CRIM 1150

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CRIM 1150
2013-04-04 16:58:58

Social Disorganization, Strain, and Opportunity Theories
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  1. Sociological theories of crime and criminality
    • Focus on nurture
    • Examine one environment
    • A person is brought up in an environment, therefore is examined
  2. Emile Durkheim's Theory
    Social disorganization
  3. Social disorganization; consensus perspective
    Consensus perspective on society - agreement to core values, norms, rules, and laws (a collective conscience exists)
  4. Social disorganization; collective conscience
    Reinforced by crime; crime and criminals play a useful role in society
  5. Social disorganization; anomie
    • refers to normlessness; lack of regulatory constraints existing in society to maintain adequate social control
    • this anomie occurs during social change; norms becoming meaningless, restraints on passions no longer hold
    • therefore anomie refers to breakdown in society's ability to regulate the natural wants of individuals
  6. Durkheim's Theory of Social Disorganization; Merits
    • use of scientific study
    • study of social structures to understand crime
    • study of societal change and its impacts on individuals/society
    • contributed to general sociological thinking
  7. Durkheim's Theory of Social Disorganization; Criticisms
    • little attention given to specific kinds of deviance
    • difficult to evaluate
  8. The Chicago (Ecological) School
    • Parks and Burgess
    • Concentric Circle Theory: cities are formed in circles. These circles encompass environmental characteristics that shape the existence of people in them and their relationships and interactions (5); multiple factors lead to more crime

    • Center - most disorganized
    • Out - least disorganized
    • Zones 2 & 3 : most problematic
  9. Chicago School: Shaw and McKay
    • Theorized the closer to the center, more social disorganization exists
    • Due to lower socio-economic status, ethnic diversity, high mobility, and disrupted families
    • Primary relationships broken down; subsequent breakdown of social control - result is more crime
  10. Shaw and McKay; Merits
    • basis for development of other sociological explanations - social control, differential association
    • served as a foundation for more crime prevention strategies through environmental design
  11. Shaw and McKay; Criticisms
    • how to define social disorganizations
    • effect of law enforcement - moreĀ in areas of social disorganization, more detection of crime in those city areas
  12. Robert Merton's Theory
  13. Anomie Theory; key point 1-6
    • Cultural goals - ends that a particular society acknowledges as worth pursuing
    • Socially acceptable means - ways to pursue and achieve the goals that are acceptable in society
    • Gaps exist for some between means and goals
    • Gap produces strain, this gap due to social hierarchy (class system)
    • Crime a permanent part of hierarchal society
  14. Anomie Theory; 7-8
    • Social stratification and cultural structures therefore produce crime
    • People adapt to this socially structured contradiction.
  15. Anomie Theory; 5 modes of adaption
    • 1. Innovation (criminals) - accept goals, reject means
    • 2. Ritualism - Reject goals, but accept means
    • 3. Retreatism - Reject goals and means; socially withdraw from society
    • 4. Conformity - continue to accept goals and means; despite strains
    • 5. Rebellion - reject goals and means, institute alternative goals
  16. Anomie Theory; Merits
    • Recognition of social stratification and its possible relevance to crime
    • Different modes of adaption - people respond differently to strain
  17. Anomie Theory; Criticisms
    • difficult to evaluate
    • concept of cultural uniformity
    • empirical evidence that crime is spread throughout society
    • does not explain how class distinctions are created and maintained
  18. Opportunity Theory
    • Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin
    • Book: Delinquency and Opportunity (1960)
    • Accepted and added to Merton's theory
    • Looked at patterns of deviance
    • Asserted that like legitimate opportunities; illegitimate opportunities are unequally distributed
  19. Opportunity Theory; 3 illegitimate opportunities
    • 1. Criminal - apprenticeship opportunities, access to experienced criminals, crime for money
    • 2. Conflict - lack of access to organized crime opportunities, to experienced criminals. Criminal activity an expression of hostility, frustration; criminal behaviour like fighting
    • 3. Retreatist - Double failures, lack of legitimate and illegitimate opportunities
  20. Opportunity Theory; Merit
    Recognition of illegitimate opportunities
  21. Opportunity Theory; Criticisms
    Definition of illegitimate opportunities; limits applicability to certain groups or deviants