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Criminology Final Notes.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2266A/B
Jennifer Reynolds

Criminology Final Notes Social Structure and Conflict Theories What is social structure? - The way that our society is organized; the social organization of society - The way institutions function in our society; family, education - People interested in social structure are interested in group crime - Laws are basically there to make sure society functions, it tells us what the proper ways for behaving are Key Sociological Explanations for Crime - Crime is the result of an individual’s locations within the structure of society - Crime is the end product of various social processes, especially inappropriate socialization and social learning - Crime is the product of class struggle – the perspective emphasizes the nature of existing power relationships between social groups Social Structure Theories Defined - Social structure theories – they explain crime by reference to the economic and social arrangements (or structure) of society - Social structure theorists view members of socially and economically disadvantaged groups as being more likely to commit crimes, and they see economic and social disenfranchises as fundamental causes of crime - Looks at how society is structured economically, politically and socially; they look at the whole of society to understand why some groups commit crimes at a higher rates than others - There is widespread inequality, especially in the West (NA) Type of Social Structure Theories - Social disorganization – Durkheim; from mechanical to collective solidarity - Strain theory [+ Anomie] - Social ecology – the big picture of society/social structure as a whole; looking at specific communities and seeing how they play into the whole Social Disorganization and the Chicago School - Social Disorganization Theory o A perspective on crime and deviance that sees society as a kind of organism and crime and deviance as a kind of disease or social pathology o Social disorganization – a condition said to exist when a group is faced with social change, uneven development of culture, maladaptiveness, disharmony, conflict, and lack of consensus o Social ecology – the attempt to link the structure and organization of any human community to interactions with its localized environment o Cultural transmission – the transmission of delinquency through successive generations of people living in the same area through a process of social communication o Ecological theory – a type of sociological approach that emphasizes demographics and geographics and that sees the social disorganisation that characterizes delinquency areas as a major cause of criminality and victimization  Areas and demographics conducive to crime - Chicago School of Ecology o The first criminological theory to be developed in the US was the Chicago school of human ecology o Chicago School of criminology – an ecological approach to explaining crime that examined how social disorganization contributes to social pathway o Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay  Social ecology – describes the interrelations of human beings and the communities in which they live  ‘natural’ areas of crime  People likely to commit crimes are usually from the same areas – there are areas in the city that are more conducive to crime than others  Ecologist theory goes hand in hand with routine activities theory- The Criminology of Place - Builds upon the contributions of routine activities theory and situational crime prevention, as well as ecological approaches - It emphasizes the importance of geographical location and architectural features as they are associated with the prevalence of victimization - Crime Prevention? o Routine activities theory  Lack of suitable guardians  Motivated offenders  Suitable targets Strain Theory - People have the same goals, but have different means to achieve them - Robert Merton: strain theory views crime as a normal response to the conditions that limit the opportunities for some individuals to obtain the economic success for which we are all supposed to strive - Anomie – a social condition where norms are unknown or lacking; a sense of normlessness - Norms – the goal or things we should seek to have or be - Means – how is it that we achieve them - Strain theory – a sociological approach that posits a disjuncture between socially and subculturally sanctioned means and goals as the cause of criminal behaviour  not everyone has the same access to the same means, as a result, some people have the upper hand Social-Psychological Response - 5 modes of adaptation to anomie - Individuals adapt to anomie by accepting or rejecting goals and means o Conformity o Ritualism o Retreatism o Innovation o Rebellion General Strain Theory - Robert Agnew - GST – a perspective that suggests that law breaking behaviour is a coping mechanism that enables those who engage in it to deal with the socioemotional problems generated by negative social relations o It is not the strain itself, but how it is dealt with - Sources of stress produced by strain: o Strain caused by the failure to achieve positively valued goals – goals become impossible to achieve o Strain caused by