interdisciplinary theory | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminology

Interdisciplinary theory in criminology combines knowledge from fields like sociology, psychology, biology, and law to understand crime better.

Imagine trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle, but you only have pieces from one corner. You’d struggle to see the whole picture, right? The same principle applies to criminology. If we only look at crime through one lens, we’re likely to miss essential aspects of the picture.

The Complexity of Crime

Crime is complicated. It’s like a tangled web with many different threads. One single discipline or viewpoint can’t untangle this web. That’s where interdisciplinary theory comes in.

Interdisciplinary Theory at Work

Let’s consider juvenile delinquency, which is when young people break the law. By using interdisciplinary theory, we can look at this issue from several angles.

The Psychology Perspective

Psychology looks at the human mind and behavior. When applied to juvenile delinquency, psychologists might study personality traits or mental health issues. They could look at whether some traits make a person more likely to commit a crime. They might also study if certain mental health issues are more common in young offenders.

The Sociology Perspective

Sociology studies society and social behavior. A sociologist might look at a young offender’s family dynamics. They could study if the young person feels pressure from their friends to break the law. They might even examine if the neighborhood they live in influences their behavior.

Bringing it Together

By looking at these two perspectives together, we get a fuller picture. We can see how personal and social factors might combine to lead a young person to commit a crime.

From Understanding to Action

But interdisciplinary theory isn’t just about understanding crime. It’s also about finding solutions.

By understanding the various factors contributing to criminal behavior, we can develop more effective strategies to prevent crime. We can design rehabilitation programs for offenders that take into account their individual needs and social situations.

Interdisciplinary Theory: A Necessary Approach

In conclusion, interdisciplinary theory is vital in criminology. It acknowledges that crime is complex and can’t be understood from one perspective alone. It allows us to examine the many factors that contribute to criminal behavior. And most importantly, it helps us develop effective strategies to prevent crime and rehabilitate offenders. Like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, it’s only by looking at all the pieces that we can see the whole picture.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/26/2023

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