Understand Processes of Change In Offending: Notes from a Swedish Study on Life Courses and Crime
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
2012 (English)In: British Journal of Criminology, ISSN 0007-0955, E-ISSN 1464-3529, Vol. 52, no 1, 1-16 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Processes of within-individual change in offending and desistance from crime can be very complex, often involving multiple, context-specific processes. But even in a generous reading of much research on turning points, while this is theoretically stated or inferred, it is less often shown or illustrated in empirical cases. I explore processes of change in offending with the help of the concept of ‘turning points’, through life story interviews conducted in the Stockholm Project, trying to make use of the possibilities inherent in qualitative inquiry. I show how life course processes and the turning points that emerge within them are often interdependent on each other, emerging in very context-specific circumstances, and need to be studied and understood and such. Future research areas are suggested.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2012. Vol. 52, no 1, 1-16 p.
Keyword [en]
turning points, life course criminology, offending; desistance, life story interviews
National Category
Law and Society
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-60419DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azr062ISI: 000297858100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-60419DiVA: diva2:434895
Note

1

Available from: 2011-08-26 Created: 2011-08-16 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Continuities and Changes in Criminal Careers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Continuities and Changes in Criminal Careers
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The best predictor of future criminal behavior is past criminal behavior. At the same time, the vast majority of people who engage in crime are teenagers and stop offending with age. Explaining these empirical findings has been the main task of life-course criminology, and contributing to an understanding of how and why offenders continue their criminal careers once they have started, and how and why they stop, is also the purpose of this dissertation.

To do this, the dissertation studies a number of facets of the criminal career: the importance of childhood risk factors (Paper I), the notions of turning points (Paper II) and intermittency (Paper III), and the connection between masculinities and criminal careers (Paper IV). In contrast to much life-course criminological research, the dissertation mainly relies on qualitative life history interviews, collected as part of The Stockholm Life Course Project.

The findings suggest a need for increased sensitivity to offenders’ lives, and their complexity. Whereas continuity and change can be understood within a frame of age-graded social control, this perspective needs to be extended and developed further, in mainly three ways. First, the concept and phenomenon of human agency needs closer study. Second, lived experiences of various forms of social stratification (e.g. gender, ethnicity, and so on) must be integrated into understandings of continuity and change in crime, seeing as phenomena such as social control may be contingent on these in important ways. Third, this dissertation highlights the need to go beyond the transition to adulthood and explore the later stages of criminal careers.

In closing, the dissertation suggests that we move toward a focus on the contingencies of criminal careers and the factors, events, and processes that help shape them. If we understand those contingencies in more detail, possible implications for policy and practice also emerge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, 2014. 127 p.
Series
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 34
Keyword
life-course criminology, criminal careers, persistence, desistance
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100696 (URN)978-91-7447-867-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-25, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted

Available from: 2014-04-03 Created: 2014-02-11 Last updated: 2014-03-13Bibliographically approved

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