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Chapter 4

Soc 225 Chapter 4 Pt.1.docx

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University of Alberta
Alison Dunwoody

February 4, 2014 Chapter 4: Sociological positivism Wht is it about society that contributes to cime Crime Is seen as something wrong with the structures and values in society Crime is a matter of normal people in abnormal situations -crime is viewed as a social phenomenon -focus on social structure and the process of social learning -key concept is strain (social, not individual) Two key strands of strain theory -“opportunity structures’ -the learning of norms and values and subcultural attributes Solutions to crime involve enhancing opportunities to reduce strain and re-socializing offenders Crime and Opportunity (or lack of opportunity) -Emile Durkheim -Social facts- “the first and fundamental rule is to consider social facts as things -an element of society that is external to individuals but have an enormous influence on an individual. -i.e. Social Norms -put pressure on people to act in certain socially acceptable ways -according to Durkheim, rule breaking is inevitable -Argued that deviance emerges out of anomie (normlessness) but only excessive levels of deviance are harmful; certain levels of deviance actually contribute to social order -this could occur in times of rapid social change -believed that deviance was actually a positive thing and only becomes a problem when it becomes excessive -some benefits might include: everybody comes together against the rule breaker (social solidarity), also reaffirms the rules as well as the importance of rules The Chicago School -emerged out of the city of Chicago at a time of unprecedented growth. Newcomers tended to cluster themselves in specific areas of the city, generally the inner city where housing was cheaper -people living in this area were very quickly labeled as morally suspicious or even morally corrupt -developed the ecological model, emphasizing the characteristics of population groups and the mapped locations of such groups relative to one another -views social disorganization as a major cause of crime and victimization; crime and other deviant behaviour is most likely to occur where social institutions are not able to direct and control groups of individuals -the population of the inner city was usually very temporary and transient as well as consisted of many different people with many different beliefs. -the interpretations of crime from this point of view is the destructive nature of the social circumstances they are placed in -Robert K. Merton -the disjunction between culturally defined goals and institutionalized means results in strain (again social not individual) -because of this strain, people now have to choose how to react -Adaptations: -conformity- accept both goals and means -innovation – accept the goals but reject the means, or use illegitimate means to achieve the same goals -ritualism – accept the means but reject or lower the goals to fit the means they have available to them - retreatism – reject both goals and means - rebellion – reject both goals and means and substitute them with new goals and means Crime and Culture -crime is learned behaviour -Differential Association Theory (Sutherland and Cressey) -criminal behaviour is learned as a by-product of interacting with others (occurs with intimate personal groups) -learning criminal behaviour involves assimilating the techniques of and motives for crime
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