|This paper argues that present versions of the routine activities approach to deviant behavior fail to account for the microsocial context of situational motivation and opportunity. This failure, in turn, leads researchers to misspecify the effects of the patterning of routine actitivites on deviant behavior. Using concepts from two distinct theoretical frameworks, social control and differential association theories, I argue that routine activities cannot simply be understood as neutral patternings of structural changes. To the contrary, social activities are guided by aims and practices of social actors. From this perspective, routine activities are less understood as causing behavior, they become part of what is to be explained. Using cross-sectional survey data from a nationally representative sample of 3860 Icelandic adolescents, my findings lend considerable support for these theoretical claims. As hypothesized, the effects of routine actitivites (unstructured socializing with peers) on types of deviant behavior are considerably reduced when differential social relations are controlled-that is, bonding with conventional agents (parents and school) and associations with deviant peers. Secondly, net of the main effects of differential social relations, routine actitivties (unstructured socializing with peers), and favorable definitions (neutralizations) on deviant behaviors, statistical interactions are reported between differential social relations and routine actitivties as well as between favorable definitions and routine actitivties.
(Return to Program Resources)