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Parental Sanctions and Delinquent Behavior: Toward Clarification of Braithwaite’s Theory of Reintegrative Shaming

Hay, Carter
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Theoretical Criminology. 2(4): 419-443.

A decade ago, John Braithwaite (1989) put forth an innovative theory on crime causation in Crime, Shame and Reintegration. In his theory of reintegrative shaming, Braithwaite locates the source of crime control in reactions to deviance that simultaneously evoke remorse from offenders for the rules they have violated and reinforce the individual’s membership in the community of law-abiding citizens. In the period since its publication, the theory has influenced both the fields of criminal justice and academic criminology. However, apparent interest in the theory has not been translated into empirical tests of it. This article argues that the scarcity of empirical tests stems largely from the lack of clarity in Braithwaite’s statement of the theory. In general, definitions of key concepts and strategies for their measurement are provided at a minimum level and at times the theory omits necessary considerations. The purpose of this article is to correct these errors and demonstrate how the micro-level portion of the theory can be tested and thereby encourage empirical tests of a potentially valuable theory of crime causation. (author’s abstract).


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