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27 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 3 (1990)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd27 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                   EDITOR'S COMMENTS


   This issue displays not only the diversity of theory and research concern-
ing crime and  delinquency but also the unity underlying the substantive
topics as a result of the fundamental philosophical and methodological
issues. The first two empirical articles focus on the administration of punish-
ment and  corrections; however, they examine quite different questions and
utilize different units of analysis. Another article contrasts the attitudes of
delinquent and nondelinquent youth toward assisting victims of crime, while
an opening article challenges a common criminological assumption that valid
generalizations about crime and its causes cannot be made across nations and
cultures. Though it does not address correctional research directly, this article
identifies the themes that underlie all of the pieces in the context of the closely
related issues of level of analysis and criminological relativism.
   In the first article, Leavitt provides an entry into the philosophy of
criminology. He examines  several versions of relativism in the social sci-
ences and the humanities that have had considerable influence on crimino-
logical theory and research. Leavitt mounts a strong but, no doubt, contro-
versial attack on several arguments against cross-cultural study and against
the macrological analysis required by such study. In a time when political
terrorism, drug control, and multinational corporate crime have heightened
the importance of cross-cultural and transnational research, Leavitt's article
may  serve as an invitation to types of investigation that have not been
frequent nor fared well in the last few decades.
   In the second article, Gillis and Hagan provide both counterpoint and
perhaps unintentional support for Leavitt. These Canadian researchers pro-
vide crime-weary  readers with a refreshing change as they focus on the
positive aspects of self-reported delinquents, and on their loyalty and asser-
tiveness in assisting friends and family members who are being victimized.
The researchers suggest that delinquents are not so much amoral as differ-
ently moral, at least when it comes to helping persons in trouble. Gillis and
Hagan  themselves provide  a micrological analysis, but their comparisons
across value perspectives and their call for similar research in other countries
are certainly harmonious with Leavitt's theme.
   In the third article, Michalowski and Pearson report a macrological study
of penal policy fluctuation in response to economic variations. They provide
tests of two radical, or critical, hypotheses; that incarcerative punishment will


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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