The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice: M.S.


Criminal Justice


School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Dick Andzenge

Second Advisor

Richard Lawrence

Third Advisor

Thomas Ward

Keywords and Subject Headings

integrative review, criminology, criminological theory, explaining criminality


Modern social science is the result of the development of numerous perspectives which attempt to explain social phenomena. One such explanation is offered by Turner (1978). He suggests that concepts explain phenomena from either a concrete or abstract perspective which is relative to the scope conditions of time and location. This study--using Turner's scope conditions--defines time as events or periods within human existence (conception, prenatal, birth, and life-course). It defines location as either individuals (focusing on individuals or social networks) or as structures (focusing on groups, organizations, and society).

The body of knowledge related to criminal behavior is established within this study by a literature review of sampled authors (n = 104) within sociology, psychology, and biology. A qualitative, integrative review methodology is applied to determine the extent to which Turner's scope conditions (time and location) have been addressed within dominant criminological theory.

This study finds that within the sampled authors of theoretical concepts, the scope condition of time respective to the prenatal period or the event of birth is not specifically addressed. The study suggests--regarding the scope condition of location--that authors of concepts related to criminal behavior do not address possible factors (a) which originate outside the womb; (b) which may be introduced or present during the prenatal period or birth; (c) which may be perceived by the fetus in utero or at birth; (d) which reflect a social learning or psychological nature; and (e) which may influence behavior.

This study cites research outside the field of criminology concerning fetal capability to perceive, and to respond to, external stimuli before and after birth-specifically, sound and pain. A recommendation is presented for further examination and research of these possible factors during the prenatal period and the event of birth to determine (a) whether they may indeed represent a prenatal learning phase, (b) whether they may influence behavior, and (c) whether possible inclusion in criminological theory development is warranted.

Included in

Criminology Commons