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Chapter 7

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SOC 1500
Andrew Hathaway

Chapter 7 Review: Sociological Criminolgy: - Complete explanation of crime must consider the socio-cultural environments in which people are located. - Sociologists look at how patterns of behaviour exist within the social structure - Criminologists look at how criminal patterns exist within soceity, how they can be predicted and how they can be controlled. - Sociology Examines o Sociology is concerned with social change and the dynamic aspects of human behaviour  Concerned with positive human interactions and the costs of negative ones  Crime itself is an interaction o Follows transformations in cultural norms and institutions and the subsequent effect they have on individual and group behaviour o Weakened family ties are linked to crime and delinquency o Patterns of crime within the social structure o Ecological distribution of crime o Effects of changing cultural norms, social institutions and technology o Effect of socialization in family and with peers o Crime as interaction o Natural Areas:  Social forces operating in urban areas result in populations in some zones or neighbourhoods sharing similar characteristics; some become natural areas for crime Economic structure and Crime: - Social Stratification o Unequal distribution of wealth, power and prestige to their members - Social Class o People who have similar wealth, values, attitudes and lifestyle  Ex. Upper, middle and lower class o Statistics on family poverty  Reduced poverty among the elderly  Access to health care, pensions, social security  More poverty among full-time workers  16% of children live in poverty (2004)  Had increased  Research on Street youth  Baron, occupational strain solved by crime  Bolland, feelings of hopelessness increases violence, substance use, sexual behaviour and accidental injury Inequality: - Lower class o Problems of housing, health care, family breakups, underemployment, despair o Blocked aspirations?? o High levels of dropping out, teenage pregnancy o Unable to satisfactorily compete for such success with members of the upper class o Social problems in the lower class are found to be “epidemic” - Immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be poor o More likely to be victims of crime due to low incomes level and high unemployment rates - Native Canadians more likely living in poverty, suffer abuse - Underclass: o World cut off from society, its members lacking the education and skills needed to survive, becoming a breeding ground for criminality - Culture of poverty: o Lower class forms a separate culture with its own values and norms that are in conflict with conventional society o Culture is self-maintaining and on-going The culture of Poverty: - Oscar Lewis (1966) o Marked by Apathy (Absence or suppression of passion, emotion or excitement, lack of concern for things), Cynicism (an attitude of negativity, distrust), mistrust of social institutions o Cause – effect of poverty o Transmitted from generation to generation o Self-defeating o Crushing the lifestyle of slum areas - Gunnar Myrdal (1970) o Described The world wide Underclass o Members lacking education and skills - Impoverished people are responsible for their own fate; they could try to improve themselves. Unemployment and Crime: - Social structure approach links crime to economic deprivation - A routine activities theorist suggests that although jobless increases the motivation to commit crime, it simultaneously decreases the opportunity to gain from criminal enterprise. - Teenagers have a higher crime rate than any other age group - Crime rate peaked in the 1930s during the Great Depression - Evidence o Structural  Weak link btwn economic conditions and crime rates  High unemployment rates do not necessarily result in higher crime  Unemployment increases crime because it reduces people’s stake in conformity o Individual  Convicted offenders are likely to have poor work records  High levels of unemployment - Social embeddedness: an early experience with delinquent behaviour and drug abuse will later result in unemployment as an adult 3 Branches of Social Structure Theory: - Disadvantages of economic inequality have been viewed by criminologists as a primary cause of crime; referred to as social structure theory - Social forces that cause crime can affect the young and continue to influence them - Social Disorganization theory o Weak urban social institutions cause crime - Strain Theory o Blocked social aspirations result in despair - Cultural Deviance Theory o Unique Values of lower class produces crime Social Disorganization Theory: - Focuses on conditions within the urban environment that affect crime rates - Commercial establishments