Sociology 2266A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Property Crime, Hate Crime, Scientific Method

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Sociology 2266A: Midterm
Week 1: Introduction to Crime
- Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes the process of:
o Making laws
o Breaking laws
o Reacting to the breaking of laws
- The objective of Criminology is the development of a body of general and verified principles regarding these
processes (come up with methods and theories to explain these things how laws are created, why people engage in
crime, is racial profiling a real thing)
- Crime = an act with a subsequent punishment
o Exists on a continuum
o The more severe the crime, the bigger the penalty
- Moors knowing not to commit a crime, the expectations of what not to do (ie. theft, incest, murder, etc.)
- Folkways more culturally practiced norms
- Laws exist in Canada that do not exist elsewhere marijuana laws, homosexuality…
- Criminology in the most simplistic of terms means the study of crime
- Crime is a social construction except for universally wrong behaviour (rape, murder, etc.)
- Questions to consider:
o Who makes the laws?
o Who breaks the law and why do those people break the law?
o What is the stereotype for someone who commits crime?
o How does society react to criminals?
Criminology
- Scientific method is utilized in studying criminology
o Objective research methods
o Also use content analysis, surveys, historical analysis, experimental designs, and so on.
o You must use reliable scientific evidence
How is criminology different from other disciplines?
- Interdisciplinary it involves two or more academic fields
o Other disciplines involved in criminology: sociology, psychology, law, womens studies, politics, economics,
etc.
- Criminology vs. Criminal Justice
o Different from criminal justice: looking at the process of criminal justice, explaining the origins, extent,
nature of crime
o CJ is more about looking at agencies of social control and seeing how they react to crime
- Criminology vs. Deviance
o Acts that go outside the norm, not always criminal (tattoos and piercings)
o Is crime and criminal behaviour always deviant?
Crime and Deviance
- The overlap between crime and deviance
The Discipline of Criminology
- Criminology is comprised of 6 major areas:
1. The definition of crime and criminals
Who should be defined as a criminal? What should be defined as criminal behaviour?
A lot of people argue that crime is something that harms others (NOT TRUE! Not all crimes are
socially harmful)
2. The origins and role of law
Who created the law? What role does the law play in our society?
3. The social distribution of crime
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Characteristics of criminals, crime rates and trends, differences between different cities, distribution of
types of crime
4. The causation of crime
Why do some commit crime and others do not?
5. Patterns of criminal behaviour
The people serious crimes, petty crimes, etc.
6. Societal reactions to crime
How the labelling process affects people stigmas (ex-con follows you around)
The Criminological Enterprise: Subareas in Criminology
1. Criminal statistics
Gathering valid crime data (universal crime report), new research methods (are there better ways
to test our hypotheses), trends of crime (differences between cities), how much crime occurs
2. Sociology of law
Origins of law, measuring forces that change or create new laws (texting and driving = new
law, what forces were in place to make this illegal)
3. Theory construction
Coming up with ways to predict and explain criminal behaviour, understanding crime rates and
trends why do people behave the way they do
4. Criminal behavior systems
Looking at nature and cause of specific types of crime
5. Penology
Studying corrections and how we go about controlling peoples behaviour – parole, probation,
community service, prison, etc.
6. Victimology
Looking at the other side of the coin the victims how we can go about aiding crime victims,
what happens after you are victimized (mental health consequences), how victim behaviour can
be a determinant of crime
Crime: an act that violates the criminal law and is punishable with jail terms, fines, and other sanctions
- Several issues exist regarding the definition
- Is white-collar crime really crime? The only white-collar crime that is codified is fraud
- Crime is social defined we wont all agree on a specific law
Ex. Marijuana (Harper vs. Trudeau)
- Crime changes over time
2 Approaches to the Study of Rule-Making
- Consensus approach laws represent the agreement of most of the people in society that certain acts should be
prohibited by criminal law
o Utopian idea that certain things should be deemed as criminal (violent crime, property related crime)
o Based on agreement and the law applies equally to everyone
- Conflict approach laws are passed by members of the ruling class in order to maintain their privileges position
by keeping the common people under control.
o Based on the ideas of Karl Marx He believed that the difference in classes created a conflict, and blamed all
conflicts on capitalism
o (Burgoise vs. proletariats 1% of the people that own the majority of the worlds wealth vs. the rest of us
