When West Meets East: Generalizing Theory and Expanding the Conceptual Toolkit of Criminology.

Research paper by Steven F SF Messner

Indexed on: 19 Apr '16Published on: 19 Apr '16Published in: Asian Journal of Criminology


This paper considers the ways in which established criminological theories born and nurtured in the West might need to be transformed to be applicable to the context of East Asian societies. The analyses focus on two theoretical perspectives-Situational Action Theory and Institutional Anomie Theory-that are located at opposite ends of the continuum with respect to levels of analysis. I argue that the accumulated evidence from cross-cultural psychology and criminological research in East Asian societies raises serious questions about the feasibility of simply transporting these perspectives from the West to the East. Instead, my analyses suggest that the formulation of theoretical explanations of crime that are truly universal will require criminologists to create and incorporate new concepts that are more faithful to the social realities of non-Western societies, societies such as those in East Asia and Asia more generally.