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Lecture 3

SOC 1500 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Five Techniques, Volstead Act, Loan Shark


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 1500
Professor
Michelle Dumas
Lecture
3

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LECTURE 3: Sociological Explanations (Objectivist)
SOCIAL STRUCTURAL THEORIES OF CRIME:
Chicago school (based on human ecology model and is inspired by plants and
environments, the way things grow naturally and applying it to humans)
oSome species can become incompatible to one another and some life
forms suffer as another plant life takes over
oChanges in one part affects changes in another (invasion and dominance)
oPlants compete for scarce resources
oLook at the way people move in/out of city and look at growth patterns
oCharacterize people in Chicago as concentric zones (like a bulls eye)
oHumans want the best land
oZone 1 – most expensive because at center of city, banks, stores, city hall)
oZone 2 – transitional zone (next to business core, always in transition,
owners assume they will be bought by businesses, rent is cheap, poverty,
nickname of the inner city, ethnic ties like China Town)
oZone 3 – working class/residential zone (inexpensive family dwellings,
working class, those migrating out of zone 2, ethnic and religious ties like
Little Italy)
oZone 4 – residential, middle class area (more expensive, small business
offices, better lighting than zone 3)
oZone 5 – commuter zone (most affluent, commutes into city to work,
suburbia, bigger properties and houses)
SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION:
Shaw and McKay
Highest rates of crime were in zone 2 (social controls were weakened/severed
which caused more illegal conduct, new immigrants, no connections,
disorganization)
Move out less crime (none in commuter zones)
POLICIES:
Policing – send more police into zone 2
Provide communities in zone 2 to encourage more social organization
Better connected, to have a stake in the community (improve schools and
education and improve quality of life – build recreations services, provide better
ties)
Criticism
oMiddle class bias (assume middle class is better or that they are
disorganized when in fact they are not because it appears that way from
the outside but isn’t from the inside, assumes no class exists there is no
crime in the outside)
oDiscriminatory (crime rates will increase in the area where there are more
police)

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FUNCTIONALISM:
Consensus theory
What causes deviance/crime
No society is crime free
There is a purpose for crime
oManifest function (those intended, certain behavior against the law such as
stealing, society punishes criminals so society knows it is wrong)
oLatent function (unintended, informally, send people to prison and they
learn from other criminals)
FUNCTIONS OF CRIME:
1. Group solidarity (crime integrates members of society, community standards
are violated and the outrage brings people together, common indignation,
promotes social solidarity) (child murders – community will come together)
2. Boundary setting (borders for acceptable and unacceptable behavior but this
isn’t always clear, when numerous people see behavior is wrong it clarifies the
boundary)
3. Reinforce conformity (conformity is rewarded, when people do good things
they are rewarded, know how to behave because we see others get rewarded for
being good and others are punished for being bad, image of what’s saintly)
4. Innovation (flexibility and change, breaking the law promotes progress, end
war)
EMILE DURKHEIM:
Study on suicide (shows its not just individual)
Suicide rates vary from country to country (linked it to religion)
Catholic countries of Italy, Spain had lower rates than Protestant England and
Germany
Not individual decision to engage in suicide but has a social component
Probably higher in protestant countries (less problematic)
Catholics fear purgatory
ANOMIE – explain suicide and crime
oDefinition: when social norms and values are unclear or confusing
oPeople placed in conditions where they don’t know how to behave (state
of normlessness – don’t now the expected norms of behaving)
oMore people moving into the city, don’t know how to live there
Social solidarity – glue holds society together
oMechanical solidarity – households that are more agricultural (sameness
and shared conditions binding people together, small scale societies, group
is higher than individual, violate rules and you put group at risk for
survival thus punishment is severe)
oOrganic solidarity – urban households (differences amongst people that
compliment and complete/compete, difference of labor, penalty is not as
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great because risk of survival is less, more anomie where people don’t
know how to behave suck as when there’s lots of change or high
unemployment)
STRAIN THEORY/ANOMIE (MERTON 1968):
Two concepts
oCultural goals (society sets it, material wealth and possession, the
American dream, through institutionalized means like through education
and work, based on merit, rich deserve it, poor don’t work hard
enough, ignores that some people have advantages that others don’t)
oMeans (how you expect to achieve the goals)
Adaptation Goals Means
Conformity + +
Innovation + -
Ritualism - +
Retreatism - -
Rebellion +/- +/-
oConformity – accept goals and means, non-criminal, through fair ways
oInnovative – person who accepts cultural goals but rejects means or the
means are blocked, find criminal ways to achieve those goals
oRitualism – goes through motions of work but not necessarily same goals
oRetreats – reject the goals and the means and are retreating from society
(drug addicts)
oRebellion – you can either object or accept the means and goals, they are
radical and want to change the system in a way, could be good like Martin
Luther King or bad like terrorists
Problems
oCrime (how do you explain non-street crime because people have access
to legitimate means, assuming upper class don’t commit crime)
oGender (female opportunity is blocked so working hard doesn’t mean you
can always reach your goal)
oConsensus (only goal is to become wealthy however this is not everyone’s
goal)
oStatistics (crime funnel, police involved more with street crime than white
collar crime, some groups more likely to come in contact with they system
than others)
oAssumption (lower class are miserable and have to commit crime, but this
is just an assumption, doesn’t explain crime committed for fun like
drinking underage or doing drugs)
STATUS FRUSTRATION (ALBERT COHEN 1955):
Focus on male delinquency
Status frustration
In USA people are encouraged to aspire high but tis difficult to be successful
In school you must go till a certain age, there is competition for high statues
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