o What Marx would say about the creation of law the rich and powerful created laws to maintain their
position in society
o Laws do not apply equally to everyone and crime can be politically defined (war on terror, war on drugs,
number of people apprehended by CSIA)
- CJ train starts at the criminal act, other end of the line is prison. Arrive at arrest, then charge, then plea, then
conviction, then sentencing, and once you go to prison you end at the end of the line. For minorities its faster to get
to the end, the rich have more opportunities to hop off the train.
Doing Criminology
- GOAL: To construct theories or models that allow for a better understanding of criminal behaviour and permit
development of strategies to address the problem of crime.
- Explanations that will allow us to prevent some or most crime
- Now more scientific than in the past (relies on the scientific method)
- Variety of research techniques utilized:
o Survey research
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o Longitudinal research expensive, time-consuming
o Aggregate data research
o Experimental research
3 elements: random assignment, control or comparison group, experimental condition
o Observational and interview research qualitative (going to a high crime area and observing)
o Case studies (in-depth view of a specific case, cannot generalize)
Policy and Theory
- Social problems perspective
o Liberal approach to looking at crime
o Says that crime is the manifestation of social problems (poverty, income and equality, social learning)
- Social responsibility perspective
o Conservative idea that crime is an individual responsibility, you can choose whether or not to engage in
crime
o )f you do engage in crime, you should be responsible because you cant blame it on anything
The Social Context of Crime
- Crime is a social event - happens between two or more people
- Crime is social construction we outlaw certain behaviours and choose certain types of punishment
- Crime embraces the concept of social relativity these criminal behaviours will be interpreted differently by
different people
- Crime means different things to:
o The offender
o The victim
o The justice system police officers, judges, guards, etc.
o Society we react differently to different crimes and criminals
Crime and the Media
- Are crimes represented in the news an accurate portrayal of crime rates and trends?
o Portrayal vs. reality of crime not equal!
o Crime may be altered in the media, it does not equal the reality
o Where the majority of the public learns about the crime
o Want more viewers = more advertisement = more profit
o The more horrific, the more people want to watch it (can be used as a tool)
o Harper instilled harsher punishments (mandatory minimum for having a bag of weed that you could
potentially divide is 6 months)
o Most common criminal behaviour is petty theft; people would not watch that on TV
o CSI, Law and Order CSI effect = definitive evidence, not the real world which is problematic
o Not reality which can create problems in the CJ system
- So why does the media misrepresent crime?
o Primary goal of the media is PROFIT
o )f it bleeds, it leads
o Tough on Crime agenda
o Media generates The Fear of Crime Paradox
o Elderly women fear crime the most and nothing usually happens to them
o Young males are the most likely to be victimized (least likely)
Consequences?
1. Over-estimate violent crime, leading to increased fear of crime
No real basis for people being fearful
2. Distorted stereotype of offenders
Shows offenders as the stranger lurking in the dark (stranger danger)
Not the fact that most people are harmed or sexually assaulted by somebody known to them
Domestic homicide is not shown
3. Actual crime trends are irrelevant
Facts, evidence, real crime rates, and trends are not shown
They portray a story anyway they want
Week 2: History of Criminological Approaches
Social Organization
- Shift of change in the modes of production differentiated societies
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Document Summary

Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. Sociology 2266a: midterm: making laws, breaking laws, reacting to the breaking of laws crime, is racial profiling a real thing) Crime = an act with a subsequent punishment. Laws exist in canada that do not exist elsewhere (cid:523)marijuana laws, homosexuality (cid:524) Criminology in the most simplistic of terms means (cid:498)the study of crime(cid:499) Crime is a social construction except for universally wrong behaviour (rape, murder, etc. ) Moors knowing not to commit a crime, the expectations of what not to do (ie. theft, incest, murder, etc. ) Scientific method is utilized in studying criminology: objective research methods, also use content analysis, surveys, historical analysis, experimental designs, and so on, you must use reliable scientific evidence. Interdisciplinary it involves two or more academic fields: other disciplines involved in criminology: sociology, psychology, law, women(cid:495)s studies, politics, economics, Criminology vs. deviance: acts that go outside the norm, not always criminal (tattoos and piercings)

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