De Montesquieu (1689-1755)
founder of sociology of knowledge
Studied different types of societies throughout history
Studied social facts, social institutions, social institutions, social organization, social class and social conditions
And how they affect thinking and cultural perspective
founders of sociology
Called for a “human science"
emphasized importance of moral order
Introduced the concept of “positivism” (using scientific method to study human phenomena)
view society as functional mechanism greater than its component parts
JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832)
Wrote Principles of Morals and Legislation in 1789
Argued that people were rational, and exercised “free will” (not demonic influence)
Rational people would weigh pleasure against pain (hedonistic calculus)
Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
Coined the term “sociology”
concerned with moral order and moral disunity
opposed to social criticism, social conflict and social change
Redefined “positivism” as positive philosophy --the opposite of the critical, “negativistic” philosophy of the
French Revolution and The Enlightenment
W.I.Thomas and Florian Znaniecki
Wrote Polish Peasant
Znaniecki – from Poland
Both were early members of Chicago school
Taylor, R.(1986). “Environmental Design, Crime and Prevention.” In Communities and Crime
C. Ray Jeffery(1965). “Criminal Behavior and Learning Theory”
Started the concept of “structural functionalism” – started callinig it SF and writing about it
The 4 Main Parts of the Social System: Family, schools, religion, economy
Function was to maintain society (help it to survive) and to ensure wellbeing of its members.
Positive School people:
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882) - EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
Evolutionary change took place over millions of years
Process occurred as consequence of “natural selection” and “specialization”
HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903)
Popularized the term “evolution” and came up with expression “survival of the fittest”
Societies followed principle of “natural selection” through process of competition
Rich and powerful more “fit;”, poor, mentally ill or criminals were “unfit” GREGOR MENDEL (1822-1884)
Father of Genetics
Talked about heredity, inherited characteristics, recessive and dominant, genes, mutations
Led some to believe that deviance, criminal behaviour and feeblemindedness were solely result of bad genes
Discounted effects of environment, socialization and social structure
Took Durkheim’s concept of anomie and used it to explain high crime rates in America, in his 1938 article “Social
Structure and Anomie”, which came to be known as “anomie-strain theory”
Is a structural functionalist (well-known work on “manifest and latent functions” and reference to
“malfunctioning of the social structure”)
Professor at University of Chicago for 5 years th
Described as “most important criminologists of 20 century”
Most well known for Differential Association Theory
Wrote “The Professional Thief”
Wrote “White Collar Crime “ - Coined the term
White Collar Crime
Argued that crime also exist in business, politics and the professions (lawyers, accountants, doctors, stock
brokers, bank managers, businessmen/women)
Eg Embezzlement, bribery of government officials, false advertising, manipulation of stock values
Also learned through differential association
Cost was many times greater than cost of all street crime combined Orgins of Criminology / Classical School
THE ENLIGHTENMENT (also known as the Age of Reason)
Period from 1689 to 1789 (began with English Revolution, ended with French Revolution)
Intellectual movement involving philosophers, political reformers, social theorists and religious skeptics
New focus on critical examination of human life, religious beliefs and society
Greater emphasis on reason and science, rationality and empiricism
Time of Newton’s discovery of gravity,
saw deviance as evil
crime is due to temptation and moral weakness
can only be cured by exorcism or execution
death penalty, cruel torture to both innocent and guilty
THE CLASSICAL SCHOOL
emerged from The Enlightenment
saw deviance as violation of social contract
caused by free will and hedonism – seeking pleasure
learned from deterrence
Classical School Of Criminology
Torture was unfair—confession may have nothing to do with innocent or guilt
o If innocent =tortured once; if guilty = torture twice; death penalty
Published essay “On Crimes and Punishments”
o published anonymously, for fear of persecution
o Remained on Catholic Church’s prohibited list of readings until 1960s.
