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SOC305 Sept 19.doc

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Nicole Myers

SOC305 Sept 19 th Sociological Explanations of Crime Psychological approaches: Freud: - talks about 3 parts of self: id (instincts - subconscious),ego (keeps us at a level), superego (desire to fit in/acceptence –subconscious level). Crime occurs when these things are out of balance - id controls of our personality, its hedonistic. Id wants to ignore the law - superego: dominates because we want to fit in. works to keep ID in check. Desire to fit in, will lead people to offend - mental illness: o something that caused them to offend  ex Fetal alcohol syndrome o predicts charges o 60% of these people who have FAS are charged (over 12) o the other 40%? Haven’t been charged · Life course persistent vs. adolescent limited: o split adolescent into 2 groups: § young offenders and continue to offend (life time persistent offenders) § most young people commit a criminal offense in their life – as they grow up their offending behavior will end (adolescent limited). This is called the aging out of crime. Issues with psychological theories: · psychology’s attempt to say who is the criminal? Who is a psychopath? What are indicators of these disorders? · they define bad behavior or criminality. These discussions might be just circular (you kill people because you’re a psychopath). · Bell curve: debate looked at eugenics and brace. Looked at IQ tests and said people who scored lowered would be more criminal. Difficulty was that questions were culturally biased. What is intelligence? What do you have to know to be intelligent? So IQ tests cannot capture that Summary of Last week: · Anyone can be a potential criminal (classical) · othering: talking of offenders as “thugs” making offenders different and unlike us. Or criminals looking different · minimize importance of the “social”: taking criminal out of context Durkheim: · How does society maintain order?: the social can create conformity · durkheim looked at society not just individual, he was looking at how society maintains order. How was order maintained in times of change? Like through industrial revolution. · mechanical solidarity: more primitive societies (less developed) these communities had very little division of labor. · organic solidarity: more complex societies (modern societies), we have a division of labor, people specialize in particular areas. · he believed that once we are developed there will be order. However there will be a time of ANOMIE (normlessness) meaning people don’t know what to do and how to behave. This is where he saw the role of punishment. Punishment was used around “expected behavior” · he saw crime as being normal and necessary – as crime helped maintain the health of the society o boundary setting: what lines cannot be crossed o group solidarity: group against a criminal (collective belief system) o adaptation or innovation: attitudes towards crime over time. crime was helping us progress. Crime allows society to change its rules over time o tension reduction: help reduce tension in society by putting center attention on the criminal · Durkheim was using imperical knowledge to move the society forward. We need to understand crime and punishment to understand social change Social Disorganization Theory: · social ecology of crime: looking at place as a cause of crime not the individual · this theory tries to understand why some communities have higher crime rate than other communities. So its not people that are defective but the social institutions (cities) have failed · these theories came out as population moved from rural to urban areas · Mckay and Shaw: Concentric Zone Theory: mapped the crimes and found that crime dispersed and reduced as they moved out of the inner cities. So they argued that people aren’t defected but it’s the surroundings · Concentric Zone model: o inner city (central business district): nobody wants to live here o transitional zone: buildings are old but people are contantly moving in and out. When people can afford not to live here they leave (new immigrants may first live here) o working class zone: population is more stable, buildings are in better condition o residential zone: better housing and middle class zone o commuter zone: suburbs 3 factors that create natural conditions for social disorganization · transitional population · racial heterogenity: diversity is good but people wont come together so people socially isolate themselves · poverty: people are focused on their survival, but poverty leads to disorder but is not a the cause of crime. Although it leads to disorganization and that eventually leads to crime. Learning theories: · Criminal behavior is learned Differential Association theory: · Principles of criminology: Sutherland o Criminal behavior is learned o through interaction with other people o main part of the learning of criminal beha
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