The following is a excerpt from one of my graduate research papers on criminological theory. I have included the references but have eliminated the footnotes to preclude anyone from submitting the paper in a college class.
Social structural theories attempt to explain why people commit crimes as related to the social structure of society. They are macro theories that address the broader questions about differences across societies or among major groups in a society. Social structural theories involve factors that can affect the individual but are beyond the control of the individual to change. They attempt to relate the "extent and distribution of crime" and "Why do they do it?" to the social structure. Social structural theories do not simply try to locate individuals above or below one another in the social structure; they try to locate individuals in terms of their relationship to one another within the structure.
Social structural theorists do not agree over the causes of crime. Some believe crime can be linked to subcultures of crime, while others doubt even the existence of subcultures. Some feel crime is linked to social forces that can be changed through reform, while others, such as Marxist supporters, feel crime is linked to oppression in capitalist societies, which cannot be changed except through revolution.
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