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Lecture 7

CRIM 2650 Lecture 7: CRIM 2650 - Lecture #7

6 Pages

Course Code
CRIM 2650
Ozgun Topak

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Thursday, October 19, 2017 CRIM 2650 Lecture #7 Overview: Anomie and Strain Theories ● Introduction ● Historical Background of Strain Theories ● Merton, Anomie and Social Structure ● Strain and Delinquency (Subcultural Theory) ● Albert Cohen: Delinquent Boys ● Cloward and Ohlin: Delinquency and Opportunity ● Policy Implications of Classical Strain Theories ● Contemporary Research in Strain Theory ● Agnew’s General Strain Theory ● Strain Theory and African American Offending ● Institutional Anomie Theory ● Policy Suggestions of Institutional Anomie Theory Introduction: Main Theorists ● Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) ● Social Structure and Anomie (1938) ● Albert K. Cohen (1918-2014) ● Delinquent Boys (1955) ● Richard Cloward (1926-2001) and Lloyd Ohlin (1918-2008) ● Delinquency and Opportunity (1960) ● Robert Agnew (1953-) ● Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency (1992) ● Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld (1948-) ● Crime and the American Dream (1994) Introduction: Main Themes ● Individuals are more likely to engage in crime when they cannot achieve culturally prescribed goals through legitimate (or institutionalized) means. ● Strain on individuals. 1. Illegitimate ways 2. Demonstrate anti-social behaviour and develop an alternative value system 3. Resort to drug usage. Strain Theories: Historical Background 1 Thursday, October 19, 2017 ● The Great Depression (1929) and The New Deal (1933-1938) ● American Dream ● Functionalist School of Sociology ● The Renewal of Interest in Strain Theory ● The Golden Age of Welfare State (1945-1975) ● Progressive Social Movements in 1960s The Great Depression and the New Deal ● The Great Depression (1929) ● Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) ● Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) ● The New Deal America (1933-1938) ● American Dream ● Common Individual ● Hard Work ● Pecuniary Success ● The Culture of Consumption ● ‘Conspicuous consumption’ (Veblen 1899). ● Production to consumption based economy. ● The Recession in 1937 ● The contrast between the American Dream and deep inequalities ● Merton: crime as an adaptation to economic and cultural conditions. Merton, Anomie and Social Structure ● Merton’s Biography ● There is a disjuncture between culturally prescribed goals and institutionalized means for attaining these goals ● Culturally prescribed goals: the American Dream ● Institutionalized means: hard-work, strong work ethic, education, rational thinking and planning. ● The contradiction between culture and social structure is anomie. ● Strain on individuals ● Durkheim vs. Merton on Anomie 2 Thursday, October 19, 2017 Modes of Adaptation Modes of Adaptation Cultural Goals Institutionalized Means 1) Conformity + + 2) Innovation + - 3) Ritualism - + 4) Retreatism - - 5) Rebellion +/- +/- Al Capone • “Capone represents the triumph of amoral intelligence over morally prescribed failure” (1938: 679) • Al Capone: Mini Bio Strain Theory and Gang Delinquency Subcultural Theories • Albert K. Cohen (1918-2014) • Delinquent Boys (1955) • Young lower-class makes experience “status frustration” • Alternative system of values opposed to middle class values • Malicious, negativistic, and non-utilitarian delinquent behaviours • Delinquent behaviours are concertrated in urban slums and can be transmitted to new generations within a neighbourhood • Inspired by the Chicago School of Criminology - next week! • While delinquent behaviour may not have utility and value according to middle class standards, they might be valuable within the subculture • Gain respect and status • Not all young, lower-class males become delinquent boys • College boys and corner boys Cloward and Ohlin: Delinquency and Opportunity • Influenced by: Merton, the Chicago School, and Edwin Sutherland • Note on “opportunity” • Merton’s theory does not answer why and under which conditions individuals adapt strain differently • Availability of illegitimate means in the neighbourhood • i.e.: existence of role models, organized crime, drug usage • Types of gangs • Criminal gangs, conflict gangs and retreatist- games Delinquency and Opportunity: Three Types of Gangs • Criminal gangs • Organized crime 3 Thursday, October 19, 2017 • Mentoring the youth • Status based on crime • Conflict gangs • Disorganized neighbourhoods • Violence and Vandalism • Status based on violence • Retreatist gangs • Withdraw from society • Drug use Policy implications of Classical Strain Theory • Increase legitimate opportunities • Education, job training, prison rehabilitation, delinquency prevention programs
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