the disjunction of expectations and achievements – when people compare themselves to others who have what they want and make excuses for it o Strain as the removal of positively valued stimuli from the individual – losing a girlfriend or death in the family o Strain as the presentation of negative stimuli – physical or sexual abuse, not getting into the university or program you wanted to; not getting the job you wanted - This results in anti-social behaviour  drug use, criminal behaviour, delinquency Differential Opportunity Theory - Cloward and Ohlin: combine strain and social disorganization - Illegitimate opportunity structure – things that society as a whole would not approve of - Reaction formation – the process by which a person openly rejects that which he or she wants or aspires to but cannot obtain or achieve – retreatists, rebels - Not everyone lives in the same types of communities and has the same opportunities - Applying Differential Opportunity: Gangs o Why do people join gangs?  To obtain and take advantage of the most rewarding illegitimate opportunities, aspiring delinquents often need an ‘in’ o Gang types that develop from the frustration generated by blocked opportunities:  Criminal gangs – the mob, or the mafia, basically criminal enterprises; these exist in stable or poor areas, many young people want to get involved, and there are also many older members to show them the ropes this is seen as a career, people aspire to be a part of this type of group; you learn how to be a successful gang member and learn your role  Conflict gangs – these can develop in communities with either legitimate or illegitimate means; they are highly disorganized, almost the opposite of criminal gangs; this is more related to individual crime, not organized, petty, people don’t necessarily aspire to join these groups; violence is a way to gain higher status; they have a reputation for being “a tough guy”  Retreatist gangs – double failures, unwilling to gain success through legitimate or illegitimate opportunities; we often see this in drug users, they are just looking for a way to buy more, they gain status through the approval of their peers; reject everything; they just want to get high Subcultural Theory - A subculture is a collection of values and preferences, which is communicated to subcultural participants through a process of socialization - Subcultures differ from the larger culture in that they claim the allegiance of smaller groups of people - Criminal subcultures? o Cohen and Delinquent Subcultures  More likely to commit it o Violent subcultures  Geographic distinctions among violent subcultures in different parts of the US  The people in the same parts of the country are more acceptable of violence - Subcultural Theory: Status Frustration o Cohen o Distinct criminal subcultures might develop, particularly among lower-class individuals because these are the people expected to feel the bite of blocked opportunity more sharply o Short-run hedonism – greatest amount of pleasure for least amount of pain; short term – immediate gratification o Much lower-class crime and delinquency is expressive rather than instrumental  “Middle class measuring rod”  People become frustrated when they can’t measure up to what is expected of them Impact of Social Structural Theories? - Ecology and social disorganization - Subculture - Social disorganization  Chicago area project: treating communities from which offenders came - Shaw & McKay organized a number of programs aimed at generating or strengthening a sense of community within neighbourhoods - Canada “Head Start” programs o Help builds self-esteem in young people Critique of Social Structure Theories - The fundamental assumption of social structure approaches is that social injustice, racism and poverty are the root cause of crime o Negates social responsibility perspective Policy Recommendation - We need to increase opportunities - We need to decrease aspirations - More people need to be able to fall under the middle category of having access to the means and the ability to achieve the means - More programming for youth and young people (more funding for young people to go to school) Conflict Perspective - An analytical perspective on social organization that holds that conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life itself and can never be fully resolved - Social class o Proletariat o Bourgeoisie - Capitalism is the reason that all crime occurs and the only way to fight crime is to eliminate capitalism Radical Criminology - A perspective that holds that the cause of crime are rooted in social conditions that empower the wealthy and the politically well-organized but disenfranchise the less fortunate - Conflict perspective - “war on drugs” analogy Karl Marx - Capitalism - Mode of production - Means of production o Monopoly - Bourgeoisie - Proletariat Contradiction of Capitalism - What if the masses ever realized their oppression - Elites are always waging a battle - To keep status ruling class manipulates laws, enforcement, media, academic community, etc. Law in Capitalistic Societies - Consensus vs. conflict perspective - Emphasizes and preserves private property, which belongs to the ruling class - Appearance of promoting legal equality to