Alexandra Zylka March 1 , 2011
SOC102 – Lecture 6
Cities and Minorities
- Cities are places of frequent victimization
- However for homosexuals, cities may represent safety.
- Sociologists have been studying cities since Max Weber.
- Cities are labs for cooperation and conflict.
- Cities are about locations; cities and places.
- The sociological study of victims of crime
- Typically, victimization is greatest among the disadvantaged.
- Characteristics associated with an increased risk of violent victimization in 2009 included
o Self-identifying as homosexual
o Having some form of activity limitation or physically handicapped
o Identifying as an aboriginal person.
The Victimization of Aboriginals
- Violent incidents were much more likely to be committed against younger aboriginal
people than they were against older counterparts
- Aboriginal people are also much more likely to be victims of homicide than non-
- These high rates of victimization reflect the dangerous places many aboriginal people
- Is it because of where they live? (Reserves, cities, territories, northern regions)
Routine activities theory
- Police-reported crime rates in the territories were substantially higher than rates in the
rest of Canada.
Hot spots for Young people
- “Hot Spots” , are places where the risk of crime is highest due to the increased
convergence of suitable targets and likely offenders.
- Other factors also influence the high rates of victimization among aboriginals (and
- For example, note that the aboriginal population is young compared to the rest of
Places of Victimization
- Poverty, unemployment, crowding, and youth are all associated with crime and
victimization in the general population, as well as among aboriginals.
- Workplaces are also hot spots of victimization
- Nearly 1/5 of all incidents of violent victimization occurred in the victim’s workplace. Schools and Bullying
- Schools can also be a hot spot for victimization
- Even in grade nine, 45 percent of boys and 32 percent of girls reported havinh been
bullied in the previous two months.
- Canada, compared very poorly with many other countries for which data is available.
- Canada consistently ranked at or below the middle of the international group.
- As we have seen, the risks and dangers of victimization vary with location
- However, location aside, some people are more likely than others to be victimized
- In 4% (SLIDE)
The location of risks
- As mentioned, Canadians who self-identified as being aboriginal were three times likely
as the non-aboriginal population to report being victims of violent victimization.
- Experiences of victimization left a long term mark.
- Sociologists have been studying the geographic location of risks since 1920s.
The Chicago School of Sociology
- Max Weber was the first sociologist to study the role of cities in social life
- However, it was the CSS that first produced a major body of sociological work about
cities in North America.
- The Chicago approach to the sociology focused on locational patterning.
- In the typical city, different activities are concentrated in different areas, by income and
- Population density – a characteristic feature of cities – can be a problem.
- But it can also be a benefit, since it increases institutional completeness and social
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (SLIDES)
Social Disorganization in Chicago
- Between 1860 and 1910, Chicago had grown from a population of 10,000 to over two
million, mainly through an influx of immigrants.
- This was associated with a growth of crime, poverty, illness, homelessness, poor
housing conditions and bad working conditions.
- Sociologists developed what came to be known as Social Disorganization Theory (SDT)
o Emile Durkheim (First French prof of Sociology)
o Suicide – psychological explanation (social patterning)
Found that suicide rates rose in rapidly industrialized societies
Protestants killed themselves more than Catholics
Single people and divorced people will kill themselves more than married
people. (more likely for men)