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Criminology Today

Criminology Today

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Criminology Today

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  1. Criminology Today Chapters 7 and part of 8

  2. Chpt. 7 – Social Structure Theories • Old saying – you can take the criminal out of a bad environment, but you can’t take the bad environment out of the criminal. • Suggestion is – negative influences of social environment predispose some people to lives of crime, and that such negative influences may remain active even when people’s circumstances change.

  3. Major Principles of Sociological Theories • Sociological theory – a perspective that focuses on the nature of the power relationships that exist between social groups and on the influences that various social phenomena bring to bear on the types of behaviors that tend to characterize groups of people. • Social structure – the pattern of social organization and the interrelationships among institutions characteristic of a society.

  4. Definitions • Social process – the interaction between and among social institutions, individuals and groups • Social life – the ongoing (typically) structured interaction that occurs between person in a society, including socialization and social behavior in general.

  5. 3 Key Sociological Explanations for Crime • Crime is the result of an individual’s location within the structure of society • Crime is the end product of various social processes, especially inappropriate socialization and social learning • Crime is the product of class struggle. The perspective emphasizes the nature of existing power relationships between social groups

  6. Social Structure Theories Defined • Social structure theories – they explain crime by reference to the economic and social arrangements (or structure) of society. • They see the various formal and informal arrangements between social groups as the root causes of crime and deviance. • They highlight those arrangements within society that contribute to low socioeconomic status of identifiable groups as significant causes of crime. • Social structure theorists view members of socially and economically disadvantaged groups as being more likely to commit crime, and they see economic and social disenfranchisement as fundamental causes of crime.

  7. Types of Social Structure Theories • Social Disorganization (ecological approach) • Strain Theory • Culture Conflict Theory

  8. Social Disorganization Theory • A perspective on crime and deviance that sees society as a kind of organism and crime and deviance as a kind of disease or social pathology. • Theories of social disorganization are often associated with the perspective of social ecology and with the Chicago School of criminology, which developed during the 1920s and 1930s.

  9. Social Disorganization • A condition said to exist when a group is faced with social change, uneven development of culture, maladaptiveness, disharmony, conflict, and lack of consensus. • Social Ecology – the attempt to link the structure and organization of any human community to interactions with its localized environment

  10. Social Pathology • Those human actions which run contrary to the ideals of residential stability, property ownership, sobriety, thrift, habituation to work, small business enterprise, sexual discretion, family solidarity, neighborliness, and discipline of will. • The tem referred simply to behavior not in keeping with the prevalent norms and values of the social group.

  11. Definitions • Cultural transmission – the transmission of delinquency through successive generations of people living in the same area through a process of social communication • Ecological theory – a type of sociological approach that emphasizes demographics (the characteristics of population groups) and geographics (the mapped location of such groups relative to one another) and that sees the social disorganization that characterizes delinquency areas as a major cause of criminality and victimization.

  12. Chicago School • Chicago School of criminology – an ecological approach to explaining crime that examined how social disorganization contributes to social pathology. • Chicago School – demonstrated the tendency for criminal activity to be associated with urban transition zones, which, because of the turmoil or social disorganization that characterized them, were typified by lower property values, impoverished lifestyles, and a general lack of privacy. • The greatest contribution the ecological school made to criminological literature can be found in the claim that society, in the form of the community, wields a major influence on human behavior.

  13. The Criminology of Place • (Also called Environmental Criminology) is an emerging perspective within the contemporary body of criminological theory that builds upon the contributions of routine activities theory and situational crime prevention, as well as the ecological approaches. • It emphasizes the importance of geographic location and architectural features as they are associated with the prevalence of victimization.

  14. Broken Windows Thesis • Broken windows thesis – physical deterioration and an increase in unrepaired buildings lead to increased concerns for personal safety among area residents. • Offenders from other neighborhoods are then increasingly attracted by the area’s perceived vulnerability. • Physical evidence of disorder, left unchecked, leads to crime by driving residents indoors and sending a message to would-be offenders that a neighborhood is out of control.

  15. Defensible Space • A surrogate term for the range of mechanisms – real and symbolic barriers, strongly defined areas of influence, and improved opportunities for surveillance – that combine to bring an environment under the control of its residents. • Since the routine activities of places may be regulated far more easily than the routine activities of persons, a criminology of place would seem to offer substantial promise for public policy as well as theory.

