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Sociology 2266A/B Final: 2266 Final Exam Review

Course Code
SOC 2266A/B
Jennifer Reynolds
Study Guide

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2266 Final Exam Review
Lectures 8-12
Lecture #8- November 1st 2016
Strain and Social Structure Theories of Crime
What is social structure?
- The way in which our society is organized ex: family, education, religion
- Our social structure is stratified based on status and roles that people have, this means
that people in lower classes are left with less money, resources, etc.
- Society contains mutually containing parts and everyone has a role to play
3 Key Sociological Explanations for Crime
1. Crime is the result of an individual’s location within the structure of society
- If you’re in a lower class, you are more likely to be involved in traditional street crime
- All about the social structure/environment that someone is born into
2. Crime is the end product of various social processes, especially inappropriate
socialization and social learning
3. Crime is a product of class struggle; the perspective emphasizes the nature of existing
power relations between social groups
- People who have no power or resources retaliate by participating in illegal behaviour’s
to make up for getting the short end of the stick
- Laws are meant to benefit the upper class
Social Structure Theories Defined
Social structural 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 crime, and they see economic and social
disenfranchisement as fundamental causes of crime
- Based on race, age, ethnicity to be more likely to commit crime. If you’re from a lower
class, you’re disadvantaged
Social Disorganization and the Chicago School
- First real criminology department to exist in the 1920’s-1930’s
- Social ecology was the first real development that came out of it
Social Disorganization Theory
- 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
- Social disorganization: a condition said to exist when a group is faced with
social change
uneven development of culture
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conflict and lack of consensus
- social ecology: the attempt to link the structure and organization of any human
community to interactions with its localized environment. The type of environment
someone is literally born into
- if you fix the environment, you can fix the disease. Crime is the symptom of something
else, need to fix the underlying problems
Chicago School of Ecology
- The first criminological theory to be developed in the US was the Chicago school of
human ecology
- Chicago School of Criminology: an ecological approach to explaining crime that
examined how social disorganization contributes to social pathology
- Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay
Social ecology describes the interrelations of human beings at the communities in which
they live
“natural” areas of crime- typically in places where there is social disorganization. Ex
vandalism, drugs, littering
The Criminology of Place
- builds upon the contributions of routine activities theory and situational crime
prevention, as well as the ecological approaches
- it emphasizes the importance of geographic location and architectural features as they
are associated with the prevalence of victimization
- broken windows theory: if you have a neighbourhood with broken windows, that sends
a message to other people who come into the community
- crime prevention: we should be cleaning up crime as soon as possible because a well
maintained community shows that the people within it care
Routine Activities Theory
- comes out of the criminology of place: there are certain environments that are inducive
of crime
- All three of the following need to be present
1. A suitable target is available: could be a person, an object, property, a building, etc.
2. There is a lack of a capable guardian to prevent the crime from happening: parents,
police, could be physical things like a car with an alarm signal
3. A motivated offender is present: someone who wants to commit the crime
- Developed by Cohen and Felson. Combined to call the problem analysis triangle,
describes how and why crime occurs and how/why certain people are more likely to be
Motivated Offenders
- Why people commit crime
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Gain/need (poverty or a drug habit)
Society/experience/ environment (peer pressure, coercion, lack of education)
Beliefs (belief that some crimes aren’t wrong, protest)
- Looks at offender’s point of view, what they were thinking at the time
- A crime will only be committed if a motivated offender thinks the situation is suitable
Absence of a Capable Guardian
- A capable guardian is anything, either a person or a thing that discourages crime from
taking place. These can be formal or informal
Police patrol
Security guards
A Suitable Target
- A person, place or object
Value: the offender must either value the target for what they gain or value the effect they
have on it
Inertia: the size or weight of an item can effect how suitable it is
Visibility: how visible a target is can affect its suitability
Access: if a target is easy to get to, this increases its suitability
- Not all products are equally at risk for theft
- They must be:
- CRAVED items can also change over time
Strain Theory
- Based on social structure perspectives
- Durkheim anime theory: normlessness
When something happens, rapid social change and our norms are thrown upside down.
State of confusion and crime happens
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