Supervisor: prof Anne Kull (Tartu Ülikool)
Opponent: prof Heikki Pihlajamäki (Helsingi Ülikool)
Communities are intertwined with social control, and sometimes with religion and apparently there is no permanent human group in which we couldn't find the functioning of social control. Social control, as to make a generalization, is oriented to realizing the possibility of coexistence of people, in other words - to prevent a war of all against all. From the thesis, drawn according by interdisciplinary research principles, follow that religion and social control theory used by criminology has at least one interface, it is deviance identification and prevention. The thesis pays much attention on establishing the fact whether religion has an unlawful behavior inhibiting ability or not. Materials examined in this dissertation give the base to state that religion can act as a barrier to unlawful conduct. But why it has such an influence, and by what routes does it influence, it is not possible to say using contemporary knowledge. In the thesis a number of opportunities are noticed and it isn't ruled out that religion has a complex influence principle or concurrence that influences every person in different ways. However, I accept that despite all ways by what religion can affect individual behavior, the most universal way is the existence of a moral community, which can affect even those individuals who have identified themselves as non-religious. The role of religion and its effectiveness in social control sphere in the near future can not be precisely predicted, but according to the prevailing approach to religion in different societies it can be expected, that at least based on the historical tradition the influence of religion will last in the process of social control. In secular countries such as Estonia, there is probably no reason to hope that religion and religiosity would be a significant aid to fight against crime or deviance in general. For that effect religion in secular states has too little influence and constituency.