SOC 101 Lecture Notes - Richard Cloward, Lloyd Ohlin, Autopsy

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
Bishop's University
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 101
Crime, Law and Regulation
March-04-11
5:20 PM
Criminology: the study of causation, crime prevention, and the punishment and rehabilitation of
offenders
o Also the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomena
Those who adopt a sociological approach tend to focus on the societal context within which criminal
law is created and applied
Crime and Deviance
Crime: behaviours and actions that require social control and social intervention, codified in law
Deviance: actions that violate social norms, and that may or may not be against the law
o Difficulty is how are social norms defined?
Most crimes are understood as deviant, but not all deviant acts are considered criminal
Perceptions of deviance can change
Social deviance: any acts that involve the violation of social norms
o Not the act itself but peoples' reactions that make it deviant
o Moral entrepreneurs: a person or institution that tales action in an attempt to influence or
change the development or enforcement of society's moral code
o People who act in ways that are socially deviant are subject to social controls
o Informal social control occurs through interactions among individuals; includes ways in which
we try to communicate and enforce standards of appropriate behaviour
o Formal control is exerted by the government through the criminal justice system, social
workers and psychiatrists
Classical Criminology: Rational Choice Theory
Scientific approach to criminology relatively recent
To balance crime with punishment, approaches to law making and punishment were overhauled.
o Approach based on utilitarianism, held that behaviour was not the force of supernatural
powers but was purposeful
o Beccaria and Bentham argued that if crime results in a form of pleasure for the criminal, pain
must be used to prevent the crime
Classical criminology was developed on the basis of
o People have free will to choose criminal or lawful solutions, and thus crime is a rational choice
o Criminal solutions are seen as more attractive then lawful ones if they require less work for
greater payoff.
o The fear of punishment can control people's choices
o When criminality is met with measured severity, certainty of punishment, and swiftness of
justice, a society is better able to control criminal behaviour
Biological Perspectives
Classical conception of crime later identified as positivism: the application of the scientific method
to the social world
Focused on the individual, assumed that once we could distinguish features between criminals and
non criminals, it would be possible to prevent, control and eliminate criminal behaviour
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View came to be known as biological determinism: the hypothesis that biological factors completely
determine a person's behaviour
Argued that classical school of thought's failure to locate crime was resulting in increased crime rate
Ceasare Lombroso
o Italian psychiatrist, major proponent of new approach
o Performed post mortem on a criminal and found that he shared skeletal characteristics
associated with animals
o Argued that some people are born to be criminal because of congenital factors
o Criminal man could be distinguished by anomalies in hair and facial features
Association of particular characteristics with criminality continued with William Sheldon in the 1940s
o Argued that there are three basic body types
o Mesomorphs are extroverted, aggressive and muscular
o Ectomorphs are thin, fret a lot and are introverted
o Endomorphs are laid back, extroverted and soft and limp
o Argued most delinquent were likely to be mesomorphs
Biological theories fail to consider the influences of environmental factors, mostly disregarded by
contemporary criminologists
Biological theories now evaluating the association between violent behaviour and hormone levels
Reiss and Roth: female foetuses exposed to elevated androgen levels display high levels of
aggression throughout their lives while male foetuses exposed to steroids that decrease androgen
display decreased aggression
Foetal alcohol syndrome and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder associated with delinquent
behaviour
Sociological Approaches to Crime
March-04-11
6:08 PM
Functionalism
Argue that balancing tensions produces society
Roots in Emile Durkheim's notion of anomie
o Anomie: norms are confused, unclear of not present. State of normlessness leads to deviance
Strain theory: the assertion that people experience strain when culturally defined goals cannot be
met through socially approved means
o Developed by Robert Merton
o Argue that most people share similar goals and values, and when legitimate avenues to those
goals are inaccessible, some will resort to deviant methods
o Also asserted that while some people have inadequate means of attaining success, others
have the means to reject societal goals.
o Typology includes five social goals and the means of attaining them.
Conformity. Occurs when individuals both accept social goals and have the means to
achieve them
Innovation. Occurs when goals of society are accepted, but the individual is incapable of
achieving them through socially accepted ways. Most closely associated with criminal
behaviour
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Document Summary

Criminology: the study of causation, crime prevention, and the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders: also the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomena. Those who adopt a sociological approach tend to focus on the societal context within which criminal law is created and applied. Crime: behaviours and actions that require social control and social intervention, codified in law. Most crimes are understood as deviant, but not all deviant acts are considered criminal. Informal social control occurs through interactions among individuals; includes ways in which we try to communicate and enforce standards of appropriate behaviour: formal control is exerted by the government through the criminal justice system, social workers and psychiatrists. Classical conception of crime later identified as positivism: the application of the scientific method to the social world. Focused on the individual, assumed that once we could distinguish features between criminals and non criminals, it would be possible to prevent, control and eliminate criminal behaviour.