Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Stefanie Eifler"

Titel: Social Mechanisms in Norm-relevant Situations: Explanations for Theft by Finding in High-cost and Low-cost Situations
Autor: Stefanie Eifler
Seite: 91-120

At the centre of this study is the theoretical and empirical analysis of action-formation mechanisms in norm-relevant situations. Basically two mechanisms are employed, namely action according to a) moral principles and b) the principle of deterrence. Conflicting assumptions concerning the way these mechanisms work are deduced from two theoretical perspectives, the high-cost/low-cost hypothesis and Situational Action Theory (SAT). While the high-cost/low-cost hypothesis leads to the assumption that criminal action is explained by the principle of deterrence in high-cost situations and, in low-cost situations, by moral principles, it follows from SAT that, in high-cost situations, the principle of deterrence has an effect only on those persons with weak moral principles, and influences of moral principles are expected in low-cost situations. Empirical analysis of these hypotheses is conducted with the help of data that have been collected as part of a mail survey (n=2383) of a disproportionately layered random sample of residents of an East German city. Data analyses are carried out in order to estimate the influences of the theoretically specified predictors simultaneously for high-cost and low-cost situations with multiple group comparisons. The study\'s results partially support both theoretical perspectives. They are finally discussed with respect to theoretical and methodological aspects.

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