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Midterm

Chapters For Test 1.docx.doc

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 2700
Professor
Frank Cameron
Semester
Fall

Description
SOC2700 Volds Theoretical Criminology Chapter 1 Theory and CrimeTheory and Crime A theory is part of an explanation It is a sensible way of understanding something of relating it to the whole world of information beliefs and attitudes that make up the intellectual atmosphere of people at a particular time or placeIn the broad scope of history there are two basic types of theories of crime1 Spiritual ExplanationsSpiritual explanations of crime are part of a general idea of life in which many events are believed to results from the influence of otherworldly powers o Ex Primitive people regarded natural disasters such as famines floods and plagues as punishments for wrongs they had done to the spiritual powers They responded by performing sacred rights and rituals to appease powersThe feudal lords instituted methods by which God could indicate who was innocent and he was guiltyThe first method was trial by battle God would give victory to the righteous person defeating the one who had just sworn a false oath The second method was trial by ordeal the accused was subjected to difficult and painful test from which an innocent person protected by God would emerge unharmed well a guilty person would die a painfulAre modern prison system also originated in association with a spiritual explanation of crimeAround 1790 a group of Quakers in Philadelphia conceived the idea of isolating criminals in cell and giving them only the Bible to read and sign manual labor to perform The Quakers thought that criminals would then reflect on their past wrongdoings and repent 2 Natural ExplanationsSpiritual explanations make a use of otherworldly powers to account for what happens natural explanations make use of object and events in the material world to explain the same thingRoman law combined the spiritualism of the Hebrew tradition with the naturalism of the Greek tradition to provide a natural basis for penalties as well as for rightsThe disagreement among social scientists are wellknown but at least they have in common that they see their explanations with any observable phenomenon that are found in the physical and material world Scientific Theories Scientific theories are one kind of natural explanation They make statements about the relationships between observable phenomena Some scientific theories in criminology make statements about the relationship between the certainty or severity of criminal punishment and the volume of criminal behaviors in societyOthers make statement about the relationship between the biological psychological or social characteristics of individuals and the likelihood that these individuals will engage in criminal behaviorA key characteristic of scientific theories is that they can be falsified The process of attempting to falsify a scientific theory involves systematically observing the relationship described in the theory and then comparing the observations two arguments of the theory itself This process is called research that is is theory is so certain concert of the theory are tested against the Observer world of the fiveA theory can gain a great deal of credibility if all the reasonable alternative theories are shown to be inconsistent with the observed world of facts Causation in Scientific Theories Causation is one type of relationship among observable variables and all scientific theories in criminology make casual arguments of one type or anotherGenerally speaking causation in scientific theories means four things correlation theoretical rationale time sequence and the absence of spuriousness Correlation means that things tend to vary systematically in relation to each othero For example height and weight are correlated people who are taller generally weigh more a people who are shorter generally weigh less o The relation is not perfectsome short people waiting more and some tall people wait less But the tendency still exists for more height to go with more weight and less height to go with less weight This is called positive correlation o I negative correlation is when more of one thing tends to be associated with less of the other For example the more miles you have on your car the less money is generally is worthA Theoretical Rationale is a coherent explanation of why certain techniques result in different results o For example Some criminologist argue that harsh discipline by parents increases the likelihood of delinquency in their children There must be a correlation parents who use such techniques must be more likely to have children who are delinquent than parents who use a moderate constant discipline o The theoretical rationale is the explanation of why these techniques by the parents may cause delinquency in the children For example a theoretical rationale would be that that harsh discipline conveys anger rather than love and increases the chance that the child will rebel and engage in delinquency to get back at the parents The problem is thedirection of causation does it the discipline cause the delinquency or does the delinquency called the discipline The solution can be found by determining time sequence the third element of scientific causation If they discipline comes first and the delinquency comes later then we would conclude that the discipline causes the delinquencyBut if the delinquency comes first and the discipline comes later we will conclude that the delinquency causes the disciplineAbsence of spuriousness o suppose to parents and high crime neighborhoods are more likely for social and cultural reasons to use harsh discipline even when their children are not delinquent o And suppose that for the same reasons children in the high crime neighborhoods are more likely to engage in delinquency regardless of the parents disciplinary techniques o It may look like there is a relationship between harshness of discipline and delinquency but in fact both the discipline and the delinquency couldbe based in one way or another by the high crime neighborhood o In this example the relationship between delinquent behavior and parental disciplinary techniques would be spurious
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