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CRIM 300W (51)
Jay H (14)
Lecture

Week 8 Lecture - Social Structures

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Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 300W
Professor
Jay H
Semester
Fall

Description
WEEK 8 - SOCIAL STRUCTURE Introduction  Emphasizes differences among groups  Disregard any biological or psychological variation between individuals  Assume crime i caused by way society is structurally organized  Wide variation in social structure theories explain crime o Differences in  Education  Economic status  Cultural norms  Breakdown of neighbourhood  Commonality – certain groups of people are more likely to break law  Macro (v. micro) level analysis o Sociological explanations  Commonly used to explain cultural or ethnic differences in crime  Why lower class persona are more criminal than higher classes Early Theories  Backdrop of theories  Industrial revolution o Quick transition from agriculture based economies  Industrial based economies o Rapid industrialization o Migration from rural areas to urban area  Result – massive increase in social problems o Cleanliness of cities o Waste removal o Increase in crime o Rapid influx, no time for the different cultures/ethnics to get to know each other  Quetlet – pivotal to criminology o Certain types of individuals were more likely to commit crime  Young  Male  Poor  Uneducated  Unemployed 1 o This trend applies to all cultures/ethnics o Greater gaps in economic conditions = more crime  Relative deprivation  If everyone has the same things, same economic status = less chance for crime o Areas with rapidly changing economic conditions  More likely to be crime ridden  Ex) Great Depression & Economic Boom  Have money = access to things you normally don’t have, lose social bonds o Discovered the age crime curve  One of the most robust criminological facts (still to this day)  Regardless of social structure  Combination of biological and sociological factors  More towards biological Durkheim and Anomie  Durkheim’s Continuum of Development from Mechanical to Organize Societies Mechanical Societies (Industrialization) Organic Societies  Mechanical Societies o All members perform the same tasks  Hunting (males)  Gathering (females) o Little division of labour o Everyone basically experiences the same daily routine  conformity of values o Constant uniform interaction  Leads to uniformity of values  “Collective Conscience”  Degree to which people think alike  Creates “mechanically solidarity”  Very strong collective conscience  Laws function to enforce conformity of the group o Societies have tendency to progress and become more organic  Organic societies  Division of labour is highly specialized 2  University professors  Garbage collectors  Extremely specific roles  Massive cultural and norm difference between groups o Therefore “collective conscience” is weak  Little agreement on morals and norms o Laws function to regulate behavior o “Mechanical solidarity” and bonds break down Crime  Normal and necessary  “Structural functionalism” o All behaviors (especially crime) serve several functions  Defines moral boundaries  Identifies rule-breakers (ie. offenders), creates bond amongst non-rule breakers  Crime causes people to bond together o Human nature to group together  Find a common enemy  Similar to the US, identify a problem and bond together to settle it (ie. control over the Middle East) o Societies without crime will change rules to have criminals  Trivial infractions  Violation of norms  People are innately selfish  Societies in rapid change o War social, movements, economic highs/lows o Societies normal regulatory mechanisms fail o Selfish tendencies uncontrolled  Anomie – “normlessness” Strain Theories  Main theoretical concept o Strain/frustration o Leads to stress/anger o Main factor in development of criminality  Specifically – crime is a result of copying or not coping with frustration in acceptable fashion 3 Merton (1938)  Strain Theory o One of the most influential criminology o Adapted Durkheim’s concept – US o Anomie  Focus on wealth and gaols of American culture  Notable difference between Durkheim and Merton o American Dream  Socialized goal – material wealth  Socialized means – hard work
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