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University of Waterloo
SOC 227
Addie Nelson

CH. 10– Strain Theories Consensus perspective maintains that the vast majority shares similar values regarding right and wrong ­ assume that social institutions all contribute to the smooth running of society o crime occurs when something unusual happens that affects these institutions o this results in strain, stresses and frustrations that affect the behavior ­ mortality is university and important values are shared amongst all members of society Conflict perspective questions thee assumptions and argues that criminal law reflects the interests of the group that cause and enforce these laws ­ focus on the inherent divisions of societies based on social inequality and the way these social divisions give rise to different and competing interests ­ social values that receive protection are those that are treasured by the dominant interest groups Strain theory- the proposition that people feel strain when they are exposed to cultural goals they are unable to reach b/c they do not have access to culturally approved means of achieving those goals ­ part of the consensus tradition societieskheim argued that social solidarity- social groups working together toward agreed-upon goals was an essential characteristics of human o these agreed upon goals led to a set of shared norms o without norms to guide them, societies function poorly o such normless or anomie occurs during periods of rapid change when solid solidarity or social cohesion is reduced o lack of sense of community and a collective conscience leads to a breakdown in society and increases suicide and crime ­ to define boundaries of accept behavior, there must be a balance between functional and dysfunction aspects of deviance ­ for Durkheim, every society needs its quota of deviants, no matter what, there will always be someone to violate the rules ­ he saw crime as a consequence of modernity, changes associated with modernity led to a weakening of social controls and rates of deviance increased Anomie to describe an absence of clear societal norms and values o defined as a “sense of normlessness” o also referred to it as a condition in which individual desires, self-interests are o longer governed and controlled by society  self-interests rather than norms, controls behavior o used to explain crime in more advanced and differentiated urban societies ­ heterogeneity and increased division of labor weakened traditional societal norms, loosened social controls and encouraged individualism Social structure- the patterned and relatively stable arrangement of roles and statuses found within societies and social institutions Merton applied social structure and anomie ­ need more emphasis n legitimate means to achieve those goals leaves society normless or anomic ­ people then commit crimes to achieve their desires ­ for Durkheim and Merton an anomic society places a higher priority on self-interested values like the acquisition of wealth, status and power but gives a lower priority to collective values like fairness, equality and justice Culturally prescribed aspiration- a rejection of the notion that aspirations are entirely self-created; they are defined by culture and transmitted by other members of the society ­ justice is a symptom of the gap between culturally prescribed aspiration and socially structured means for realizing those aspiration ­ culturally prescribed aspirations are the goals held up for all members of society ­ he argues that the accommodate of money and status that results from material wealth are universal goals Self-enhancing values- values that emphasize social status, prestige, dominance over others and personal success Self-transcending values- values that emphasize appreciation, tolerance, protection and the welfare of others ­ crime happens with low self-transcending or collective values were weak ­ individuals are also anomic (microanomie)- where an individual places more value on self-interest o males are more likely to have microanomie than females Robert Crutchfield points out that the lack of work influences crime ­ if there is a gap between the desired goals and means, illegitimate tactics are ore likely Bernald argued that we shouldn’t interpret strain or anomie in psychological or social psychological terms but these were properties of social structures ­ according to him, Merton’s theory would predict that societies whose cultures overemphasized the legal of monetary success and underemphasized adhere to legitimate means would have high rates of instrumental crime ­ if legitimate opportunities to achieve those momentary goals were unevenly disturbed, instrumental crime would be unevenly disturbed ­ economic institutions dominate North America, economic factor overwhelm those institutions that socialize people into pro-social behavior ­ Merton’s theories provide us with ideas about how to reduce the harm caused by privileged predators Opportunity structure- opportunity is shaped by the way the society or an institution is organized or structured ­ Anomie was shifted from normless to relative deprivation- deprivation in reactions to others around you, rather than judged against an absolute standard of sustainability 1 Absolute deprivation- the inability to sustain oneself physically and materially ­ strain theories don’t explain why woman are less criminal ­ learning theories such as differential association, explain delinquency by positive relations with deviant others ­ social control theories argue that delinquency occurs when juvenile have little or no attachment or social bonds to others Agnew’s elaboration o strain theory emphasizes that negative relations and experiences in situations beyond their control lead