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Lecture 6

SOC 222- week 6-9.docx

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SOC 222
Allison Chenier

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Chapter 6 and 10: Theories Saturday, March 2, 2013 4:44 PM Chapter 6: Lower-Class-Based Theories  Subcultural Lower-Class Theory o Two theoretical Perspectives  Strain Theories  Delinquency is the result of the frustrations suffered by the lower class who are deprived of legitimate means to achieve their goals  Subculture (Cultural Deviance Theories)  Learn criminal values and behaviour conforming to group standards which leads to breaking the laws of the dominant culture  7.1: Sub cultural Lower-Class Theory o Primary Assumptions  Most delinquent behaviour occurs in groups  Predominantly a lower-class male phenomenon o Theoretical Assumptions  Belonging to a group is a way of coping  Delinquent involves primarily lower-class boys from working class families  Boy's poor performance in school is related to delinquency  Poor school performance is due to cultural conflict between the middle-class and lower- class values  "The delinquent subculture is the explicitly and wholesale repudiation of middle-class standards and the adoption of their very antithesis" o Middle Class Measuring Rod  Dominant Class Values (the rod)  Ambition is a virtue  Ethics of individual responsibility  High evaluation of the cultivation and possession of skills  Delayed gratification  Rationality and planning  Cultivation of manners, courtesy, personality  Control of physical aggression and violence  Wholesome recreation  Respect for property  Why is there so much crime among lower-class youth??  Middle class measuring rod  Lower-class youth are different in many ways from dominant  Status frustration  Reaction formation  The Process of Status Frustration  Lower class socialization-> middle-class measuring rod-> school failure-> status frustration-> reaction formation-> delinquency and delinquent subculture o Ideal Delinquent Subculture  Malicious  Group autonomy  Negativistic  Non-utilitarian delinquency  Short run hedonism o Cohen argues that other factors can condition the response to status frustration:  Conditions at home  Individual's personality  Characteristics of the neighbourhood o Adapting to Status Frustration  College bou  Corner boy  Delinquent boy o Research Support  Lower class youth tend not to do as well in school compared to others (support)  School performance is related to delinquency (support)  Conflict between lower-class and middle-class values (partial support)  Delinquency occurs in a group context (partial support)  7.2 Differential Opportunity Theory o Two basic assumptions  Blocked economic aspirations lead to a low self-concept and frustrations  Frustrations lead to delinquency that vary by the structure of the conventional and criminal value systems in that particular neighbourhood o Differential Opportunity Theory is a combination of Merton's anomie theory and Sutherland's differential association theory o They use the following components Enphasis on cultural goals   Access to legitimate means are socially structured  Focus on the discrepancy between what is wanted and what is available  Cloward and Ohlin differ in that they show how illegitimate means are differentially distributed in society  Cloward and Ohlin believe that lower-class delinquents remain goal oriented  Focus on the process by which certain values and skills are learned through interaction with other in a primary group  Illegitimate opportunity involves learning and expressing the beliefs necessary for subcultural support  Occurs due to frustration created by not having access to legitimate means for economic success Differential Opportunity Theory **LOOK ON SLIDE o Features of Delinquent Subculture  Subcultural support of delinquent acts results in greater frequency of these acts  Youth participation in delinquent subculture can provide access to adult criminal career  Provides for a high degree of stability and resistance to control or change o Support for differential opportunity  Blocked economic aspirations affect attitudes and cause frustration (little support)  Lower-class gangs specialize by type of neighbourhood (partial support) o Differential opportunity theory provides a good explanation for the content of gang delinquency, but it doesnt explain how delinquency starts in the first place  7.3: Miller's Lower-Class Culture o Key points:  Juvenile delinquency is predominantly male and lower-class  Delinquency occurs because of the existence of a unified lower-class culture with its own distinct value system  Miller sees delinquency as a reflection of a lower-class culture  Lower-class values are important for the survival of the lower-class males  Crime is motivated by the attempt to achieve valued goals o Theoretical Assumptions  Lower-class focal concerns exist  Focal concerns are the values that people focus on most living in this culture  Male adolescent groups (gangs) form in response to female- headed households and the lack of male role models o Focal Concerns  Trouble  Respect gained by being involved in and coping with conflict  Lawful versus illegal behaviour  Toughness  Hyper-masculine value of being able to withstand physical and emotional suffering and having a high capacity for violence  Smartness  Not formal education, but "street wise" ability to gain personal advantage (conning and crime savvy) Excitement   A high value placed on the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures through partying, the use of psychoactive substances and sexual conquest  Fate  A belief is an external locus of control results in committing and participating in high risk behaviours  Autonomy  The need to be free from external constraints and the dominant cultural values, rules, and regulations o The corner gang replaces these missing functions from the family  Belonging or adherence to the rules of the gang  Status is derived from achieving the focal concerns as they are defined within the cultural