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Culture, institutions and crime: testing institutional anomie theory with victimization data from Europe

By Helmut Hirtenlehner, Johann Bacher, Dietrich Oberwittler, Dina Hummelsheim and Jonathan Jackson

Abstract

This study draws upon data from the European Social Survey to examine Messner und Rosenfeld's Institutional Anomie Theory. Institutional Anomie Theory tries to explain cross-national differences in crime rates by the interaction of society's cultural and institutional forces. The relevant state of research is unsatisfactory and full of gaps. Deficiencies exist especially with regard to the postulated cultural dynamics. The first explicitly European test of the theory is presented by this study. Findings from a series of multilevel models that include individual characteristics of the respondents and cultural and structural characteristics of the countries shed doubt on the theory's suitability to explain cross-national variations in victimisation risk across Europe. Neither the cultural imperatives of the 'American Dream' nor the extent of anomic orientations are connected in the expected manner with the crime rate

Topics: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Publisher: Carl Hermanns Verlag, Köln
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:29481
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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