juveniles to delinquency o he suggested that adolescents located in stressful environments, such as school, from which they can’t escape from can become frustrarating  if legitimate coping alternatives not available, violence outbursts Messner and Rosenfeld argued that American culture emphasizes momentary success ­ when combined with weak restraints on illegitimate means, his encourages economic crimes Cloward pointed out that illegitimate opportunities are not equally accessible to all ­ he hypothesized that there are 3 different types of delinquent subculture: criminal, conflict and retreatist gangs Subculture- a group of people who share a distinctive set of cultural beliefs and behaviors that differ in some significant way from that of the larger society Anderon notes that exporting manufacturing jobs overseas has made bad situation worse in inner city ­ through traditional work not being available, young people adopted a code of the street ­ the code of the street requires young males and often females, to let others know how tough they are, gains status by being tough and willing to use violence ­ early strain theorists focused on lower class but it also applies to white collar and corporate crimes ­ upper class crimes can arise form overcommitted to success goals FOCUS BOX: Durkheim argues that individualism leads to a lack of social cohesion ­ Suicide, crime and deviance are inhibited in cohesive communities ­ Research showed that protestant communities (more individualistic) had higher suicide rates than catholic communities Model of Durheim’s Explanation Suicide as a General Explanation of Crime Great individualism  Lack of Social Cohesion  Suicide and Crime Theory Theorists Key Elements Anomie: weak social regulations Durkheim When social cohesion breaks down, society loses its traditional mechanisms of social control and eventually suffers from high rates of crime Anomie: the gap between aspiration Merton Crime occurs when there is a gap between culturally and means prescribed aspirations and socially structured means for realizing those aspiration Instituional-anomie Messner, Strong pressures to succeed monetarily and weak restraints Rosenfeld on the means to succeed in a society that emphasizes economic leads to crime General Strain Agnew Adolescences in unavoidable unpleasant environments face strain leading to anger and delinquency Opportunity structures Cloward In addition to strains that create a pressure toward criminal behavior, there are also different opportunity structures that may facilitate breaking the law - these structures are both legitimate and illegitimate Code of the Street Anderson Lack of employment opportunities leads to alternative ways of achieving respect: displaying toughness, taking another person’s possessions, pulling a trigger. It helps build a reputation that prevents future challenges but also creates other problems CH. 16– Organized Crime ­ different countries have different legal definitions of organized crime Criminal Code of Canada: Criminal organization as a group, however organized, that a) is composed of 3 or more persons in/outside Canada and b) has as one of its main purpose the facilitation or commissions of one or more serious offences that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any of the persons who constitute the group ­ core characteristics of organized crime: structural/organization, institutional, commercial and behavioral o not all of these characteristics are present in every organized criminal conspiracy Structural/Organizational Institutional Commercial Behavioral 2/+ people involved Continuing enterprise Illegal activities rationality committed for financial or other material benefit Conspire together to commit serious illegal Sophistication Consensual and Contempt for civil acts predatory crimes society A systematic pattern to the relationship of Motivation Legal commercial Rules, regulations the offenders activities and codes Assigned tasks/specialization division of Career criminals Goods&services discipline labor Insulation against law enforcement and Limited or exclusive Tactics to support 2 prosecution membership commercial activities: corruption, violence, money laundering Specialized channels and modes of Recruitment Multiple enterprises Multi-jurisdictional/transnational in scoSecrecy Constant demands for goods&services ­ two types of relationships amongst individuals in organized crime o associational networks held together by close personal relationships among members o entrepreneurial model where the bond among the offender is less personal and more determined by business interests ­ in hierarchical criminal organizations, division depends on their position of power o in a more symmetrical network model, individuals have roles depending on their skills or resources Transnational organized crime- conducted and coordinated across national borders FOCUS BOX: motorcycle gangs are hierarchical, there is uniformity in style of dress, colors and motorcycle ­ sergeant-at –arms maintains order at meetings, may serve as an enforcer and has power to discipline a club member ­ road caption organizes the logistics and security for the time-honored biker run Institutional Characteristics ­ they are career criminals ­ most place restrictions on membership, it is based on race, nationality, kinship or criminal record o ethnicity is the strongest tie ­ organized crime are involved in both consensual and predatory crimes o consensual crime is where no victim exist: two/more individuals voluntarily engage in an illegal transaction o predatory are one where victim suffers a direct physical, emotional or financial loss o includes extortion, theft, human trafficking, currency counterfeiting and various types of fraud Extortion- an