Criminal Behavior from Heritability to Epigenetics: How Genetics Clarifies the Role of the Environment

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Biosocial approaches include looking at the contribution of genetic variation to phenotype variation in criminal behavior, which is unacceptable to many sociologically trained criminologists as reductionist. Perhaps the two biggest fears about reductionism are that it privileges biological mechanisms at the expense of environmental factors as explanations of criminality, and that mechanistic accounts ignore context and thus the meaning of situations and things. I argue that reductionist accounts, and that paradoxically they more forcefully underline the importance of the environment than do accounts that only emphasize the environment.

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