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SOC 2700 Lecture Notes - Theory-Theory, Labeling Theory, Broken Windows Theory

Course Code
SOC 2700
Scott Brandon

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September 13, 2011
Criminological Theory: What is it?
*theory defined
- sociological components
- factors and circumstances leading to outcomes
- a way of understanding how and why crime occurs
- theories – propositions
Goals: Explain and Predict
*most theories of crime do both
- if you don’t learn from the past, you’re doomed to repeat it
- theory is important to resist repeating history – explain and predict why
crime occurred
- past: beard/no beard; tattoos
- can theory be used to predict outcome of behaviour
- sociological components used to predict behaviour
- anime – American dream – work hard/go to school/get job = millionaire –
everyone has an equal chance in society – realization that this is a false
reality causes criminality
The Creation and Evaluation of Theory
*theories of crime either explain crime or attempt to predict crime
*evidence helps to verify a theory
- labeling theory – crime becomes part of your identity
- used to explain crime based on observations – gather data and make sense
of it
- if you possess a list of things you would like to prove (i.e. a list of what may
make someone likely to break the law – child abuse, mental illness, lack of
- what type of person is likely to be victimized by crime
- person likely to break the law, or to be victimized
- what houses are more likely to be targeted – visibility; security; type of
- if victim has personal property on them – easy to steal – purse; disabled;
- technological – easy to steal – ipod, cell, laptop, chargers
- time of crime – nighttime vs. daytime – sexual assault, intoxication
(circumstance), assault
- how can you test these components etc – can you get repeat observation?
Does Criminological Theory Have Use?
*it helps explain why crime occurs
*crime prevention may also be a result
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