pacify the powerless by making them feel good about the status quo and obscuring the true nature and extent of their oppression Instrumental vs. Structural Marxism - Instrumental o Law, law enforcement agencies, and government are instruments of the ruling class to maintain their advantageous position in society and to control those who pose a threat to that position - Structural o Law not always against the poor – is used to maintain long-term interests of the capitalistic system and control members of ant class that pose a threat to its existence Marxist Theory Summarized - Society is based on advanced capitalistic economy - State is organized into severe interests of the dominant economic class - Criminal law is an instrument of the state to maintain the existing social and economic order - Crime control occurs through institutions and agencies established and administered by an elite - Contradictions of advanced capitalism require subordinate classes to remain oppressed - Only with collapse of capitalist society and operation of new society can there be a solution to crime problem Friedrich Engels - Wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 o Workers were social outcasts, ignored by the structure of capitalism and treated as brutes o Capitalist systems are brutal, turning workers into animal like creatures without a will of their own Karl Marx and Revolution - According to Marx and Engels, criminals came from a third class in society – the lumpenproletariat – who would play no decisive role in the expected revolution - Crime was the product of an unjust, alienating, and demoralizing social conditions that denied productive labour to the masses of unemployed o The origin of crime has come to be known as the primitive rebellion st Willem Bonger: The 1 Marxist Criminologist - Criminality and Economic Conditions (1969) - The social sentiments that concerned him were altruism and its opposite, egoism o All individuals in capitalist societies are infected by egoism because they are alienated from authentic social relationships with their fellow human beings o Prone to crime - The root cause of crime is the capitalist mode of production Conflict Theory – George Vold (1958) - Believed that criminal acts are a consequence of direct contact between forces struggling to control society - Explanation for 4 types of crime o Arising from political protests o Resulting from labour disputes o Arising from disputes between and within competing unions o Arising from racial and ethnic clashes William Chambliss – Law, Order, and Power - Legal norms show the importance of interest-group activity, not the public interest - Judges rely on their personal values when they make decisions in trouble cases - Law enforcement agencies process a disproportionately high number of the politically weak and powerless Steven Spitzer (1975) - Marxian theory of deviance - Key to the superstructure (social order of ruling and underclass) is regulation and management of problem populations - This is done by deviance processing o These problems threaten the social relations of production - Deviant Management o You become eligible for deviant management when you  Steal from the rich  Unable to perform wage labour  Use drugs to escape rather than be productive  Refuse traditional socializing functions of school and validity of “family life” o Promote alternative forms of social organizations - Problem Populations o They are labeled as such by  Directly through contradicting the capitalist mode  Through disturbances in the system of class rule o Two groups are then established through official control  Social junk – elderly, handicapped  Social dynamite – people who might be interested in overthrowing capitalism - Easing the Overproduction of Deviance o Normalization – changing social norms o Conversion – convert some people o Containment – geographic location o Support criminal enterprise – granting power and influence through organized crime Class, State, and Crime (Quinney, 1980) - Rich must violate laws to secure existing system o They also commit social injuries that are not criminal but relate to racism, sexism, exploitation - Crimes of the rich o Crimes of economic domination o Crimes of government o Crimes of corruption - Crimes of the working class o Crimes of accommodation o Crimes of resistance Peacemaking Criminology (Pepinsky and Quinney) - Historical figures o Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. - Past: Crime as a “war” against someone/something: o Return violence with violence o Force criminals to be remorseful, obedience is key - We must begin to understand the suffering that leads to criminal behaviour o Seeks compassion o Harmony o Social justice - Crime control agencies and the citizens they serve should work together to alleviate social problem and human suffering and thus reduce crime - Peace model – an approach to crime control that focuses on effective ways for developing a shared consensus on critical issues that could seriously affect the quality of life - Participatory justice – a relatively informal type of criminal justice case processing that makes use of local community resources rather than requiring traditional forms of official intervention - Restorative justice – a postmodern