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Crime, Life Course Theory of

Alex R. Piquero and Zenta Gomez-Smith

Subject Law
Sociology » Deviance and Social Control, Sociological and Social Theory

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Extract

The life course perspective emphasizes the importance of time, social context, and process in both theory and analysis by taking into account historical events and changes as well as individual lives. The two central concepts in the life course perspective are trajectories and transitions. Trajectories are the long-term patterns and sequences in an individual's life. These are pathways such as marriage, parenthood, careers, and criminal or non-criminal behaviors. Transitions, on the other hand, occur within trajectories and are single events that are often age-graded, such as changes in societal roles or status. They can include graduation, divorce, retiring, an arrest, and so on. These specific life events can be so abrupt and influential that they transform life trajectories. Therefore, there is a sequence of life trajectories, transitions, and adaptations during the life course. This interlocked nature of trajectories and transitions leads to the broadly accepted viewpoint of the life course perspective that an individual's childhood is connected to adulthood experiences. The life course focuses on the full life span, from birth to death, thus posits that transitions occurring early in life or childhood can have consequences and shape events later in life. In addition, the life course perspective examines the social meaning of age throughout the life span, how social patterns ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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