SOC209H5 Lecture Notes - Social Disorganization Theory, Human Ecology, Mechanical And Organic Solidarity

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11 Apr 2013
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Chapter Seven: The Social Disorganization Perspective
Pathology can exist at a social level characteristic of Social
Disorganization perspective
Social conditions influenced people’s behaviors. Sociological
Positivism emerged when thinkers from various backgrounds
[philosophy, theology] began to look for regularities in social life.
Religion was another motivating factor-those who were well off were
advised by their religious leaders to think about spirituality and morals.
Emile Durkheim & Sociological Positivism
Founders of sociology saw societies as organisms that could
adapt to their environments and evolve over time
Social facts are explained by social facts and rejected
sociological explanations that were biological or psychological
Deviance is natural to the social organism or it is the pathology of
that organism
He said deviance is actually natural and helps society to function
Early societies did same kind of work and shared similar
experiences. So, if one broke any rule, it would offend all
members and the punishment would be approved by all
members- they shared a common ‘conscience’ Mechanical
Solidarity [sameness, common values]
Mechanical is now transformed into Organic Solidarity
[difference, interdependence & few common values] - complex
division of labor; diminishment of common conscience; police,
bartenders, bankers etc. all have different consciousness on moral
issues that very few issues would offend all groups equally or
compel them to respond similarly.
Less moral outrage in organic solidarity; Too much freedom so
less control
He said this rapid social change and inconsistencies could
weaken society’s level of integration, regulation and allow
socially harmful pathological forms of deviance
Social change in his time created a society characterized by
Anomie & Egoism. Anomie- lack of integration in the group;
people don’t have firm moral values that are needed to hold them
in society & Egoism- lack of regulation in group; lives that are
not supervised/regulated
These two lead to high suicide, mental illness and crime
Emergence of Chicago School
Haymarket Riot of 1886- bomb that killed 7 cops and police
responding by releasing fire on the crowd
Chicago School created over night
Chicago Area Project [CAP]- to bring organization to
disorganized areas
Social Disorganization Theory
Rapid social change led to a breakdown of common values and
regulation in certain parts of society, allowing anomic forms of
deviance like mental illness and suicide to emerge
Kinds of change associated with SD:
1. Urbanization-movement from simple rural social order to a
complex crowded urban order
2. Migration- movement of people from close-knit,
homogenous rural society to anonymous, heterogeneous
urban area
3. Immigration- movement of people from diverse
backgrounds into America’s melting pot
4. Industrialization- transformation of employment patterns
and development of industrial working classes
5. Technological Change- change that outstrips adaptation
Disorganization included anything that seemed deviant or
pathological when compared to ‘simple, rural life’
There was an importance of primary relations [informal, face-
to-face, personal interaction] & secondary relations [formal,
direct, less personal]. Rural areas had more primary relations and
the thought was if someone had more personal meaningful
relationships, they wouldn’t indulge in deviant behavior. Urban
areas, due to anonymity + isolation, there are more secondary
Human Ecology
Study of spatial and temporal relations among people and how
they are affected by social and economic competition for space
and resources. People from different ethnic groups are seen as
‘users’ of social space and as ‘species’ trying to achieve
individual or group survival
Also called ‘human ecology theory of urban dynamics’
Nine important concepts:
oInvasion - when a new group is introduced into a territory;
Gentrification- when upper middle socio-eco classes buy
properties in inner-city residential areas and transform them
into areas that poor people can’t afford
oSegregation - separation of species where each is
concentrated in some areas and absent in some. Ethnic
groups are voluntarily or involuntarily separated.
oNatural Areas- product of unplanned processes that have
size and character of a completely separate town
oConflict- competition between groups over use of territory;
happens when new group comes in and invades territory.
For ex: gang warfare
oDominance- strength of one group over another. They
exercise some control through influence of conditions of
oAccommodation- species adjust to their environment; they
achieve a non-conflictual adjustment; weaker groups