GENERAL EVOLUTION AND DURKHEIM'S HYPOTHESIS OF CRIME FREQUENCY: A Cross-Cultural Test

Authors


*Direct all correspondence to: Gregory C. Leavitt, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN 56082.

Abstract

This research tests and supports the hypothesis proposed by Durkheim which relates increasing crime frequency to social differentiation as a process of sociocultural evolution. Unlike past tests of this hypothesis, the current study provides a cross-cultural sample of 121 societies representing a broad range of societal development, geographical dispersion, and cultural diversity. This examination interprets social differentiation in the broader scope of general evolutionary theory, thus providing a between society analysis of sociocultural complexity. While it is recognized that “crime” is not defined the same across all societal types, this research does examine 14 behavioral categories which are of interest to modern criminology.

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