perspective that stresses “remedies and restoration rather than prison, punishment and victim neglect” Impact of Peacemaking theory - Identifies capitalism and social inequality as a main predictor of crime - Criminal acts have political undertones - Development of law by the powerful for the powerful o Controlling aggregate populations - Peacemaking: offers new approach to crime control through medication Critique of Conflict Theories - Much of Marxist criminology appears to be in a time warp in that is assumes that the conditions prevailing in Marx’s time still exist in the same form today in advanced capitalistic societies - Peacemaking criminologists never offer any notion as to how crime rates can be reduced beyond counseling that we appreciate criminals’ point of view and not to be so punitive Social Process Theories of Criminology Social Structure vs. Social Process - Social Process Theories o Micro-level analysis o Operate from “symbolic interactionism” perspective  How people interpret and define their social reality and the meanings they attach interaction o Criminal and delinquent socialization o more specifically at the individual than the whole – how people interpret and define their social reality and the meanings they attach to interactions are used to explain the wide array of social phenomenon o 3 main  People act differently based on the interaction  Meanings are based on the types of interactions and how heavily those interactions weigh  Meanings are applied and modified depending upon the situation o Individuals are socialized into crime (something that is learned – starts at an early age) - Labeling Theory o Not the act, but the label that others attach to the act  Who applies the label? Who is labeled? o Stigma  Self-fulfilling prophecy (Tannenbaum)  Negative evaluation of others that distorts that view of the individual in society  People internalize/self-identify with this label o An act is committed and a label is applied – leads to negative stigma – leads to more deviant behaviours o Society as a whole tends to apply the label (moral entrepreneurs) o People that are less well off, marginalized or disadvantaged in some way are more likely to be labelled o Eric Lamert (1972)  Primary deviance – before it becomes a way of life  Secondary deviance – commitment to criminal lifestyle  becomes self-identity  Master status – status that overrides all statuses – all other statuses get erased with criminality o Moral Rhetorics  The set of claims they use to justify their behaviour - Extending Labelling Theory o John Braithwaite (1989)  Nations with low crime rate are those where shaming has great social power  Shaming makes them less likely to commit it o Disintegrative shaming vs. Reintegrative shaming  Reintegrative – individuals acts are condemned – but the individual is not just the act is labeled as criminal/deviant - Moral Entrepreneurs o Someone who is engaged in the process of defining new rules and laws or who advocates stricter enforcement of existing laws o Crusading reformer  Asserts the existence of a particular condition or state of affairs  Define this condition as harmful or undesirable  Try to arouse support of the public o California’s 3 Strike’s Law Social Learning Theory - Differential association - Differential reinforcement theory - Neutralization theory Social Learning Theory - Albert Bandura - Social Learning Theory (1973) o Pulled together principles of learning  Classical conditioning  Operant conditioning  Vicarious learning o Bobo Doll Experiment  Watching aggression leads to increased aggression Differential Association - Criminal behavior = learned behaviour o Involves techniques and attitudes o ‘excess of definitions favourable to law violation’ o Principle part of learning occurs in intimate groups - This is a general theory - 9 propositions o Criminal behaviour is learned o Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication o The principle part of learning criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal groups o When criminal behaviour is learned, the learning includes techniques of committing the crime, the specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes o The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of legal code as favourable and unfavourable o A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to violations of law over definitions unfavourable to violations of law o Differential associations vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity o The process of learning criminal behaviour by association with criminal and anti-criminal patterns involves all the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning o While criminal behaviour is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by them sense non-criminal behaviour is an expression of the same needs and values Differential Reinforcement Theory - Ronald Akers o Now, social learning theory - Central Concepts o Differential association o Imitations (role modeling) o Conditioning/differential reinforcement - We learn crime in the same way we learn everything else - Conditioning/differential reinforcement o Positive reinforcement o Negative reinforcement o Positive punishment o Negative punishment Neutralization Theory - David Matza and Gresham