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Revising the Critical Gaze: An Inversion of Criminological Theories to Center Race, Racism, and Resistance

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posted on 2021-11-04, 17:13 authored by Abigail HensonAbigail Henson, Ajima OlaghereAjima Olaghere, Thuy-Trinh Nguyen

We offer a method to invert and redefine three predominant criminological theories from deficit-based to strength-based theories of crime. Using a nine-step protocol, we devised procedures on how to perform theoretical inversions, which include critically assessing the original framework of an identified theory, assuming an opposite frame, listing the original propositions, and applying an opposing frame to revise the original theory’s proposition. Our inversion method produced punitive provocation theory, critical environmental adaptation theory, and socio-structural induction theory, as theoretical inversions of deterrence, social disorganization, and self-control theories. We suggest different measurement options for these new inverted theories, including a focus on the structural antecedents of crime such as racial/ethnic discrimination, exclusion, surveillance practices, and divestment from communities. To ameliorate under-theorizing and create a more equitable and less harmful society, we urge theorists, researchers, and practitioners to adopt a more inclusive, critical, and reflexive approach to understanding human behavior.


Declaration of conflicts of interest


Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • United States

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Faculty 4-yr College

Lead author institution

Arizona State University

Human Participants

  • No

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