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Sociology 2140 Midterm: Sociology Winter Midterm

Course Code
SOC 2140
Darlene Balandin
Study Guide

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Sociology 2140: Social Problems
Winter Midterm Notes
February 5th 2015
Mooney Text:
Chapter 4
Crime and Violence:
-Fewer than 1% of Canadians regard prostitution as a “very serious” social problem
-The majority of Canadian homicide victims had some type of relationship with their
-Popular commentators, religious figures, and politicians have blamed various activities
(dancing, listening to popular music, watching WWE wrestling) and public figures (Elvis
Presley, Marilyn Monroe) for the corruption of youth and dissolution of social values
-In the past, such activities such as billiards, parachuting, surfing, attending the theatre,
amateur archeology, horse racing, butterfly collecting, motorcycling, and ballroom
dancing have all been identified as morally disreputable and socially problematic
-What counts as “crime” changes over time and place  although criminal patterns and
justice systems share similar attributes throughout the world, dramatic differences exist in
international crime and violence rates (Gibraltar has the highest reported crime rates of
any country in the world)
-In general, industrialized countries have higher rates of reported crime than nonindustrial
countries (U.S homicide rate is three times higher than Canada’s, four times higher than
Western Europe’s, and six times higher than Great Britain’s, and seven times higher than
-Homicide rates in Canada show that… “Since 1961 there have been two distinct trends.
Following a period of stability between 1961 and 19666, homicide rate more than
doubled over the next ten years, reaching a peak of 3.03 homicides victims per 100,000
populations. (The 2006 rate remains higher than the rates in the early 1960s)
-83% of homicide victims knew their attacker, a little bit more than 1/3 are killed by a
family member, while another 1/3 are killed by an acquaintance and an 12% by someone
known to them through criminal activities.
-Poverty, isolation, family breakdown, and domestic violence all are distinct factors in
these killings

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-The National Symbol of Canada Act, which identifies the beaver as symbolic of
Canadian sovereignty, to the Income Tax Act, whose rules and regulations are bound in
an almost 2000 page volume amended yearly, our social life bound together by laws
-Canada has a single criminal code: Most of the behaviour that we would commonly
recognize as crimes (assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, murder) are contained within the
federal Criminal Code  Crime: the violation of norms that are written into laws
-Three major types of statistics are used to measure crime:
official statistics / victimization surveys / self-report offender surveys
-Since 1962, Canada has used a system called the Canadian Uniform Crime Reporting
Survey (UCR) to “provide a measure of reliability for crime statistics through providing
police agencies with a standardized set of procedures for collecting and reporting crime
-“Crimes of Violence” groups together such acts as homicides, attempted homicides,
assault, abduction, sexual assault, and robbery. “Property Offences” include such offences
as breaking and entering, theft of motor vehicle, possession of stolen goods, and fraud
-Not only do many incidents of crime go unreported, but police also fail to record all of
the crimes reports that they receive (Thus, official crime statistics may be a better
indication of what police are doing than what criminals are doing)
-The homicide rate in Western Canada is much higher than that of Ontario. (Most
murders are from stabbings, knives, strangling, beating, and burning…guns are seldom
used in Canada)
-Victimization surveys ask people if they have been victims of crime. (The risk of violent
victimization for children and youth increased as the child ages: Rates of violent
victimization for male and female victims remain relatively similar up until the age of 8,
after which male rates exceed those of females. (Because youth increase their use of
alcohol and other drugs, and are subject to less parental supervision, as they get older,
they expose themselves to increased victimization risks. Youth account for 61% of all
victims of sexual assault and 60$ of those assaults occur at the hands of a family member.
-Self-report surveys ask offenders about their criminal behaviour. The sample may
consist of a population with known police records, such as prison populations, or it may
include respondents from the general population, such as university students.
-Marcus Felson’s research over three decades has repeatedly shown that a wide range of
criminal acts never wind up in official crime reporting statistics. (Among those activities
that rarely get reported are: cannabis use, underage drinking, shoplifting, private assaults,
and small instances of fraud)

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-Self-report surveys reveal that virtually every adult has engaged in some type of criminal
activity. Why, then, is only a fraction of the population labeled as criminal? Only a small
proportion of the total population of law violators is every convicted of a crime
-Some explanations of crime and violence focus on physiological aspects of offenders,
such as psychopathic personalities, unhealthy relationships with parents, and mental
illness. Other crime theories focus on potential biological variables, such as central
nervous system malfunctions, stress, hormones, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or a
presumed genetic predisposition toward aggression. (Theorists emphasize the role of
social factors)
-Not all perspectives approach crime and deviance in purely negative terms, some are
interested in the positive features of crime and violence
Structural-Functionalist Perspective  Crime is functional for society. One of the
functions of crime and other deviant behaviour is that it strengthens group cohesion: The
deviant individual violates rules of conduct that the rest of the community holds in high
-Strain Theory: A theory that argues that when legitimate means of acquiring culturally
defined goals are limited by the structure of society, the resulting strain may lead to crime
of other deviance.
-Conformity occurs when individuals accept the culturally defined goals and the socially
legitimate means of achieving them. Innovation, the mode of adaptation most associated
with criminal behaviour, explains the high rat of crime committed by uneducated and
poor individuals who lack access to legitimate means of achieving the social goals of
wealth and power.
-Ritualism: When the individual accepts a lifestyle of hard work, but reject the cultural
goal of monetary rewards. Retreatism involves rejecting both the cultural goal of success
and the socially legitimate means of achieving it. Rebels may use social or political
activism to replace the goal of personal wealth with the goal of social justice and equality
-Subculture theory: A theory that argues that certain groups or subcultures in society have
values and attitudes that are conducive to crime and violence (Many inner-city youths
live be a survival code on the streets that emphasizes gaining the respect of others
through violence – the tougher you are and the more others fear you, the more respect
you will have in the community)
Conflict Perspective  Theories of crime suggest that deviance is inevitable whenever
two groups have differing degrees of power. The more inequality in a society, the greater
the crime rate in that society. Social inequality may lead individuals to commit crimes
such as armed robbery and burglary as a means of economic survival. Other individuals,
who are angry and frustrated by their low position in the socio-economic hierarchy, may
express their rage and frustration through crimes such as drug use, assault, and homicide.
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