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Chapter 4

SOC225 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Impulsivity, Egotism


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC225
Professor
Alison Dunwoody
Chapter
4

Page:
of 11
SOCIOLOGICAL POSITIVISM, CHAPTER 4
We will place emphasis on
opportunity structures
Those that speak about
learning of particular
norms, values,
subcultural attributes
Sociology often considers a
consensus on values and
norms
Industrial mechanism
advanced social movements
but also led to a downfall
post-WW1; the poverty that
struck was massive!
It was seen that being
poor made you more
likely to commit crime
It was also seen that
when society was well
off, crime would still
occur  there’s a social
aspect to it
A person’s morals and
choices are heavily
influenced by society n
The concept of subcultures  criminal cultures learn deviancy from
interactions
Point to aspects of social culture  social learning contributes to the
creation of criminal behavior and attitudes;
Sociological approaches  observe social pathology rather than
individual pathology; social strains are made via social issues, not
ONE INDIVIDUAL
SOCIAL CONTEXT
DEVELOPMENT #1: SOCIOLOGY; academic discipline; apply natural
sciences into society; presumes an existing consensus of values &
support status quo find struggles against status quo and identify social
problems;
Structure shapes individual behavior  we have to understand that society
is capable of making mistakes and we can’t always finger point certain
individuals
DEVELOPMENT #2: Pre-World War 2; we examine a world where poverty
strikes Germany, the Great Depression spreads through the united states, and
strong fascist movements plagued Spain and Italy. Many countries that used to
be rich now were poor  it was a perfect example of social effects on people
Create a link between unemployment and crime; economic
growth in the 50’s also led to greater opportunity. Capitalism was the
best system and living standards rose steadily. Those that were
poor were most likely to commit crime;
50’s  crime rates were present even though a majority of the society continued
to fare well; need new concepts to observe the social nature of crime
CRIME
A social phenomenon; a balance between INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP
BEHAVIOUR; rather than observing a person as being psychologically/
biologically inept, we saw people for being influenced by the wider
society through:
Highlighting values/ morals
Highlighting social position and moral conduct
An individual has few available social options
CRIME
ARSALAN AHMED, BIOLOGY 207 NOTES
1
SOCIOLOGICAL POSITIVISM, CHAPTER 4
Crime isn’t just the actiosn that violate the Criminal Code
Crime = deviance from norms in specific society
Crime is undetected, so it’s not the most effective measure of
what’s right and wrong
Restricted opportunity, due to structural opportunities/ cultural
processes  strains relationships in society and breeds criminality
You learn crime from your affiliations with cliques and groups; you
respond to these issues through offering more programming for the
disadvantaged
If you want to truly help someone and reduce future crime, you have
to rehabilitate and teach them
Most crime is by poor people
Unfortunately, crime is often defined in
conventional terms
We have to extend our viewpoint, crime isn’t
just actions that violate LEGAL
CODE
Crime is a violation of general
consensus of values & norms
A lot of crime is undetected; need to
measure natural # of crime by other
ways (victimization surveys/ self-
report studies)
STRAIN THEORY
Crime strains social relations; crime is
socially pathological  people feel strained
from the presence of opportunity; certain
cultures are limited by how much access
they really have.
Restricted opportunity prevents people from
doing good
DEFINITION Natural violation of consensus
FOCUS OF ANALYSIS Structure of opportunity, nature of
learning, presence of subcultures
CAUSE OF CRIME Social strain; learned behavior
NATURE OF OFFENDER Social pathology
RESPONSE TO CRIME Expand opportunity to reduce strain,
resocialize offender
OPERATION OF CIRMINAL Neutral justice, individual rehab + social
programs
SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY
People don’t always agree with one set of
norms; they are more likely to follow the
cultural processes that establish the
mindset for crime
Norms and values are extenuated from
particular subcultures  these groups
have different values; separate from the
rest of people
Response? Offer more opportunity; more
outlets for leisure/ outlets for being considered
equal
ARSALAN AHMED, BIOLOGY 207 NOTES
2
SOCIOLOGICAL POSITIVISM, CHAPTER 4
Resocialize to help criminal understand
values than punish;
Affiliate learning not retribution
Most crime is committed by the
disadvantaged; you must help them
as much as you can
Social facts influence our
behaviour and our actions
Mechanical solidarity
assumes we have the same
everything- work, skills and
religion. Tribes
Organic solidarity argues for
work specialization; some
people are good at specific
tasks, others aren’t. Think
bureaucratic structure
Crime isn’t always the
individual, there’s a collective
consciousness that defines
criminality
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
Durkheim provided analysis on social issues describing social phenomena 
social issues independent of individual’s actions, more like a
consequence of one’s social positions
Examples of social facts: how populations are distributed, religious
beliefs, legal codes in society
Different societies hold distinct values… relates to distinct
behavior
Durkheim studied suicide in members of Catholic/ Protestant faiths;
Protestants were more likely to commit suicide because they weren’t as
deeply affiliated with the Church  social facts affect our behavior
Tools for Analyzing society
Division of labor; specific work and roles
Organic/ Mechanical Solidarity;
Mechanical = cohesion and integration comes from the
homogeneity of individuals—people feel connected through similar
work, educational and religious training, and lifestyle; operates in
"traditional" and small scale societies; tribes base this interaction on
kinship and blood relations
Organic = work specialization social cohesion based upon
the dependence individuals have on each other in more advanced
societies. Although individuals perform different tasks and often have
different values and interests, the order and very solidarity of society
depends on their reliance on each other to perform their specified
tasks
Society is considered greater than the individual; mechanical societies
are focused on homogeneity while organic societies are focused on law
and interdependence on different institutions to maintain
order
Mechanical structure tends to use status-quo approaches to justice 
those that break the rules are kicked out of the tribe; while organic structures
tend to allow for rehabilitations and reintegration of people,
since we should all be interconnected
ARSALAN AHMED, BIOLOGY 207 NOTES
3