Predicting the Deviant Behavior: A Sociological Test

Anton N. Oleinik, Moscow State University

Recent developments in sociology and economics allow finding a compromise between two mutually excluding in the past research programs. Putting the emphasis on the way the actors justify their everyday behavior represents not only a purely theoretical interest. Such a research program helps us to differentiate legal and deviant orientations ("sets") and, consequently, to predict the probability of committing the deviant acts in the future. The behavior in so called "critical" situations is especially revealing. An everyday situation is called "critical" if it is not possible to find any more a unique, natural way to behave allowing to solve the coordination problem. Practically speaking, we propose a kind of sociological lie detector implying the analysis of norms and values revealed when the individual is put in a critical situation, even artificially initiated. To test the validity and the reliability of our approach, we conducted a series of in-depth interviews with businessmen and those who were sentenced for economic crimes. The first empirical results look very promising.

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Updated 05/20/2006