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Lecture

CRM 101 - Sociological Theories of Crime


Department
Criminology
Course Code
CRM 101
Professor
Gurpreet Johal

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CRM 101: Sociological Theories of Crime
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
Biological and Psychological theories tried to explain the criminality of indivi
duals
Sociological theories consider the wider relationship between
SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES
Social Structure Theories
-Structural Functionalism
-Anomie/Strain
STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
Lack of social cohesion (integration/regulation)
-Low social cohesion = high crime rate and deviance
-Rapid societal change = decreased inegration and regulation
Individuals lack a sense of social regulation
-People feel unguided when making life choices
DURKHEIM AND DEVIANCE
Anomie
-The breakdown of social cohesion and social control mechanisms in a soc
iety
-Psychological state of experiencing normlessness
-Absence of clear societal norms and values
This breakdown can lead to high rates of crime
-Russia is a contemporary case study of how anomie is associated with ri
sing crime rate
STRAIN THEORY
Robert Merton's Americanization of Anomie
Merton's Adaptations to Strain
Discrepency by goals and actual means for achieving those goals creates strain
Strain results in various non-legitimate ways of circumventing blocked opportuni
ty
MERTON: OPPORTUNITY STRUCTURES
Durkheims anomie theory emphasized social cohesion and the social restraints pre
vented crime
Thus for Merton, anomie was shifted from normlessness to RELATIVE DEPRIVATION
-The greater the gap between aspirations and expectations, the higher th
e probablity of deviance
Emphasis on structure (distribution of opportunity) and Culture (emphasis on pur
suit of wealth)
RELATIVE DEPRIVATION
Conditions that exists when people of wealth and poverty live in close proximity
to one another
Feelings of anger and hostility may produce criminal behaviour
5 TYPES OF RESPONSE TO STRAIN OF BLOCKED OPPORTUNITY
Conformity
-non-deviant response
Innovation
-Acceptance of shared goals but not of legit means to achieve thems
Ritualism
-Means are accepted and goals are rejected or altered (goal de-escalatio
n)
Retreatism
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