offender unlawfully obtains money, property or services from an individual or entity through coercion and intimidation Rational choice theory contends that most offenders are self-maximizing decision makers who calculate the advantages and disadvantages dissociated with specific criminal acts o organized crime represents one of the most rational forms of criminality b/c it responds to the laws of supply and demand in the same as legitimate business ­ a wise guy believes that anyone that follows the commonly accepted rules and laws of civil society is a sucked and deserves to be victimized Alien Conspiracy Theory ­ organized crime in America is a result of the importation of secret criminal societies that are rooted in foreign cultures ­ not emerged from American culture but thrust upon he country by specific immigrant groups Ethnic Succession Theory ­ “societies get the crime they deserve” Economic theories o views crime as a rational system that operates according to the laws of supply and demand o focuses on how criminal organizations make money supplying goods and services that are in demand, but which have been declared illegal by the state ­ when government bans a product that the public wishes to use, it drives supply and demand to the underground market ­ 4 theoretical models capture the different types of relationships and structures of ongoing organized criminal conspiracies (1) the bureaucratic/hierarchical model, where there is a vertical power structure with at least 3 permanent rank (2) the kinship model, in which the Italian-American mafia family is portrayed as being structured around blood relationships (3) the patron-client model, where influential professional criminals become patrons to others by providing contacts, resources, influence and direction (4) the syndicate model, which is characterized by a fluid network of like-minded criminal offenders who are connected through systematical business partnerships based on complementary areas of specialization or resources ­ the bureaucratic/hierarchal model views criminal groups as highly structured and tightly controlled hierarchal organizations ­ Patron-client model, Italian American family involves a loose system of power and business relationships and thus requires a middleman who becomes a patron to others by providing the right contacts, influence and criminal opportunities ­ Overtime, patron comes to dominate a network of individuals in a geographic area ­ At the centre of the patron0client model of the mafia is a capo or don o Role of capo is less a chief executive officer and more patron to his family and associates; centre of a network of family and business relationships o Provider of services o Help ensure welfare and security to his family, friends and associates ­ Network Model argued to be a combination of bureaucratic/hierarchal model and the kinship/patron-client model CH. 13– Interactionist Theories 3 ­ They consider crime to be a consequence of interpersonal relationships and of the meaning of those relationships ­ Central concept in interactionist theories of crime is deviant career ­ Differential association sets out how people learn to be criminals through interaction with other criminals and how they acquire a criminal identity ­ The interchanges people have with one another and on the meanings of these interchanges in the past, present and future Symbolic Interactionism- perspective that focuses on the dynamic of how people interpret social situations and negotiate the meaning of these situation with others ­ differs from more structurally focused perspective in seeing individuals as actively creating the social world rather than just acting within the constraints of culture and social structure ­ interactionist theories of crime rests on three premises o first, people act toward the human and nonhuman objects in their lives according to the meanings those objects have for them o second, these meanings emerge from interactions among people o third, the meanings of objects learned in this manner are applied and occasionally modified as individuals interpret how objects and their meanings fit particular social situations, the people in them and their reasons for being there ­ some groups have enough power to force the label of deviant on less powerful groups/individuals Labelling theory- deviance is not a quality of the act but of the label that others attach to it ­ raises he question of who applies the label and who is labeled ­ application of a label and the response of others to the label may result in a person becoming committed to a deviant identity Primary deviation- occurs when an individual commits deviant acts but fails adopt a primary self-identity as a deviant ­ produces little change in everyday routine or lifestyle ­ happens when individual engages in deviance infrequently, has few compunctions about it and encounters few practical problems when doing it ­ occurs In early stages of deviant career Secondary deviation- occurs when an individual accepts the label of deviant. The result is adoption of a deviant self-identity that confirms and stabilizes the deviant lifestyle o when they see their lives as substantially modified by deviance, they moved into this stage o rules are applied to some people and not others ­ deviant drifts between two moral worlds, in young offender subcultures, deviance is facilitated by certain moral rhetoric and by other aspects of the subterranean tradition ­ agents of social control help check deviant behaviors o moral entrepreneurs create and reinforce rules Moral rhetoric- a set of claims and assertions deviants make to justify their deviant behavior ­ moral rhetoric of a group is an important component of socialization into a deviant identity ­ each rhetoric consists of