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Structural and conflict theories

4 Pages

Course Code
CRIM 1650
James Williams

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Strain Theory - Rather than focusing on individual cathologies, we should focus on the societal cathologies. - Crime may actually be seen as a normal sociological effort. (Shift from individual to society.) Underlying principals 1. The structure of society affects the way that people behave - Affects the way that people behave. Shift from emphasizes of individuals to society of social interactions and social structures. 2. The structure of U.S society impacts behaviour in two distinct ways; culturally defined goals and distribution of opportunities to achieve these goals - Goals on one hand and opportunity on the other hand. how these 2 factors shape human behaviour 3. Goal- cultural goals are universal, everyone prescribes to them; everyone is engaged in the purist of material success based on the ideology of ``America Dream`` have a certain status, certain kind of possession; economic satisfaction. - Murton thinks its universal, everyone wants that pursuit 4. Approved means of obtaining those goals are socially stratified and thus not available to everyone. - Murton: opportunities to achieving these goals; not available equally to everyone. 5. Disjunction between the universal gaols and the legitimate means of obtaining those goals. - Legitimate job, education. Causes frustration. Being deprived relative to others, society as a whole only because you may not have access to education or a necessary job that may provide you for things. 6. Criminal behaviour is an adaption to strain. - May enter the drug or sex trade, may engage in property crime; illegitimate opportunities for become successful. Policy Implications 1. Modify Cultural Goals - How do you do that ^^? Very difficult to do; may focus on public education, spending more time with family, religious shifts. 2. Increase Legitimate Opportunities - To those who are disadvantaged.  3 examples:  Head start: Targeted for younger kids from birth to grade school, try to make them more educated. - Health screenings; dental and health problems, Nutrition programs (breakfast programs), school readiness: language and math skills, self-confidence: building self- esteem, interacting with others: social skills, how you resolve conflict.  Pathways to education: Targeted high school students - Mandatory tutoring; targets people with low marks, Mentors and social workers: how to be successful in H.S, how to deal with pressure, free bus and subway tickets & $1000 a year for university education whoever gets in.  16-25 year olds with programs that provide housing and job trading for youths. - Provides housing, jobs and skills in a trade job, given life skills: finances, how to deal with alcohol and drug addictions. Criticisms and limitations. 1. Over-emphasis on links between class and crime. - On gender, race, cultural and religious emphasis; overly narrow. 2. Structural determinism and inability to account for differential response to strain - On the structure of society determines our behaviour. 3. Consensus model of society. - Crime is taken for granted, what it is and how it is used. Why individuals commit crime, little effort to think critically of the question where criminal law comes from? How certain groups are criminalized? Conflict Marxist Theory 1. Society is characterized by conflict rather than consensus - (Different social groups) over norms and values and different economic opportunities. 2. In a capitalist society, conflict is rooted in the economic inequalities generated by the capitalist mode of production. - Generally a mode
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