Sykes - Cognitive dissonance - Behaviour falls along a continuum between total freedom and total restraint o Drift - Techniques allow a person to temporarily ‘drift away’ from conventional behaviour - Techniques of neutralization o Denial of responsibility o Denial of injury o Denial of victim o Condemnation of the condemners o Appeal to higher loyalties Social Control Theories - Any action on the part of others, deliberate or not, that facilitates conformity to social rules - Asks ‘why don’t we all break the law’ o Because we don’t conform Early Social Control Theories - Albert Reiss o Distinction between social controls and personal controls that have been internalized by individual - Ivan Nye o 4 types of controls  Direct controls  Internalized control  Indirect control  Availability of alternative ways to goals Containment Theory - Walter Reckless - Self-image and ‘ego strength’ o Internal pushes o External pressures o External pulls - While all people perceive inducements to crime, some are better able to resist tem than others Social Bond Theory - Travis Hirschi (1969) - Individuals are more likely to turn to illegitimate means if their bonds to society is weak or broken - Primary importance of family - Typical delinquent lacks o Attachment – ties to other people o Commitment – pursues conventional or traditional goals in society o Involvement - how involved are they in the conventional goals o Beliefs – do they actually believe in these – the norms that exist in society General Theory of Crime - Hirschi and Gottfredson (1990) - Low self-control o Established in early life o Stable component of criminal personality - Why o Absence of adequate childhood socialization Integrated and Contemporary Theories of Criminology Integrated Theories - Multifactor Theories o SDM – social development model o Elliot’s Integrated Theory o Based on the idea that the reason that people engage in crime is that it is developmental result but it is also social (impacts the family) - Latent Trait Approach o Crime and human nature o General theory of crime o Criminals have some sort of inherent trait that makes them more likely to participate in crime than others - Life-Course Theories o Glueck’s o Farrington’s Theory of Delinquent Development o Sampson and Laub’s Age-Graded Theory o Why some individuals continue to persist in crime and why some stop doing crime that can be used to explain career criminals Multifactor Theories - A combination of variables that cause crime - The Social Development Model o Integration of social control, social learning, and structural theories  Weis, Catalono, Hawkins o Community-level risk factors contribute to criminality  Social control, disorganization and opportunities o Whether these are forms of social control (law enforcement) or indirect – social norms o Opportunities – some are more likely to engage but the criminal opportunity must present itself o Key is the family unit and the bonds within it – if children are socialized well and have strong bonds with their family then we can reduce crime - SDM o Children are socialized to develop bonds to their family through  Perceived opportunities for involvement in activities and interactions with others  The degree of involvement and interaction  The skills to participate in these interactions  The reinforcement [feedback] they perceive for their participation o To control risk of antisocial behaviour, children must maintain pro-social bonds o Major premise – weak social controls produce crime – a person’s place in the structure influences his or her bond to society o Strengths – combines elements of social structural, social control, and social learning theories – accounts for variations in the crime rates - Elliot’s Integrated Theory o Combined strain, social learning theories into single model:  Adolescents who live in socially disorganized areas (A) and who are improperly socialized at home (B) face significant risk of perceiving strain (C) which can lead to weakened bonds with conventional groups, activities, and norms (D)  Weak bonds and high levels of perceived strain lead some youth to reject conventional values (E) and seek out deviant peer groups (F)  From these associations came positive reinforcements for delinquent behaviour (G) and attachment to delinquent groups, when combined with weak bonds to conventional groups and norms, leads to high levels of delinquent behaviour (H) o Social bonds  Similar to SDM with the addition of the concept of strain  Association with delinquent peers increases risk of criminal involvement o Another key is the element of strain – unless they perceive some type of strain and they deviate from conventional values, then we will see criminality o Testing IT  Research supports IT - Latent Trait Approach o Latent Trait Theory  Traits generally exist at birth – ‘you can inherit criminality’  They don’t think that this can ever be fixed – its biological  Master trait guides behaviour  Impulsivity  Control balance  Oppression o Life Course Theory  As people pass through life they change  The propensity for crime changes over the life course – multiple pathways to crime – multiple classes of criminals – crime and its causes are interactional  the
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