  16. Strain Theory • Anomie – a social condition in which norms are uncertain or lacking • Norms – wealth, status, happiness • Means – education, hard work, $ savings • Crime and deviance tend to arise as alternative means to success when individuals feel the strain of being pressed to succeed in socially approved ways but find that the tools necessary for such success are not available to them. • Strain theory – a sociological approach that posits a disjuncture between socially and subculturally sanctioned means and goals as the cause of criminal behavior.

  17. Page 272 – Relative Deprivation • Relative deprivation refers to the economic and social gap that exists between rich and poor who live in close proximity to one another. • People assess their position in life by way of comparison with things and people they already know. • Relative deprivation creates feelings of anger, frustration, hostility, and social injustice on the part of those who experience it. • Distributive justice – an individual’s perception of his or her rightful place in the reward structure of society – could even apply to wealthy

  18. General Strain Theory (GST) • GST – a perspective that suggests that lawbreaking behavior is a coping mechanism that enables those who engage in it to deal with the socioemotional problems generated by negative social relations. • Strains most likely to cause crime include child abuse and neglect; negative secondary-school experiences; abusive peer relations; chronic unemployment; marital problems; parental rejection; erratic, excessive, and or/harsh supervision or discipline; criminal victimization; homelessness, racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination; and a failure to achieve selected goals.

  19. Culture Conflict Theory • a/k/a Cultural Deviance Theory – suggests that the root cause of criminality can be found in a clash of values between differently socialized groups over what is acceptable or proper behavior. • Conduct norms – shared expectations of a social group relative to personal conduct • Because crime is a violation of laws established by legislative decree, the criminal event itself, from this point of view, is nothing more than a disagreement over what should be acceptable behavior.

  20. 2 types of culture conflict • Primary conflict – arises when a fundamental clash of cultures occurs – i.e. an immigrant father who kills his daughter’s lover following an old-world tradition that demands that a family’s honor be kept intact. • Secondary conflict – when smaller cultures within the primary one clash – i.e. prostitution and gambling provided plentiful examples of secondary conflict • Today – drug use and abuse provide more readily understandable examples – some parts of America – drug dealing is an acceptable for of business

  21. Subcultural Theory • A subculture is a collection of values and preferences, which is communicated to subcultural participants through a process of socialization. • Subcultures differ from the larger culture in that they claim the allegiance of smaller groups of people. • Ex. – wider Am. Culture proclaim that hard work and individuality are valuable, but subculture may espouse the virtues of deer hunting, male bonding, and recreational alcohol consumption. (Did they just slam the South?) Redneck Deer Stand

  22. Delinquency and Drift • Techniques of neutralization – culturally available justifications that can provide criminal offenders with the means to disavow responsibility for their behavior • 5 types of justification – p. 278 • Denying responsibility • Denying injury • Denying the victim • Condemning the condemners • Appealing to higher loyalties

  23. Violent Subcultures TROY KING ASKS SUPREME COURT FOR EXCUTION DATES King also filed a motion for an execution date for a second Wiregrass killer, Phillip Hallford. Hallford, 61, was convicted of shooting a 16-year-old boy to death in the Daleville area. Hallford has been on death row for 21 years for the April 13, 1986, shooting death of Charles Eddie Shannon, his daughter’s boyfriend. • Geographic distinctions among violent subcultures in different parts of the U.S. • A body of criminological literature exists, for example, that claims that certain forms of criminal violence are more acceptable in the southern U.S. than in northern portions of the country • Some writers have also referred to variability in the degree to which interpersonal violence has been accepted in the South over time, whereas others have suggested that violence in the South might be a traditional tool in the service of social order. • The notion of a “southern violence construct” holds that an “infernal trinity of Southerner, violence and weaponry” may make crimes like homicide and assault more culturally acceptable in the South than in other parts of the country.

  24. Differential Opportunity Theory • Illegitimate opportunity structure – subcultural pathways to success that the wider society disapproves of • Reaction formation – the process by which a person openly rejects that which he or she wants or aspires to but cannot obtain or achieve

  25. The Code of the Street • Contemporary street code that stresses a hyperinflated notion of manhood that rests squarely on the idea of respect. • At the heart of the code is the issue of respect – loosely defined as being treated ‘right’ or being granted one’s ‘props’ (or proper due) or the deference one deserves.

