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Biosocial & Life-Course Perspectives

How might policy makers respond to the life-course theoretical perspective?

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Life course theory (LCT) is a holistic account of behavior. In our case, we're taking about crime, but LCT can be used with pretty much anything. The basic point is that health, criminality, any measure of well being, is not individualized, but socialized. There are general patterns of economic, moral, social and political factors that create different types of people. The local neighborhood, prevailing ideologies, religion, family and inequality are all variables taken seriously by LCT.

LCT has been criticized for making the person a play-thing of their environment. Autonomous reason is not a factor. However, autonomous reason is also a socially conditioned state. Another objection is that, by focusing on early child development as a major causal factor, it seems to doom people to a life of crime or disease. Nevertheless, LCT remains attractive, since it shows the human person not as a monad, but as a social and spiritual being. All is connected. Science does not exist in a vacuum, but must respect ethical and philosophical norms (about which science has no competence).

In terms of policy and legislation, LCT is fairly easy to grasp. It is primarily a moral and communitarian theory. It is not all that different from social disruption, a main pillar of conservatism for some time. The work of Sampson and Laub (1995) explicitly deals with the policy ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines biosocial and life-course perspectives.