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Lecture

SOC*2700 Lecture Week 8.doc

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 2700
Professor
C Yule
Semester
Winter

Description
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 Overview - finish discussion of Control theories - Review Quiz 4 - Assumptions of the labeling perspective - Early social reaction theories - Labeling theory - Empirical examples Self-Control Theory Cont’d - analogous behaviours and crime are not causally related, instead both are caused by low self-control Major causes of low self-control: - Family socialization - lack of nurturance/attachment, lack of supervision, inability to recognize and correct bad behaviour, parental low self-control, family size - inadequate, ineffective and inconsistent family socialization - Socialization at school? Characteristics of Self-Control - Grasmick et al (1993) self-control scale: - has 6 elements/characteristics: 1. Impulsivity - I often act on the spur of the moment without stopping to think 2. Simple Tasks - I frequently try to avoid projects that I know will be difficult 3. Risk-seeking - I like to test myself every now and then by doing something a little risky 4. Physical Activity - I almost always feel better when I am on the move than when I am sitting and thinking 5. Self-centeredness - I try to look out for myself first, even if it means making things dif- ficult for other people 6. Temper - I lose my temper pretty easily - there 4 questions for each of these components that scholars use when trying to mea- sure self-control Social Bond vs. Self-Control Theory Social Bond Self Control - people’s involvement in - criminal is set in child- crime can ebb and flow hood (relatively stable over (experiences beyond child- life because your level of hood can affect a person’s self-control is stable) attachment to society) - locates control in a per- - control is internal to the son’s relation to society individual (how connected people are) Criticisms of Control Theories - is motivation really irrelevant? - ignores crime in groups - ignores differences between serious and minor delinquency - ignores situational/structural factors e.g. strains like homelessness - causal ordering? Do weak social bonds cause people to be involved in crime or is it plausible that you engage in crime and that weakens the social bonds? Social & Criminal Justice Implications - need action early in childhood (i.e. child rearing practices). Later reactions are useless. This therefore means involvement in child rearing practices - identify weak families that have trouble supervising and disciplining their chil- dren and thereby strengthen the family and improve the quality of family child- reading practices - target single parent families - make school the site of socialization - community programs - Big Brother/Big Sister - YMCA/YWCA - Boy Scouts/Girl Guides - identify chronic offenders and use selective incapacitation (since self-control is set ear- ly in life, must identify those who do not “grow out of criminality”) Social Reaction (Labeling) Theories Midterm - she will mark all of the long answer - she will give us 6 possible questions before, 2 will be on the midterm and you pick one - focus on the similarities and the differences between the theories Angels with Dirty Faces - 1938 American gangster film - Rocky and Jerry are childhood friends who get into mischief Explain the life trajectories of Rocky & Jerry from the point of view of a labeling theorist - Jerry got away and Rocky didn’t, Rocky took the fall - they made a criminal out of him, he’s not a bad person, he just got caught” - if Jerry had been caught, the tables would have been turned Choose one other criminological perspective to explain why Rocky turns to a life of crime while Jerry remains committed to a law-abiding life. Labeling Theories - focus on social and institutional response to the individuals Assumptions: - Human Nature: largely passive, forced into the role of a “criminal” - it’s not that people inevitably internalize a negative label - not entirely passive but are largely passive - influenced by how others think about us but our behaviour isn’t entirely determined by that - Nature of Society: conflict-based approach, lacking consensus - social norms and crime and deviance are socially constructed - important principle is that the law is differentially applied to different groups in society - law is used to benefit those that hold economic and social power - Nature of Crime: nothing inherently or objectively harmful about the acts we define as criminal - crimes are simply acts that we designate as crime - deviance and crime are in the eye of the beholder - the labeling perspective addresses an important gap - it looks on the social reaction to crime - by reacting to crime we are increasing it Thursday, March 7, 2013 Social Reaction (Labeling) Theories Cont’d Seeds of Labeling Theory Charles Horton Cooley - The “looking Glass Self” Edwin Lemert - Primary Deviation - initial act, doesn’t get labelled as a deviant - Secondary Deviation - rarely initiated by a single act - dynamic process between the individual engaging in crime and the societal reaction to deviation - secondary deviation is likely to result in labeling - label has become the primary identifier - the deviant event has to come to the attention of somebody - resocialization into a deviant role - deviance amplification effect - people feel isolated from mainstream society which locks them into a more deviant role, they may seek out people who have also been la- belled * main idea of labeling theory: deviance is a process in which somebody’s identity is transformed - efforts to control offenders actually make things worse, even treatment does this Howard S. Becker “Outsiders” Conforming Behaviour Norm-Violating Behav- iour Perceived as Deviant Falsely Accused (identified Pure Deviant (engage in as deviants or criminals crime and get labelled and even though they are not) caught) Not Perceived as Deviant Conformist (abide by the Secret Deviant (have com- law and are seen that way) mitted acts of deviance but it has gone undetected) - Becker prefers the term of interactionist theory because it is the interaction between the person who engages in deviance and those who respond to it - labeling theories aren’t looking at the deviant act itself - why are some people/groups of people labelled as deviant and others aren’t - why are some actions labelled and others aren’t - what criminologists should study was not the actual act of offending, focus on the act of identifying or labeling the crime - social groups create deviance by making the rule whose infraction constitutes de- viance and by applying the rules to particular people and making them outsiders - nothing inherent in the actual behaviour - Conformists and Pure Deviant both accurately perceive
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