o recommendations repeated in French Declaration of Independence, Constitution of US
THE POSITIVE SCHOOL
Classical 1700-1800 Positive 1800-1900
Saw deviance as sickness, pathology, inferiority
caused by bad genes or defeats
remedied by treatment, elimination
CESARE LOMBROSO (1835-1909)
Founder of positive school
Medical doctor—measured soldiers, insane people and criminals and members of general public
In search of the atavistic man: Degenerate throwback on earlier forms of evolution ANOMIE-STRAIN
The Normal and the Pathological – Emile Durkheim
criminologists generally regard crime as “abnormal” or pathological—as a form of “social morbidity”
All societies have some level of crime so some amount of crime must be normal.
o Even “a community of saints” would search out and identify some “unconventional” behavior as
criminal or deviant.
Crime serves a function—contributes to social cohesion by bringing ppl tgt through indignation and anger
Crime set boundaries, delineates what is socially acceptable and what is not
Term coined byEmile Durkheim
Used to describe periods of lawlessness, normlessness and unregulated choice
Times of collapse of social solidarity
Later used by Robert Merton to describe the disjunction between the American dream and the institutional
means by which to achieve them
Social Solidarity / Forces of Integration and Forces of Regulation
Durkheim felt that social solidarity/Social cohesion was created from forces of integration (eg social bonds,
shared values, beliefs, forces of attraction, attachment)
If integration fails, then forces of regulation (police, courts, law) would step in to constrain individual behavior
Social Structure and Anomie – Robert Merton
Anomie-Strain Theory / Cultural Goals and Institutional means
American culture highly emphasize on the cultural goals (“American Dream” - accumulation of wealth and social
advancement), but not everyone has access to the institutional means (employment, opportunities, education)
to achieve these goals
Merton said the dysfunction between the two cause a sense of anomie/social strain, pushing certain individuals
toward crime and deviance
People develop a “Ends Justify the Means” attitude – results from a culture of competition and a desire to get
ahead at all costs
o Disjunction between cultural goals and institutional means lead to anomie-strain, causing individual to
be highly competitive and engage in cut-throat behavior eg wrestler defeat opponent by illegal tactics
Five Modes of Adaptation to Anomie-Strain
Conformity: Most common. Accept goals, accept means.
o Try to get a decent education, a job, works hard, save money, play by the rules.
Innovation: Most likely to become criminal. Accept goals, reject means
o Find unconventional/non-conforming way to achieve cultural goals
o Want nice things, cant afford, choose to steal
Ritualism: Reject goals, accept means.
o Given up being successful, follow rules, avoid risk
o Means becomes ends. Don’t expect to get anywhere
Retreatism: Reject goals, reject means (Eg: Drug addicts, alcoholics, street people)
o Drop out of society, do not believe they can attain goal and do not want to play by the rules
Rebellion: Reject/replace goals and means (eg terrorists who blow things up to achieve political change)
o Try to change or replace society’s goals, means and rules with new ones, may try to establish social
order or even try to overthrow existing government Contemporary version of Anomie Strain Theory
Criticisms of Earlier Anomie-Strain Theory
Too specific to American society / American Dream
Assumption that everyone has the same interest in monetary success
Too much focus on lower-class youth, fail to explain crimes committed by middle/upper class youths
Durkheim 1893, 1987, Introduced anomie, anomic division of labor, anomic suicide
o Merton 1938 Cultural goals vs institutional means, five modes of adaptation
Cohen 1955 Status deprivation, middle-class measuring rod, reaction formation
Cloward and Ohlin 1960 Illegitimate Opportunity Structures: Criminal, conflict, retreatist
Robert Agnew 1985 General Strain Theory
o Messner & Rosenfeld 1994: Institutional-Anomie Theory, Crime and American Dream
1. Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gangs
Status Frustration / Status Deprivation / The Middle-Class Measuring Rod / Reaction Formation
1955 book by Albert Cohen
When lower class youths tried to compete for social status in school, they would find that they could not meet
the standards of the middle-class measuring rod.
