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Lecture 9

Lecture 9

7 pages32 viewsWinter 2011

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Lecture 9: crime and punishment
-We spent a lot of time talking about inequalities one of the points is that inequalities work the same
kinds of ways for different kinds gender, race, class, age etc same methods of imposing inequalities
and the same strategies used by subordinates to resist
-Inequality has huge costs for society health impacts are very important consequence of inequality
illness and death are shaped by their position in the class structure
-Crime is inescapable and its made inevitably worse by inequality second order thing is that the more
crime you have, the more punishment youll have, which means more crime .. .reciprocal relationship
-There is a drama in every society around crime and punishment that reflects the problem of inequality
-When societies punish people, they make a decision society punishes in different ways capital
punishment some countries enforce it a lot while some dont do it at all china highest, Canada none(
abolished) human development index countries that rank high dont use capital punishment ... US
is locked in a drama in crime and punishments that is a consequence of its history in racial and class
-Capital punishment is a very primitive form of punishment
-Crime is committed by people who are in situations different from us .. not by people who think different
its a logical extension of normal situation of life
- Marcus aurelius poverty is the mother of crime
-Aristotle poverty is the parent of revolution and crime 3 most consequences of inequality: sickness,
crime and war and destruction
- “crime is a logical extension of sort of behaviour that is often considered perfectly acceptable in corporate
business white collar crimes
- “all punishment is mischief, in itself evil. we are lead to believe punishment is carried out by moral
guardians of society
- “capital punishment is as wrong a punishment for crime as charity is for poverty
-Inequality influences crime and punishment the more unequal a society, the more often the crime, and
more extreme the punishment it also reflects a more severe mindset on how you regulate peoples
-Repressive justice vs restitutive justice
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-Crime is any action that breaks the rules orlaw to which legitimate punishments or sanctions are
attached, and which requires the intervention of the state ***
-Law is a written legislation that needs to be enforced violation of a law will result in a punishment ..
part of the written rule
-We dont actually know much about crime most crimes are not brought to light processed by an
enforcement agency job is to ensure that laws are enforced and to ensure that law breakers are
brought to justice and punished costly to make the criminal justice system work
-Funnel process many crimes go unreported many reported crimes go uninvestigated many
investigations making no arrest many arrests leading to no trial (prosecutor decides evidence not
strong enough, etc), many trials not leading to conviction (judges or jury not persuaded, etc) hidden
crimes are not common
-Not only evidentiary impediments, there are also organisational impediments to punishments
-By the time you get down to records of convictions, its a very pale reflection on the actual amount of rule-
breaking that goes on in society almost as though no one goes to jail!
-According to some criminologists, crimes by the rich and powerful contribute significantly to the
rate of hidden crime the outcome of the justice process is driven by class inequality
-Sociologists ask 3 main questions:
-1. Why do people commit crime and how are these related to inequality
-2. Why do lawmakers define certain kinds of activities as bad, immoral, criminal or deviant? (sociology of
law) there is no crime if there is no law to break we have to understand how societies vary in the
kinds of laws they make
-3. Why are some kinds of people more likely than others to be labelled and punished as deviant? ***
-Poor people and minorities are most likely to undertake what Merton calls innovative adaptations to
anomie Merton wanted to explain the survival of the US functionalist was faced with realities
like theres a lot of crime in the US that leads to the hypothesis that crime serves some function in
society theres a fundamental irrationality in the organisation of capitalist societies everyone is
motivated to try to grab the big prize everybody is taught that the purpse of the good life is to win .. on
the other hand, not everyone has the same chance of winning some more likely than others to be able
to use the available means to win in American or any capitalist society, the vast majojrity of people
lose .. how does such a society survive? So crime is one of several adaptation of this problem the system
produces a gigantic amount of losers how come that doesnt result in a revolution? People adapt to
deal with that reality, that leads to crime if you cant win following the rules, you have to make
different rules
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