Crime in America Chapter 2 part 2
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Consideration was give to the offender’s
- •Mental condition
- •Extenuating circumstances
Behavior is seen as largely a result of biological/psychological and social/cultural influences beyond an individual’s control
humans influenced most by biological or psychological factors.
humans influenced most by social or cultural factors.
•Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909)
- –Father of Criminology
- –Studied military criminals versus non-criminals and thought:
- •he detected physical differences
- •These differences were symptoms of underlying lesser evolutionary status (atavism).
Schools of Individual deterministic theories:
- –Physical Type Theories
- –Hereditary Theories
- –Defectiveness Theories
- –Mental Deficiency Theories
- –Mental Illness Theories
Humans influenced most by social or cultural factors
- –Social Structure Theories
- –Social Process Theories
- –Symbolic Interactionism
Neighborhoods changed populations over time, but delinquency patterns remained very stable.
- –Thus, the kids were learning crime from the older kids in delinquent areas.
- –The cultural transmission of delinquency – delinquent beliefs and acts spread from one delinquent to another in neighborhoods, despite differences in race and ethnicity.
- –Thus, crime could NOT be biological in origin … it had to be learned!
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917).
- –Viewed the changes in modern society as causing a disjunction between the old norms people had learned and the new social conditions in which they now lived.
- –The disjunction caused “anomie”
- •Anomie = a state of “normlessness” occurring when norms do not fit the situation people are in now.
- –Saw deviant behavior (such as crime, and even suicide) as resulting from social conditions … NOT from individual abnormalities.
- Adaptation Goal Means
- 1. Conformity + +
- 2. Innovation + -
- 3. Ritualist - +
- 4. Retreatist - -
- 5. Rebel +- +-
Social Process Theories
Major influence on any individual is not society in general but the interactions that dominate everyday life.
Differential Association Theory
- –Identified by Edwin Sutherland – one of the most influential sociologists in the 20th century.
- –People learn from other people in the most important of their membership groups – or from the most important of their personal relationships
- –People learn content and skills as well as motivations to behavior, whether legal or illegal.
- –“A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of law.”
–Argued that people would commit crimes naturally if they were not constrained in some way by conventional society.
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