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Sociological Theories of Drug Use/Abuse

Sociological Theories of Drug Use/Abuse

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Sociological Theories of Drug Use/Abuse

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  1. Sociological Theories of Drug Use/Abuse • Structural Theories: Anomie, Unequal Opportunity, Social Disorganization (Durkheim, Merton, Agnew, Messner and Rosenfeld, Shaw and McKay, Bursick) • Social Process Theories: Socialization (Matza, Hirschi) • Social Reproduction Theory: Human, Social, and Personal Capital (Hagan and McCarthy, Birmingham School) • Dimensions of Social Organization: Race, Class, and Gender (numerous contemporary researchers)

  2. Social Structural Theories: Anomie, Strain, Social Disorganization The focus of these theories is a stratified society and the unequal distribution of wealth and status as causes of crime. • Anomie- state of normlessness, absence of social integration • Disorganized neighborhoods and crime • Inability to achieve social success (unequal opportunity) and crime • Poverty and crime Unit 2 - 2

  3. Durkheim and Anomie • Anomie= absence of social ties that bind people to society, state of where norms about good and bad have little salience in people’s lives. Outcome of advanced Capitalism and ideology of individualism (latter 20th century U.S.) • Who are you responsible to? Example of crime and responsibility. • Weakening of social ties destabilizes society and leads to chaos. • Collective good versus individual self-interest? Did Durkheim believe functional society’s had to chose between these two things or did he advocate balance between them? Why?

  4. Merton and Strain • Access to opportunities is largely a function of one’s status set, which defines a person’s position in the social structure. Status set includes occupation, neighborhood, age, sex, race, education, religion • One’s location in the social structure does not fully determine opportunities for goal achievement or the individual’s perceptions of opportunities. Individuals do not determine whether they are strained or frustrated in isolation; they compare themselves to others in order to ascertain this. • Strain= Discrepancy between goals and means in society and unequal access to their legitimate attainment. • Modes of Adaptation= accept goals and means (conformist), accept goals and reject means (innovator) etc.

  5. Merton and Strain: Disparity Between Goals and means to obtain them = anomie or strain. • Modes of Adaptation: • Conformist- accept both goals and means • Innovator- accept goals, reject means and use illegitimate • Retreatist- rejects both but remains inactive • Rebel- rejects both but tries to create new

  6. General Strain Theory • Adding and emotional component to Merton and Durkheim (social psychological) strain results when youth place a high value on monetary success, do not view adherence to legit norms as a source of status or prestige, and feel they won’t be able to achieve monetary success through legitimate channels. This predicament creates negative affect (e.g., anger) for some and can foster criminal adaptations. • Strain can result from: • Prevention of achieving positively valued goals. • Removing or threatening to remove positive phenomena one possesses • Presenting or threatening to present one with noxious or negatively valued stimuli

  7. Social Disorganization Theory • Crime not evenly distributed geographically. Why? • Concentric zones- crime varies in proximity to urban core. • Why? Poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, urban decay, residential instability. • These four factors disallow residents to exert informal and formal social control in their neighborhoods that would prevent crime. • Role of social control by non-CJ agencies is critical. Citizens can prevent crime through bonding and community investment.

  8. Social Process Theories:Social Control Theory • Close associations with important institutions and individuals control behavior. • People are born “bad” and must be controlled to be “good.” Unit 2 - 8

  9. Social Control Theories (cont.) • For Hirschi, delinquency should be expected if a juvenile is not properly socialized • Proper socialization involves the establishment of a strong moral bond between the juvenile and society

  10. Social Control Theories (cont.) • This bond to society consists of: • attachment to others • commitment to conventional lines of action • involvement in conventional activities • belief in the moral order and law

  11. Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) • Note that labeling theorists attempt to explain only what Lemert called "secondary deviance” • Secondary deviance = the commission of crime after the first criminal act, with the acceptance of a criminal label

  12. Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) • Secondary deviance begins with an initial criminal act, or what Lemert called "primary deviance" • The causes of initial criminal acts are unspecified

  13. Interactionism and Labeling Theory (cont.) • If society, especially official agents of the state, reacts negatively to an initial criminal act, the offender will likely be stigmatized, or negatively labeled

  14. Social Reproduction Theory • We acquire at birth and accumulate through life unequal shares of various types of capital that alter and determine our life chances. • In less advantaged community and family settings, parents who lack abundant social and cultural capital are less able to endow or transmit opportunities to their children. Children must adapt to these disadvantaged circumstances and often do through illegal pursuits. • Schools and other institutions reproduce social class position. Channel people to certain lifestyles, goal attainment. • Four types of Capital: • Financial (tangible forms of material wealth such as money, credit, investment, and assets) • Human capital (degrees, education, skills, training, and experience) • Social capital (benefits from relationships individuals have with or resources they get from others) • Personal capital (the desire for wealth, risk-taking propensity, willingness to cooperate, and competence-- see McCarthy and Hagan 2001).

  15. Shortcomings of Extant Theory • Failure to distinguish drug use from abuse • Over-reliance on individual sciences and factors and neglect of structural causes or connection between the two types. • Peer concept too narrowly defined and argument for it circular. Focus on subcultures. • Focus solely on behaviors, not other variables, like drug identity.

  16. Anderson’s CI Theory • Definition of Abuse; (1) a pattern of regular and heavy use over a significant period of time, (2) a set of drug-related problems (at work, or with interpersonal relationships, one’s own health, and formal social control agencies), (3) previous and failed attempts to terminate drug consumption, and (4) self-identification as having a drug and/or alcohol problem.

  17. Anderson’s CI Theory An underlying premise of the theory is that individuals are motivated toward drug-related identity change because of marginalization (personal and social) and socially-defined problems with existing identities (ego identity discomfort and lost control in defining an identity) in childhood and early adolescence. Certain meso-level, (e.g., identification with drug subcultural groups), and macro-level phenomena, (e.g., economic opportunity, educational opportunity, and popular culture), that they encounter provide an opportunity structure for that change.

  18. Anderson’s CI Theory Continued • Identification with a drug subcultural group provides an opportunity to resolve socially-defined identity problems. Cultural-identity theory maintains that the higher an individual scores on the identity change motivational concepts, the more likely it he or she will identify with drug subcultural groups and experience drug-related identity change. Furthermore, the theory also maintains that individuals exposed to environments with high risk levels on the three macro concepts will have more opportunity to identify with drug subcultural groups and will be at increased risk for drug abuse.

  19. Anderson’s CI Theory Continued • Material Symbolism. Drugs can function as a mechanism to pursue economic and leisure activities, especially the marketing of illicit ones. Drug sales can furnish one with status and prestige with respect to things such as economic well-being (money and possessions, property) and fashion and other popular culture artifacts. • Affect Control. This is perhaps the best documented function of drugs for the abuser and is most closely tied to the theory’s micro-level concepts. It refers to consuming drugs to deal with feelings, usually negative, about the self and/or others in one’s immediate environment or in the larger society. Drugs often quell ill feelings or provide an escape from them. • Identity Creation. This function of drugs features a new definition of the self that is that is likely related to both material symbolism and affect control. Drug euphoria helps facilitate negations of existing identities and reconstructions of new identities for her addict respondents. These new self definitions were typically viewed as more positively.