  26. Gangs • 80% of agencies serving a population of 50,000 or more reported gang-related problems – only 12% of rural agencies reported such problems • Estimates – 760,000 gang members and 24,000 gangs were active in U.S. in 2004

  27. Critique of Social Structure Theories p. 290 • The fundamental assumption of social structure approaches is that social injustice, racism, and poverty are the root cause of crime. – If true, negates social responsibility perspective. • Others argue the inverse is true – poverty and what appear to be social injustices are produced by crime.

  28. Chapter 8: Theories of Social Process and Social Development • 1999 Columbine shootings (15 people died) – criminologist continue to debate the influences in the lives of Harris and Klebold that led up to the Columbine shootings • 2007 Virginia Tech shooting spree – death of 33 people by student suffering from mental problems

  29. The Social Process Perspective • a/k/a interactionist perspectives - A theory that asserts that criminal behavior is learned in interaction with others and that socialization processes that occur as the result of group membership are the primary route through which learning occurs. • Groups include – family, peers, work groups – which one identifies

  30. Types of Social Process Theories • Learning Theory – a perspective that places emphasis upon the role of communication and socialization in the acquisition of learned patterns of criminal behavior and the values that support that behavior • According to learning theory, criminal behavior is a product of the social environment and not an innate characteristic of particular people • Differential association – the sociological thesis that criminality, like any other form of behavior, is learned through a process of association with others who communicate criminal values

  31. Differential Identification Theory • An explanation for crime and deviance that holds that people pursue criminal or deviant behavior to the extent that they identify themselves with real or imaginary people from whose perspective their criminal or deviant behavior seems acceptable

  32. Social Control Theory • A perspective that predicts that when social constraints on antisocial behavior are weakened or absent, delinquent behavior emerges. Rather than stressing causative factors in criminal behavior, control theory asks why people actually obey rules instead of breaking them.

  33. Containment Theory • A form of control theory that suggests that a series of both internal and external factors contributes to law-abiding behavior. • Containment – aspects of the social bond that act to prevent individuals from committing crimes and that keep them from engaging in deviance. • Social bond – the link, created through socialization, between individuals and the society of which they are a part.

  34. General Theory of Crime • Asserts that the operation of a single mechanism, low self-control, accounts for ‘all crime, at all times’; including acts ranging from vandalism to homicide, from rape to white-collar-crime.

  35. Control-Balance Theory • Control ratio – the amount of control to which a person is subject versus the amount of control that person exerts over others.

  36. Labeling Theory • Tagging – the process whereby an individual is negatively defined by agencies of justice • Primary deviance – initial deviance often undertaken to deal with transient problems in living • Secondary deviance – deviant behavior that results from official labeling and from association with others who have been so labeled. • Labeling – an interactionist perspective that sees continued crime as a consequence of limited opportunities for acceptable behavior that follow from the negative responses of society to those defined as offenders. • Moral enterprise – the efforts made by an interest group to have its sense of moral or ethical propriety enacted into law.

  37. Reintegrative Shaming • Stigmatic shaming – a form of shaming, imposed as a sanction by the criminal justice system, that is thought to destroy the moral bond between the offender and the community • Reintegrative shaming – a form of shaming, imposed as a sanction by the criminal justice system, that is thought to strengthen the moral bond between the offender and the community.

  38. Dramaturgy • Dramaturgical perspective – a theoretical point of view that depicts human behavior as centered around the purposeful management of interpersonal impressions. • Impression management – the intentional enactment of practiced behavior that is intended to convey to others one’s desirable personal characteristics and social qualities • Discrediting information – information that is inconsistent with the managed impressions being communicated in a given situation • Total institution – a facility from which individuals can rarely come and go and in which communal life is intense and circumscribed.

  39. Prosocial Bonds • Bonds between the individual and the social group that strengthen the likelihood of conformity. • Prosocial bonds are characterized by attachment to conventional social institutions, values, and beliefs.

  40. Next Week • Start at page 317 in Chapter 8 and finish Chapter 8 • Chapter 9: Sociological Theories III