As a result, develop a sense of status deprivation or status frustration, a sense of anomie or strain.
Viewed delinquent behavior as a type of reaction formation – to status deprivation
Also viewed delinquency as a collective solution –delinquent subculture reacted to status deprivation by
redefining the meaning of status and establishing new norms, set new types of acceptable behavior or conduct.
New standards permit gangs to engage in criminal behavior without feeling the usual shame/guilt
2. Illegitimate Opportunity Structures
Cloward and Ohlin’s described three subcultures that were differentially available to would-be delinquents.
The Criminal Subculture
found in “organized” slums
Pre-existing crime network, focused on profit-making.
Older, more experience offenders would serve as role models for the younger, wannabe offenders.
in disorganized slums.
no access to illegitimate opportunity structures of the criminal subculture
Rebelled against society and middle class values nevertheless
Characterized by violence, gang fighting, acting tough
Described by the drug subculture
Attracted youths of “double failure” – could not obtain status through legitimate/illegitimate means
Turn to drugs to solve status discontentment 3. General Strain Theory
“A Revised Strain Theory of Delinquency”. Revised (update) version Robert Merton’s anomie-strain theory.
Added the avoidance of aversive or noxious stimuli
o These stimuli include conflict with parent/teacher, failure at school, being unpopular
o Can cause frustration, which in turn leads to anger, aggression and juvenile delinquency.
o Described as “pain-avoidance behavior”, but if failed could lead to “frustration and aggression”.
Says that youth (including middle/upper class) are more concerned about immediate goals – eg, physical
appearance, popularity, success in sports, doing well at school – than they are about longer term goals (wealth &
Most youth lack the means to escape from aversive situations – no money, no complete control over own lives,
can’t simply leave home or change school
General Strain vs Traditional
GS: running away from conflict with family, peers, school
T: running toward success symbols
Thus anomie strain can be caused by wanted to escape from something you cannot get away from as
well as being caused by something you cannot get
Path of Model of Strain Theory
Diagram in Robert Agnew’s
article “A Revised Strain
Theory of Delinquency”.
o Aversive Environment
Lead to frustration >
anger > aggression
o Social control (lack
4. CRIME AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
Messner and Rosenfeld , in their 1994 book Crime and the American Dream.
A macro-level version of anomie-strain theory.
Describing a capitalist economy with unregulated goals and means
There is an imbalance of institutional power, with the economy dominating the other three institutions.
o Neither the political system or the CJS provide sufficient legal or moral oversight for this deregulated
Pursuit of monetary goals at all cost; ends justify the means
Leads to corporate crime, white collar crime, employee theft, etc.
Four Main Social Institutions: Economy, Family, Polity, Education
If functioning normally, supposed to integrate and regulate society Other Solutions
Relative Deprivation Theory
Studied by Blau and Blau, Sampson, Agnew, Messner.
“Relative” deprivation different from “absolute” deprivation; may not be poor, starving, living on the streets
Feel deprived in comparison to normative/comparison (reference) group
Also depends on perception. Not all lower class want expensive beer or expensive houses, most are content
with their lives so don’t feel sense of deprivation, only seen as deprivation if perceived as such
Reference groups set standards
Normative reference groups set standard norms and rules for individuals who wish to join or maintain group
o They either join or don’t join, they don’t compare or compete with other groups eg to be in lawyer
society, need degree.
Comparative reference groups are groups that individuals would like to join, or would like to avoid joining.
o Most likely to lead to sense of relative deprivation eg yacht club, but not enough money
o Might not want to join the homeless, or lower class
THE CHICAGO SCHOOL + SDT
Historical Factors of Chicago
Between 1800-1900, Chicago grew from being a small town with around 200 inhabitants to a city with over 3
City grew through successive waves of immigrants, blacks moving from south to north, displaced farm workers
and overseas immigrants coming to America from places such as Poland, Ireland, Italy and Germany