Chapter 13: integrationist theories
Integrationist theories: the attention to the smaller details of social life. They consider crime to be consequences
of interpersonal relationship of the meaning of these relationships. This theory is derived from symbolic
interactionism. Symbolic interaction has three main premises:
• People act toward human and nonhuman object in their lives according to the meanings of those objects to
• The meanings of objects to individuals emerge from interactions with other people
• These meanings are applied and modified as individuals interpret particular social situations (usually the
context plays a major role in the meaning we assign to particular situations)
The deviant careers:
The integrationist theories rely heavy on what happens to criminal once their deviant activities commence.
• Labeling: according to the labeling theory, deviance is not a quality of the act but of the label that others
attach to it. This raises the question of who applies the label and who is labeled. The application of a label
and the responses of other to the label may result in a person becoming committed to a deviant identity.
• Career: whether deviant or legitimate, refers to sequences if stages through which people move during the
course of their employment. It has also been applied to the various stages of personal involvement with
criminal activities. It is usually the consequence of labeling.
• Careers involve adjustments to, and interpretations of, the contingencies and turning points encountered at
each stage. For example, turning point is explain by the fact that career in youth crimes are likely to be
increased after reaching a certain turning point (i.e. 1 you do delinquent activities ▯ second step is drugs).
Contingencies explain the inability to find legitimate employment, a career contingency that contributes to
crimes. Every step of the ways work together to get you final product of a master in crime.
• The initial acts of deviance (the small little actions of a person) before deviance becomes a way of life no
commitment to criminal as of yet. Usually occurs when you don’t face too many problems in doing it. This
deviance occurs infrequently, very few compunction (guilt) about it, e.g. person gets marijuana from
• Preconditio : must have the willingness to engage in it/have an affinity for the intended act.
• BUT Behind this precondition, still lies the weak commitment to norms and identities. These individual are
thus drifting btw criminal vs. noncriminal life styles. Individuals may “drift”— i.e. torn btw respectability
• Many of these individuals resort to deviance because of the quest for honor among peers or groups (even
more then family and home ties)
• “Moral rhetoric’s”: The acts may become reinforced by claims and assertions that are used to justify
• Egoism: I steal because the prices are unfair (done by new criminal and who feels bad about his action).
The criminal as a way to neutralize the stigma (negative beliefs/attitudes about oneself) that is associated
with them often uses this. Instrumental rhetoric: stress the cunning and power they bring to bear against
people who are otherwise more powerful and uncontrollable.
• Value commitment is an attitude towards a identity, that develop when a person gains an exceptional
rewards from assuming that identity. Most of these people lack the value commitment to neither deviant
neither conventional values. Thus they don’t get any benefit from any of them/not sure yet.
Agent of social control:
• Refers to those members of the society, like police, judges, officers etc., who help check deviant behavior
• Moral entrepreneur: someone who defines new rules and law or who advocates stricter enforcement of
existing law (like an average citizen and law maker. Often these entrepreneurs have some financial or
organization gains form promoting these laws
• The prototype of the rule creator is the crusading reformer, who doesn’t like existing rule, wants change, or
wants people to behave properly. There are specific claim making activities that they do.
• 1) Assert the existing problem/condition. 2) Define this problem as harmful/undesirable. 3) Stimulate public
scrutiny of the condition as the claim makers see it. • These views are explained by the quasi theories: i.e. nonempirical evidence, and simple explanation to ill
• BOX 13.1: Example of this entrepreneur is the three strikes out law in California that started by a man
whose daughter was murders by previous offenders. First time failed but then offender murdered another
girl and then it got passed▯3 time you commit a minor crime▯25 years in jail.
• The moral entrepreneur also enforce legislated rules that apply to people that misbehave. These rules
provide officers the justification for doing their jobs. Since people in the society in part create deviant, thus
whether a person’s behavior is labeled deviant depends on many other external factors to the behavior itself.
Often time, minority such as specific ethnic group is often labeled as deviants.
• All the deviants often leant they must now cope with stigma that comes with being associated with that
• These associated stigmas are often far away from the actual attributes that the presumably deviant person
• Deviance that results from the imposition of the label and the behavior associated with a label actually
becomes a part of an individual’s identity (label junky and drug addict!)
• Often time, primary deviance▯produces a certain reaction in the society▯, which leads to secondary
• Among the factor leading to secondary deviation is the tendency of society to treat someone’s criminality as
a master status. This status of the criminal overrides all other status in perceived importance (no one care
if you are noble prize winner, you kill someone, you are murderer)
• The low probability of attaining respectability and success in society may lead to interaction with other
deviant groups. This transition is made easier when you are coached by the deviant group as to how to cope
with problems associated with deviance. He also receive rationalization for his behavior ▯ thus now he feels
comfortable in this group.
• Fullfledged deviants are NOT always members of groups but often have a collective support.
• There are those who try to reject the label and try to enter normal life but are often unsuccessful.
• The types of interaction these deviant people and the agents of social control is important for future course
of their deviant careers and constitutes major set of career contingencies (events th