framework of the lower-class culture o Research Support  A distinct set of values exist for the economically disadvantaged in society (support)  7.4 Radical Theory: Explanations for Delinquency o Four primary Theoretical Assumptions  Most behaviour results from a class struggle over the modes of production  Capitalist economic system creates the class divisions  Proletariat are controlled by the bourgeoisie (economically, legally)  Most crime is committed by the lower-class due to the restraints placed upon them o Karl Marx: Marxism  Core of theory is class struggle and the conflict that results  Oppressions (bourgeoisie) and the oppressed (proletariats)  False consciousness (replaced by class consciousness)  Crisis of legitimacy o The Concept of Surplus Labour  Goods exceed wages in value-> profit-> Capitalist keeps profit-> profits buy machines that replace workers-> workers make less and buy less-> economic crisis o Marx's Views on Crime  Lumpenproletariat  Forsake their class position  Third-class society  Connection between criminality and inequality  Law overlooks economically beneficial behaviour  Crime  Product of an unjust, alienating, and demoralizing social condition created by opression o William Chambliss: Neo-Marxist  Legal norms reflect interest groups  Relationship between crime  Nature of criminal law  Consequences of crime for society  Causes of criminal behaviour o Richard Quinney: Neo-Marxist  Crime is a function of power relations and an inevitable result of conflict Criminal law is merely an instrument to perpetuate the current social and economic  order  Assumptions:  Crime is what those in power choose to define it as  Population segments with little power are more likely to see their behaviours legislated as crimes  Two broad categories of crime:  Crimes of domination and repression  Crimes of accommodation and resistance o Radical theories discuss two issues:  How capitalism is related to delinquency  How capitalist interests are met by identifying and legally controlling certain individuals and groups in society o Research Support??  Doesnt explain why middle- and upper-class youth also break the law  Most youth arent necessarily worried about their economic and workplace status  Doesnt consider the influence of other factors (e.g. School, family)  Limited connection between capitalism and institutional or demographic conditions o George Vold: Conflict Theory  Normative conflicts include conflicts of interest  Conflict assures social change, group solidarity, and social stability  Cause of crime is the law  Focus is on the processes of value conflict and law making, not the social structural elements underlying them  Laws are created by politically oriented groups to protect their own interests o Left Idealism  Radical theories  Eradicate capitalism  Overthrow the system to reduce crime o Left Realism  Reality of crime  Disenfranchised are both perpetrators and victims of crime  Implement community initiatives to inhibit crime o Conflict theory  Improve social programs to reduce class-based gap and reduce crime 8.1 : Social Control Theories  Four underlying Assumptions for Social Control Theories o Individuals need to be controlled o Delinquency is to be expected because of the pressures associated o Reason for delinquency is the lack of a control mechanism o Society agrees upon the conventional norms and values  Why do people actually obey the law instead of committing crimes?? o Other theories we have been covering have looked at why people commit crimes Walter C. Reckless: Containment Theory  Criminality is catching an illness o Criminality is caused by pressures to get involved in crime and an absence of ones to resist it  Key concepts o Self concept (image or value) of being a good person o Pushes and pulls are going to produce delinquent behaviour  Social Control Mechanisms o External (outer) containment; youth will have a sense of belonging  Preserved rewards for committing the crimes o Internal (inner) containment; individuals ability to follow norms in the society  Family problems, psychological problems  If effective, external and internal containments are a stabilizing force blocking pushes and pulls that can lead to delinquency o According to Reckless, inner containments is more important than external containment to control delinquency because it reflects the self-concept  Issues with the Containment Theory o Delinquent youth can actually have a higher personal self-concept than non-delinquents  Maybe because they have less to lose?? Howard B. Kaplan: Self-Derogation Theory  Self Derogation Theory o Ridicule (by peers) decreases self-esteem leading to a loss of motivation to conform to societal values and norms o Variation of containment theory; delinquency can raise self esteem for some delinquents  Theoretical modification o Oyserman and Markus (1990) adapt Merton's anomie theory Travis Hirschi: Social Bond Theory  Underlying Assumptions o The bond to society plays a larger role in delinquent behaviour than personality characteristics o Adopts the viewpoint of Hobbes  He asks the question; "why dont people violate the rules more often then they do??"  Cause of Delinquency o A weak or broken social bond to society can lead an individual to engage in deviant and criminal behaviour  Comparison to Differential Association Theory o Hirschi focuses on the variations in the process of socialization  Some people are not as bonded to society as others o Sutherland focuses on variation in the content of socialization  Learning more definitions that are favourable towards the law  Empirical Support o Hirschi's social control theory has more empirical support than any other theory of crime and delinquency  Elements of Social Bond to Society o Conforming Behaviour  Attachment (family, friends)  Primary element  Commitment (family, career, goals)  The rational element; the more commitment the more requirement to comform  Involvement (school activities, clubs)  The amount of time spent with others  Belief (honest
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