Midterm Notes

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC307H5
Professor
David Brownfield
Semester
Winter

Description
THURSDAY M ARCH 28 Forty questions (multiple choice and True/False items; no short answer essay questions) 1. Lectures on victimization surveys (correlates of age, gender, income, race, and place of residence)  Canadian Urban Victimization Surveys were first conducted by the Solicitor General in 1982 o Only major cities were included in the survey (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary) o About 700,000 “personal victimizations” reported and more than 900,00 “household victimizations”  Victims often claim (60%) that they did not report an offence to the police because the “incident was not important”  Skogan notes that in contrast, serious violent crimes – including armed robbery and Level 3 assaults (aggravated assault) – are less likely to be reported to the police than many property crimes  Fear of retaliation or revenge is a factor for some victims being unwilling to report an offence to the police (about 7%)  About 1/5 of victims say they did not report an offence because they believed that the police could not do anything about it  About ¼ say that their victimization was a “personal matter”  Three types of crimes are described in the national crime survey (NCS): o Crimes against persons wherein there is some contact between offender and victim o Crimes against households o Crimes against commercial establishments (which don’t include against a person)  Limitations: limited range of criminal offences included in the surveys, limited information available about the characteristics of the offenders, interview process limitations  The correlates of crime are very similar across all three major methods; both victimization surveys and self-reports show that the official police records under-estimate the actual number of offences  Rate of homicide in Canada remains stable  Businesses are twice as likely to be victimized by burglary  Whites are slightly more likely to be victims of “personal crimes” while blacks have much higher risk of being victims of serious violent offences  Income is positively correlated with the likelihood of being a victim (however victims of serious crimes of violence are more likely to be among the poorest)  Measures related to arousal are low among criminals, testosterone is positively correlated, truancy, disciplinary problems, low grades 2. The film on coroners and medical examiners  Coroners and medical examiners study causes of death in Canada (no elected officials)  In Ontario, coroners are licensed physicians, usually but not exclusively family physicians  In Quebec, there is a mix of medical and non-medical coroners  In British Columbia, there is predominately a non-physician coroner system  Alberta and Nova Scotia are examples of medical examiner systems  In the US, a coroner is typically an elected public official who investigates and certifies deaths o Majority lack a MD degree and their medical training is variable o A medical examiner is typically a physician who holds the degree of MD 3. Lectures on subcultural theory  Subcultural theorists reject conception of crime as instinctual behaviour; state crime is caused by learned beliefs of a group (crime is conceived of as “conformity”)  Middle class subcultural theory influenced by research on adolescence, and increased crime among more affluent  Subcultural theories build upon the work of Merton; deviance is the result of individuals conforming to the values and norms of a social group to which they belong – if you belong to a social group whose norms differ from those of the main society then you will become a deviant  Cloward and Ohlin: developed Cohen’s theory – argued that there are three different types of subcultures that young people might enter into: o Criminal: emerge in areas where there is a lot of organized adult crime with criminal role models for young people where they learn to commit criminal acts o Conflict: emerge in areas where there is little organized adult crime, so instead of learning how to commit serious monetary crimes, the young people instead focus on gaining respect through gang violence o Retreatist: young people who have even failed in the criminal subcultures, retreat to drugs and alcohol abuse to deal with their rejection 5. Questions from the following topics: Shaw and McKay’s research refuted biological theories about ethnicity and crime  Shaw and McKay focused on the geographic distribution of crime and delinquency  Transition zones (areas changing from residential to commercial/industrial use) with highest crime rates  Transition zones had highest crime rate for many different ethnic groups  Shaw and McKay argued that this was not consistent with biological explanations of crime  Descriptions of social disorganization in areas with high crime rates – institutions of family, schools, religion, etc. were not effective  Disorganized neighbourhoods lacked discipline over children (more reliance on police)  Criminal and delinquent traditions develop in gangs, and may be passed on to the next generation  These criminal traditions may replace absence of effective conventional institutions such as the family  Cohen describes similar level of organization in high crime rate and low crime rate areas Compare rational choice (considers costs and benefits of crime) with deterrence theories Rational choice  People freely choose their behaviour and are motivated by the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure  Evaluate their choice of actions in accordance with each option’s ability to produce advantage, pleasure, and happiness  Micro perspective on why individual offenders decide to commit specific crimes; people choose to engage in crime because it can be rewarding, easy, satisfying and fun  People are rational beings whose behaviour can be controlled or modified by a fear of punishment; offenders can be persuaded to desist from offending by intensifying their fear of punishment  Individuals are responsible for their choices and thus to blame for their criminality  Offenders weigh the potential benefits and consequences than make a rational choice Deterrence  The use of punishment as a threat to deter people from offending  Specific punishments imposed on offenders will “deter” or prevent them from committing further crimes  Fear of punishment will prevent others from committing similar crimes  Specific deterrence: focuses on the individual in question – discourage them from future acts by instilling an understanding of the consequences  General deterrence: focuses on general prevention of crime by making examples of specific deviants Primary and secondary deviance  Lemert developed the idea as a way to explain the process of labeling  The difference between primary and secondary deviance is the in the reactions other people have to the original act of deviance  Primary deviance: deviant act that provokes little reaction and has a limited effect on a person’s self- esteem – the deviant does not change his or her behaviour as a result of this act  Secondary deviance: repeated deviant behaviour that is brought on by other people’s negative reactions to the original act of primary deviance Field experiments on police patrols and seat belts found no significant effects  Random assignment of subjects is not permitted in field experiments  Random assignment makes it possible to compare control and experimental groups  Robertson assessed compliance with seat belt laws in a quasi-experiment o Control group was similar in terms of income, age composition, etc.  Preventive patrol experiment assessed both public f
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