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SOC307H5 Lecture Notes - Social Disorganization Theory, American Capitalist, Dysfunctional Family

Course Code
Reza Barmaki

of 5
July 27th
Chicago School - Social Disorganization Theory
The US in early 20th Century
-rapid expansion of American capitalist economy
-immigration and intended migration
-cultural and ethnic conflict
Facts of Life in Chicago
-youth gang
-adult organized crime
-ethnic conflict
-political corruption
-police corruption
New York, 1912
-European rural areas
-into cities
-clash of old and new values
-often poor
-ended up in ethnic slums
Chicago Slums, 1915
-concentrated in certain parts of cities
-problems with poverty and crime
-poverty is always a good inducement for crime
Chicago Race Riots, 1920s
-concern with race relation and ethnic integration
**How to reduce ethnic conflict, crimes in slums, youth crime**
Social Disorganization Theory
-institutions of social control absent of dysfunctional family, school, police, church..
-result presence of indicators of disorganization (crime and deviance)
-ethnic slums, slums in general:
o1. ethnic slums
rapid transition
rural to urban
disruption of protective institutions
loss of culture
culture clash and incompatibility of values
family instability
o2. general slums
poor and transistents (hobos, bums, unemployed)
indicators – cheap housing, bars, prostitutes, drugs…
Social Disorganization and Crime/Delinquency
-delinquency is not caused at individual level
-it is a normal response by normal individuals to abnormal conditions
-demands of environment – poverty, disrupted kinship networks, conflicting values
Social Disorganization Theory
-rejected biological explanation
-rejected eugenics
-both were very popular/respected
-proposed social reforms – better housing, education, tolerance
-when you put a lot of people in a small space, they will fight for resources and there
would be competition
Contemporary Slums
-crime and deviance
-socially disorganized
1. Concentric Zone Theory
-Park and Burgess
-cities are natural environments
-processes become intense as population rises
-ecological process operate
-competition for scarce resources
-people with similar resources concentrate in the same areas
-rich, mild, poor
-poor areas disorganized – poverty, crime, value conflicts, turnover of people
2. Gifford Shaw and Henry D MaKay
-delinquency is not caused at individual level
-normal responses by normal individuals to abnormal conditions
-disorganized areas show more delinquency because more poverty, distrupted kinship
networks, conflicting values
3. Acculturation Theory
-Isaac Thomas and Flonan Znarucki
-behaviour is shaped by:
odemands of environment
ocultural beliefs
-contradictory internalized motives and values
-demand conflicting lines of action from the individual
-may result in crime
Robert K. Merton (1903-2003)
Anomie Theory
-discrepancy between cultural goals and legitimate means of attaining them
-results in non-conformist forms of behaviour
Cultural Goals
-what are things we should want
-what action is worthy of pursuit
-given to everyone, rich and poor
-American Dream – monetary success
Legitimate Means
-socially approved means of achieving culturally prescribed goals
oex. education
-unequal access (class, race)
-accessible to privileged classes
Adaptation Type Adaptation Goal Adaptation of Means
Conformity + +
Innovation + -
Ritualism - +
Retreatism - -
Rebellion +/- +/-
-accept goals
-illegitimate means
-ex. Hells Angels
-accept goals
-accept means
-rejects goals
-accept means
-ex. teachers
-rejecting goals
-rejecting means
-goals/means rejected
-substituted by new goals/means
-ex. protesters
Subculture of Deviance
-culture: values/norms that guide behaviour and used to judge behaviour of others
-a distinctive culture within a culture
-its norms and values differ from the majority culture
Primary Fouls of Subculture Approach
-youth delinquency
-understanding delinquent subcultures will help prevent transition from youth crime to
habitual criminal