Sociology 3357F/G Lecture Notes - Anomie

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Lecture Three October 3, 2013
Based mostly on lecture
Some textbook
Multiple choice/true & false
Explaining White Collar Crime
Differential Association
Edwin Sutherland
All crime can be explained through differential association
Nine points:
oCriminal behaviour is learned; not inherited
oCriminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of
oThe principle part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate
personal groups. Impersonal agencies of communication, such as motion pictures
or newspapers, play a relatively unimportant part in the genesis of criminal
You learn crime from who you hangout with
oWhen criminal behaviour is learned, the learning includes:
Techniques of committing the crime, which are sometimes very simple
The specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations and attitudes
oThe specific direction of motives and drives is learned from the definition of
legal codes as favourable or unfavourable
oA person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to
violation of the law over definitions unfavourable to violation of the law
This is the principle of differential association
oDifferential associations may very in frequency, duration, priority and intensity
Ex. A CEO telling a mid-level manager to fudge the numbers in order to
look good for the shareholders would not have the same intensity as
someone below the manager saying the same
oThe process of learning criminal and anticriminal patterns involves all of the
mechanisms that are involved in any other learning
You learn to be criminal the same way you learn to ride a bike
oCriminal behaviour is an expression of general needs and values, it is not
explained by these general needs and values, since noncriminal behaviour is an
expression of the same needs and values. Thieves generally steal in order to
secure money, but likewise honest labourers work in order to secure money
Its all about who you hang out with
Durkheim: Normlessness
Merton: disjunction between goals/means (classical strain theory)
oSays we don’t have the same opportunity to achieve these goals by legitimate
oHigh emphasis on goals (monetary success)
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oLow emphasis on means to achieve goals
oSocieties with the above = higher crime rates
Institutional Anomie Theory
Messner and Rosenfield: Crime and the American Dream
o“…The core elements of the American dream-- a strong achievement orientation,
a commitment to competitive individualism, universalism, and most important,
the glorification of glorification of material success--have their institutional
underpinnings in the economy”
Capitalism in the US: emerged from blank slate
Economy dominates all major institutions
Examples: education, family, etc
Control Theories
Assumption: deviance is normal
Social Bond Theory
Hirschi (1969)
Four points:
oAttachment (to others)
oCommitment (to conventional lines of action)
oInvolvement (in conventional activities)
oBelief (common value system of society)
Having a “social bond” to a company may make you more loyal to them and willing to
commit crimes to preserve that loyalty
The General Theory of Crime
Hirschi and Gottfredson
General Theory than can explain all crime
Opportunity + Low self-control = crime
What is low self-control?
oPeople who lack self-control will tend to be impulsive, insensitive, physical (as
opposed to mental), risk-taking, short sighted, and non-verbal and they will tend
therefore to engage in criminal and analogous acts
oSince these traits can be identified prior to the age of responsibility for crime,
since there is considerable tendency for these traits to come together in the same
people, and since the traits tend to persist through life, it seems reasonable to
consider them as comprising a stable construct useful in the explanation of crime
Rational Choice Theory
Cornish and Clarke (1986) The Reasoning Criminal
Costs versus benefits
In White-Collar Crime context: Shover and Hochstetler (2006), Paternoster and Simpson
The rational choice perspective draws heavily on classical theory and economic theories
of crime and argues that “crimes are broadly the result of rational choice based on
analyses of anticipated costs and benefits”
Individuals, then, choose to engage in crime in an effort to maximize their benefits and
minimize their costs
This choice process occurs in two major stages:
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