Toward a Multilevel Integrated Model: Beyond the Theoretical Integration

Cheong Sun Park, University of Chicago

This paper refutes the critiques against the theoretical integration in criminology and suggests an integrated model that incorporates two levels and two dimensions of social phenomenon. I argue that the critique against integration is rather based on psychological interpretation of assumptions raised by sociological theories so that the wrong interpretation should not be credited. Following Elliott (1985), I also argue that an integrated model should not be confused with a mixed model, which does not resolve the assumption conflict without any clarification of relationship between integrated theories. Finally, I argue that integration should not be limited to theoretical integration but should be expanded to the linking attempts between macro and micro levels. Upon these considerations, I propose an integrated model that incorporates two different levels (e.g. macro vs. micro or structure vs. process) and two different dimensions (community and opportunity factors) of delinquent process and elaborate the relationship between levels and dimensions. In addition, my theoretical framework includes the age effect by which I argue that age has an indirect effect on juvenile delinquency mediated through the social relationship change. A theory is none other than a proper guidance of research to explain the social phenomenon more broadly and thoroughly. It should not be an obstacle to do a research. Theories happen to exist in advance before researchers show their intention of research.

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Updated 05/20/2006