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SOC*2700 Lecture Week 9.doc

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SOC 2700
C Yule

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Social Reaction (Labeling) Theories Cont’d Reintegrative Shaming (Braithwaite) - two types of shame: 1. Disintegrative or Stigmatic Shaming: - a reaction that serves to weaken or disintegrate the moral bonds between the offender and the community - the goal is to set offenders apart from the rest of society, label them as outcasts - shunning the offender for good - creates a class of outcasts - conveys the offender is expected to commit more crime - e.g. criminal records follow you for your whole life, offender registries, prison, going through the court system 2. Reintegrative Shaming - strengthens the moral bonds between the offender & the community - condemn crime, not the criminal - provide offenders with the opportunity to re-join their community as law-abiding citi- zens - societal rituals, ceremonies or gestures of forgiveness - e.g. aboriginals have healing circles Criticisms of Labeling Theory 1. Overemphasis on importance of the label - ignores characteristics of the person, not focusing on the actual behaviour, some people get away with crime for years before they are caught 2. Whose reactions matter? 3. What reaction counts? What pushes people from primary to secondary deviance? 4. Difficult to test - hard to conceptualize what a deviant label means 5. Difficult to falsify Conflict Theories - pay attention to Donald Black in the textbook Overview - key insights from the conflict perspective - Marx’s ideas about crime - Reiman - the Rich Get Richer & the Poor Get Prison - Canadian examples: Ontario Safe Streets Act, Aboriginal Canadians and the Justice System Key Insights - see law and regulations as weapons used by one group - see deviance and crime as weapons used by another group - focus on how law operates as a weapon of social control - law is used to protect the interests of the ruling class - not interested in the criminal act itself, more interested in the response Conflict Theory & Crime 1. Rules are made by the powerful to regulate the conduct of the powerless 2. Rules preserve the preferred way of life for the powerful even when it is harmful to others, or forces them into criminal roles 3. People who break the rules do so either out of need or in protest against a system that oppresses them 4. Power is the most important explanatory variable 5. Crime is neither normal, nor inevitable 6. The source of crime resides in the unequal relationships between people Karl Marx - economic base of society shapes all social arrangements - division of labour: bourgeoisie and proletariat - leads to alienation of workers & unequal distribution of property and power - law, as a form of social control, has been used to contain class struggle and maintain class divisions Why Should We Read Marx? - Go to criminal court: who are the defendants?, who are the judges, who are the lawyers? - Go to a civil court, go to a small claims court... - What are the patterns? Marx on Crime - Instrumental Marxism - definitions of crime are made by the state in the interests of the propertied class - Structural Marxism - the state preserves itself by protecting the capitalist system but not necessarily by protecting all capitalists Capital Dictates Law - William Chambliss: “A sociological analysis of the law of vagrancy” - in 1274, there was a statute designed to provide religious houses with some financial relief from the burden of providing food and shelter to travelers - by 1349, the statute made it a crime to give alms to any people who were unemployed while being of sound mind and body - what caused this drastic change? - scarcity of cheap labour, black death - what was the intent of these vagrancy laws? - “the vagrancy laws were designed to al- leviate a condition defined by the lawmakers as undesirable” - conclusion: the importance of “vested interest” groups in the emergence/and or alter- cation of laws Marx & Imprisonment - Uggen, Manza, & Behrens. “Felon Voting Rights & the Disenfranchisement of African Americans Felon Disenfranchisement - felon disenfranchisement laws bar those convicted of felon-level crime, and in some cases former felons from the right to vote - more than 4.6 million people were disenfranchised in the US, representing approxi- mately 2.3% of the total voting age population - but nearly 7.5% of the African American voting age population is disenfranchised, con- sisting almost 2 million citizens in total - what are some of the larger implications of this law? Thursday, March 14, 2013 Conflict Theories Cont’d Portrait of a “Typical” Criminal What are the characteristics of a “typical” criminal 1. Male 2. Young 3. Member of a racial minority group 4. Urban 5. Poor - members of the lowest social and economic groups in society - this picture comes from the media and statistics What are the characteristics of a “typical” crime? - one-on-one harm (i.e. physical injury or loss of something valuable or both) Are there people in our society who pose a greater danger to you than the “typical” crime/criminal? - people who don’t look like a typical criminal - white-collar crime - people who have more power The Rich Get Richer and
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