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Social structure and social process theories.docx

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Social Science
SOSC 2650
Anita Lam

November, 14, 2013 Social structure and social process theories Lecture Overview 1. Social structure theories • Chicago school and social disorganization • Broken windows theory 2. Social process theories • Differential association theories Social structure theories • Durkheim is an example of social structure theory • Challenges the notion that crime is an expression of psychological or biological traits;- instead crime is a breakdown of social structure • People living in the same environment behave in a similar predictable manner • Society will conform to the norm and you have to work hard to get theAmerican dream • Reject the normative role by retreating (escaping reality) rebel (replace with alternative one) or become a ritualistic (enjoy rituals) Examples: • Strain theory • Social disorganization theory (Chicago school) • Cultural deviance theory *CULTURALDEVIEANCE THEORY* Social disorganization theory • Conditions in urban environment affect crime rates • Use society as a unit, but also a community as a unit of analysis • Break down of institutions of social control; institutions such as families, schools and housing • Indicators of social disorganization : • *low income level, high unemployment rate, high rates of school dropouts, actual physical ideas of the neighborhood, and also the number of single parent households.* - Ecological factors:  Transience and mobility *is the neighborhood constantly changing because residents are moving in and out; is there a high residential rate turnover* if there is it is a problem; when people are moving in and out of the area, people do not have the time to form relationships with their neighbors and when they don’t, it blocks any attempt to find common ground in the neighborhood or establish common goals*  Neighborhood income level *infer the income level by looking at the deteriorated housing, public housing or the area itself, and sometimes some scholars will infer the income level if the neighborhood lacks essential services Shaw and McKay: Chicago school • Unit and analysis:American city; not society and not even neighborhoods, but rather the American city. Took Chicago as their case study. American social positivism. • Mapped the geological areas; divided city in different zones • 5 ecological zones in city: Zones arranges as concentric rings. *show us the stable pattern of criminal activity throughout the next 65 years • There was also a geographical settlement pattern; so where people settle in the city and the crime rates in those cities • 2 zone = Transitional zone: working class lower people and immigrant people • We have lower income zones and as we move out of the zone we move to more stable and affluent areas • Thought these settlement patterns were natural; and worked from an ecological approach. Shaw and McKay • Biological approach to understanding ecology: different environmental/ecological conditions generate different city forms • Consider the city as a social organism; to determine the different environmental conditions that could contain these cities • Looking at natural patterns of settlement; constructed race and settlement instead of naturally discovering it • Crime rates highest in slum areas • Transitional neighborhoods (zones of transition) *people are transitioning in and out of the neighborhood* - High population turnover *leads to a breakdown in the area as an effective to transmit the moral standards of community to its inhabitants* considered criminogenic - Immigrant families *happens in the way immigrant children are morally transitioning from the values of their families and home countries towards theAmerican culture.* - Similar toANOMIE *Durkheim*  Social consensus vs. racial and ethnic heterogeneity  Assimilation • Geographical model of crime Policy Implications • Chicago area project *create community structure in the slum areas; enhance social structure* • The problem? In slum areas. It’s a fixture in these areas and it’s considered a disorganized community Limitations: • Generalizability of their map *not all cities are described by the map* • What did Shaw and McKay really map? Mapping crime rates, but the data they used was police records; mapped differential policing practice in the city. Contemporary version: broken windows theory • Conceptual metaphor or contemporary version of social disorganization theory • What are broken windows? - Signs of neighborhood disorder - It’s a sign or signal that no one cares about the neighborhood. - What are the signs? Homeless people, buildings that are abandoned or deteriorated, prostitutes, graffiti, loud teenagers as a category. *Disorderly strangers to the community and are undesirable* • Disorder causes crime *because if no one fixes it, it shows that people don’t care; street criminals notice that the community does not care and allows broken windows and it will make them move into that community* • High population turnover is another way for people to move out • If we leave one broken window unchecked, there will be a problem. Policy Implications • Community policing and order maintenance *Supposed to go on foot patrol and maintain the communities order; that area has to look pleasing** - E.G. Toronto Police Service’s Graffiti Eradication Program • Police need to be given legal tools in order to perform order maintenance *given legal tools to remove undesirable people out of society* - E.G. Ontario’s safe streets Act *punishes poor people for street acts*  Aggressive soliciting is prohibited in public places *when you’re soliciting, you’re asking the immediate provision of money* it’s illegal because it is in a public place.  Used to target panhandlers and squeegee kids *visibly poor people who were seeking assistance*  Treated kids as individuals and the way to fix that problem is by removing them from the streets and by doing this they are keeping the streets safe, they are not fixing the problem • Popular under conservative political regimes of the 1980’s - Vs. 1960’s and popularity of policies that created large-scale changes in society *e.g. Chicago area project) - E.G. head start programs created during Us War on poverty
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