a set of largely taken-for-granted guiding principles, sometimes logically inconsistent and always selectively applied according to the social situations in which youths find themselves ­ rhetoric of egoism is most often used by those who still feel guilty about their deviant acts o usually early offenders, who have learned various ways to neutralize the stigma that comes with their behavior ­ later young offenders are more likely to use instrumental rhetoric to justify their acts o stress the power they bring to bear against people who are otherwise more powerful and uncontrollable Master status- status overriding all others in perceived importance Career contingency- unintended event, process or situation that occurs by chance, beyond the control of the person pursuing the career o happens from changes in their environment or personal circumstances Continuance commitment- adherence to a criminal or other identity arising from the unattractiveness or unavailability of alternative lifestyles Self-enhancing commitment- commitment leading to a better opinion of oneself Self-degrading commitment- commitment leading to a poorer opinion of oneself ­ have the objective alternative of redefining the values and penalties associated with their committed identity ­ two areas of interactionist theories can be seen as contributions to the study of socialization in crime: differential association and acquisition of a criminal identity Differential Association can be used to explain addictive drugs and dependence on alcohol and maybe on mental disorders ­ theory consists of 9 propositions describing the complicated pattern of interaction 1. people learn how to engage in crime 2. this learning comes through interaction with others who have already learned criminal ways this learning occurs in small, face-face groups 4. what is learned is criminal technique, motives, attitudes, and rationalizations 5. among criminals, 1 important learned attitude is disregard for the community’s legal code 6. 1 acquires this attitude by differentially associating with those who hold it and failing to associate with those who do not 7. differential association with criminals and non-criminals vary in frequency, duration, priority and intensity 8. learning criminal behavior through differential association rests on the same principles as learning any other kind of behavior and 9. criminal behavior is a response to the same cultural needs and values as non-criminal behavior. Neo-Marxist Critique 4 ­ objection to interactionist theory is its failure to relate crime and other forms of deviance to the larger society o fails to account for historical and contemporary political and economic interests ­ labeling theorists overlook the division between the powerful and powerless o powerful also violate laws Empiricists Critique ­ interactionists only examine labeled deviants ­ argue that labeling as a cause o deviance is inadequately conceptualized ­ claim that labeling theory lacks testable propositions Ethnomethodological Critique ­ labeling theory tendency to neglect this question: how do people make sense of their social world? Ethnomethodology is the study of common sense knowledge ­ they study the stock of knowledge people have of their social and physical world, with this knowledge, they engage in common sense reasoning about events, processes, things and characteristics experience in everyday life and when people reason together this way, their thoughts often coalescence into a social reality Primary deviance  Societal reaction  Secondary deviance Theory Theorists Key elements Labeling Lemert Becker Primary deviance is infrequent deviance that involves little change in routine or lifestyle -occurs when deviance becomes a ay of life and a part of the deviant’s self image Differential association Sutherland Crime and delinquency are primarily learned in interaction with others in small, face to face groups - involves learning techniques of deviance CH. 14– Social Control Theory ­ social disorganization theory felt that disorganized communities did not provide meaningful employment to residents and did not have strong family, schools and churches o this lack of effective social controls led to high rates of crime Social control theory- theory proposes that people refrain from committing criminal acts b/c they do not want to jeopardize their bonds to conventional society ­ assumes humans are neither good nor evil ­ why don’t we all do it? Social bond- the degree to which an individual has ties to his/her society o in hirschi’s theory, social bonds include attachment, commitment, involvement and belief Ecological fallacy- a research error made when data or info is gathered at a group level and then conclusions are drawn about individuals ­ ex. areas with high employment may have high crime rates but this does not tell us that those crime are committed by unemployed people Early Social Control Theories Albert Reiss ­ if controls were absent, break down or in conflict, delinquency will result ­ he found that success/failure n probation was associated with the absence of both social and person control ­ used court records of youths who were officially defined as delinquent Ivan Nye ­ he developed a technique for measuring self-reported delinquency and gathered his data from random sample of high school students in 3 small American cities ­ control theory assumes delinquency is not caused in a positive sense but prevented. Weak controls free the person to commit acts by lowering their cost relative to available alternatives ­ he believed that family was the most significant group in the development of social controls Travis Hirschi and the Social Bond ­ four interrelated aspects of the so
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