Social Class and Criminal Behavior through a Biosocial Lens

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The relationship between social class (socioeconomic states--SES), and criminal behavior has been central to sociological criminology since its inception. Theories such as anomie, social disorganization, differential association, Marxist-conflict, labeling, and rational choice theories, make logical claims that we should expect to see a negative class-crime relationship (Tittle, 1983; Walsh, 2011). Careless reasoning even led some criminologists to posit that social class causes crime; at least if it is conceptualized as the poverty-non-poverty dichotomy that Hirschi (1969:71) maintains constitutes the true class-crime relationship implicit in most theories. Of course, SES per se does not directly cause crime or anything else; it is only a convenient label conceptualized and measured in different ways to categorize people in order to compare them on outcomes across various domains of interest.