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Lecture

SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Johnny Depp, Cesare Lombroso, Labeling Theory


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Mc Kinon

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Lec 9
If do an unlawful discharge of a gun, u can be charged. However, court can throw out that case. When
you are object of assault, you do have right to defend yourself. But u can’t protect yourself vigorously.
Muggings and carjacking is zero now. U are allowed to carry a gun. It is important to know that more
guns on the street doesn’t mean more violence. In aggregative assault, damage is unprovoked. E.g first
degree murdered (carefully planned the crime). Secondary degree murdered u don’t plan out the
murder ahead of time. E.g. a lot of spousal murders are second degree. It is not pre mediated. Man
slaughter is a lesser degree crime that is where someone dies bcz of ur negligence. Sexual assault its
most violent form is rape. Less severe form is molestation (still a crime but not as serious as rape).
Biology to sociology
In sociology there are many theories of crime. No theory has yet been proposed which is convincing
enough to support widespread. Some pple subscribe to one some to the other. Dealing with crime is
complicated. That is because u got nature and nurture interacted.
Biological & Physical Theories
Some say criminality is inherited meaning u will find the cause of crime inside pple. It is assumed to be
part of genetic makeup. Cesare Lombroso - proposed this biological theory. Very few, if any, of his ideas
are accepted today. In 1911, he wrote the book called “crime and its remedies”. Sometimes pple use
bad seed to refer to inborn criminal behavior. Atavism is considered the cause of criminal deviance. This
is wht distinguishes humans from animals. Humans have highly developed morality. Humans are moral
creatures. Some criminal types are not fully evolved. Some criminals are atavistic type; meaning they
have not developed human morality or they lack these high moral characteristics. Lambroso claims that
criminal personality developed years ago in evolutionary history. Some have this criminal personality,
some don’t! This is pure nature. He says a criminal is DeGenerous or morally insane. Lambroso thinks he
is right bcz it is physically impossible to identify criminal. Criminal possess stigmata- “Receding hair line
& shifty eyes” are signs that cause suspicion. Stigma lacks empirical support. Limitation of Lambroso’s
research: He shud have compared a criminal sample with a non- criminal sample ( random). Sample of
criminal and sample of non criminal are called matched sample. Englishman Charles Goring wrote a
book called “The English convict in 1913 where he tested the hypothesis by checking this matched
sample. Empirical research can’t be identified with cesare lambroso. Key characteristic of sociopath and
psychopath is that they can’t empathize bcz they can’t take the role of others. Criminals can’t read
someone else emotions. These individual absolutely have no sense of remorse e.g. killing pple etc. They
can objectify their victim.
Can these sexual predators be cured of sadism? A psychiatrist said u can’t. You can watch them over but
you can’t cure them. William Sheldon classifies three body types: 1) endomorph someone who is non
athletic 2) Ectomorph tall thin, delicate & non athletic 3) Mesomorph muscular, edgile & athletic.
Eleanor Glueck (wife of Sheldon) they wrote a book together called “physique and Identify in 1956.
They compared 500 delinquents with non delinquents. They find high proportion of mesomorph in
delinquents and non delinquents. Two possible interpretation of blue X findings.
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1) Biological explanation - someone genetic makeup makes them the mesomorph; it comes from inside
pple. 2) A sociological interpretation - comes from outside pple. It may be that social forces interact with
body language. E.g. Woody Ellen (movie director) is thin & short; if you are making a movie, u r not
gonna pick him as your lead hero. Instead you want an action hero (like Rock etc). You will pick someone
who looks mean. Same thing goes on in real life. In Gang environment, muscular guy generally gets
selected to be the gang leader. Someone who can lead an illegal activity. Same thing goes on in outlaw
biker group. So social forces in inner city gang environment selects muscular individual to be the leader
in an illegal activity. This creates self fulfilling prophecy. This leader is most likely to be caught. He is
most likely to be arrested. It is not nature producing a muscular frame & that has something criminal
associated. Instead it is social forces that make these leaders take the high risk dangerous activity for
which they are most likely to be prosecuted and convicted. SI type says pple are assigned script. So
scripts are assigned to pple on the way society defines.
Sociological Theories of criminal behavior
These theories stresses role of social forces that makes pple criminal. Constraint theory: impose
deviance and crime on pple. Motivational theory: Identify social factors that drive people to commit
deviance and crime. Suthern’s theory, also called learning theory or differential association theory: pple
learn criminal behavior just like we learn all behavior .
Constraint theory comes from conflict theory. Labeling theory exist within the constraint theory.
Labeling theory deviance result not from deviant but the way pple label that individual or respond to
that individual. Society puts label on pple. Individual start accepting that label. Constraint theory comes
from conflicting theory imposing norms on the poor. Conflict theory argues that bcz wealthy control
society, they get to write the laws and laws are aimed @ underclass so they can be kept n line. These
ideas comes from Edwin Lemert’s Social Pathology (1951) & Howard Becker’s outsiders in 1963. Becker
wrote a paper called becoming marijuana user; in his days its use was more or less by musicians,
especially jazz musician. He observed that pple on their first smoke don’t get high, instead these pple
learn how to get stoned. When it comes to criminality, both of these authors claimed that criminality is
social (it becomes apparent only when pple know about it). If pple don’t know it, then they don’t treat u
as a deviant. When society applies this label that is when the person become deviant.
There are two categories of deviance: primary deviance and secondary deviance.
Primary deviance no one knows about your criminal past except u. You go back over ur life and u
think about wht criminal activity u were engaged in. The label is not applied in this case. Ex forging tax
credit. Pple typically engage in this. But they are not caught. Some may have been engaged in shop
lifting. In this case, pple don’t see themselves as deviant. Labeling theorists say that u don’t see urself as
criminal bcz other pple don’t see u as criminal. All of us has involved in criminal activity at some point in
life.
Secondary deviance this is when u get caught, convicted and labeled. A trial is a public affair. Labeling
theorist call trial as degradation ceremony; the purpose of trail is to label someone as socially
undesirable. So the person accused of the crime is expected to accept the moral superiority of the
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