Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Martin Gottschalk


This dissertation is an analysis of pre-Qin Confucian philosophy as it pertains to crime and the crime related issues of personal control and social control. From this analysis of pre-Qin Confucian philosophy, a wholly new and distinct theory of crime is developed. Material relating to crime, and the crime related issues involving personal control and social control, is filtered out of an assortment of prominent pre-Qin Confucian texts (namely those of Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi), dissected and juxtaposed with historical and modern Western criminological thought, and ultimately systematized into a unified Confucian theory of crime. This endeavor works to enrich our understanding of crime from a Confucian perspective, to advance our understanding of crime in general, and to enrich our understanding of Western criminological thought. An assortment of Western criminologically based empirical studies and theory are drawn upon to develop a prism from which to view and analyze Confucian criminological thought. A main directive of this dissertation is to enhance Western theories of crime and punishment by comparing them to, and, when appropriate, merging them with, Confucian philosophy, all within the context of theory building. Novel theoretical frameworks are generated from the merging of, and observations made between, the philosophical work of the pre-Qin Confucians and the criminological theory from such notable criminologists as Gabriel Tarde, Travis Hirschi, Michael Gottfredson, Edwin Sutherland, and John Braithwaite. Examples of deep theoretical connection and enrichment between traditions include Hirschian social bonding theory and Confucian ritual, and Gottfredson and Hirschi’s parenting approach to crime prevention (within the context of self-control theory) and Confucian parenting practices. A Confucian theory of crime is generated from this filtering process, analysis, and theory building, which details the Confucian theory for the causes of crime, and, also, the Confucian remedies for these causes. Three major remedies for criminality are constructed from the Confucian texts, these are: A focus on family unity and family cohesion, properly educating children both in a formal educational setting, and, importantly, in the home under the tutelage of the parents, and, lastly, the inclusion of ritual and ritualized patterns of prosocial behavior within the home, school, and community, so as to ingrain a deeper meaning and understanding of the tenets required by society to ensure its effective functioning.