"A general theory of crime" and patterns of crime in Nigeria: An exploration of methodological assumptions

Otwin Marenin, Michael D. Reisig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


The general theory of crime proposed by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) claims to be valid across time and space. That claim is assessed through an analysis of three categories of Nigerian crime - normal, political-economic, and riotous. Logical, empirical, and theoretical shortcomings in the theory are identified and discussed. Factually, many individuals who act imprudently (and criminally) in Nigeria do not seem to fit the low self-control characterization required under the theory. Logically and theoretically, unacknowledged value assumptions built into the theory undermine its claim to universality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-518
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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