and schools can no longer carry out their functions - Characteristics of Disorganization o Transient (short-lived) population, mixed-use neighbourhood o Lack essential Services o High unemployment o Single-parent families o Dependence on social assistance o Substandard housing - Social Disorganization Theory: o Approach that looks at how neighbourhoods or areas are marked by culture conflict - Social Institutions o Have broken down o Lack authority to control behaviour - Little sense of community o Lack communication, can’t pursue common goals - Figure 7.2 Concentric Zone Theory: - Shaw and McKay, Chicago 1920s – two chicago sociologists o Response to rapid immigration and urban deterioration o “Natural Areas” of poverty o Linked Transitional slum areas to crime  High population turnover  Disintegration of traditional cultures  Due to transitional neighbourhoods o Mixed area of middle and low-class residents  Industrialisation of the area  Defenceless against crime invasion Higher Crime Rates Transitional Neighbourhoods - Many new immigrants o Cheap housing - Undermining of traditional culture o Family and community lack authority - Divergent Cultural standards o Intergenerational Cultural conflict - Value Conflict leads to deviant goals, behaviour o Deviant values of teenage law-violating groups, youthful misbehaviour, conflict with middle class norms - Kids in transitional neighbourhoods: o Have deviant role models o Form adolescent gangs o Get into trouble with authorities (Value conflict) o Street gangs become fixed institutions o Recruit new members, pass on deliquent traditions - Shaw and Mckay concluded that in transitional neighbourhoods, multiple cultures and diverse values, both conventional and deviant, coexist - Zones I and II always had the higher crime rates The legacy of Shaw and McKay: - Crime is a constant fixture - Depicted criminality as a normal response to adverse social conditions - Criminality caused by environment o Constant feature of slums o Ideas led to community action programs - Crime normal response to poor social conditions - Applied to other areas, (eg. Montreal) - Criticisms: o Reliance on polica records to define crime o May measure police activity, not crime o Used police records to calculate neighbourhood crime rates - Siege Mentality: o A consequence and symptom of community disorganization, where fear causes the belief that the outside world is an enemy The social ecology school: - Crime rates reflect o Community deterioration  Disorder, poverty, alienation, fear of crime  Predicted a high rate of delinquency  Social ecologists  Social support is inversely related to homicide rates  Economic inequality is directly related to homicide rates o “Broken Window” Theory  Abandoned  Run-down buildings attract crime o Cross-Cultural research in Canada, Scandinavia, and Great Britain Supports theory - Social ecologists: o A modern variant of disorganization theory that looks at community-level indicators of social disorganization, including disorder, poverty, alienation, fear of crime Social ecology: - Employment opportunities o Lack of jobs undermines family strength o Crime rises during economic prosperity and then fall during economic decline - Community fear o Residents retreat from the street o Disorganized neighbourhoods suffer social and physical incivilities o Perception of crime and victimization produce neighbourhood fear o Fear can be contagious and will influence more crimes in the neighbourhood o More strangers are left - Siege mentality o Mistrust of authorities and social insitutions  Include business, schools, governement o Respond with violence - Social injustice: o In communities where the poor and wealthy live in close proximity - Population turnover o Reduces communication and information flow o Change, not stability is the hallmark of inner-city areas o Neighbouthood’s resident, wealth and density is always changing - Community change o More singles, rentals, devaluation of property o Life cycles of urban areas, began with building of residential dwellings o Communitites increasing in anti-social behaviours contain large numbers of single-families and unrelated people living together o Neighbourhood changes relates to more crime rates and the need to protect themselves - Poverty concentration o Isolated from social mainstream, becomes a ghetto o In detiorating neighbourhoods o Most detiorating areas have much higher crime rates than more stable lower- class environments o Income inequality:  The differences in personal income that creates structural inequalities in society, which may be the root of crime o “ Today most crime-prone areas may be stable, homogenous areas whose residents are “trapped” in public housing and urban ghettos” - Research by Wong, and by Ouimet o Wong’s research was that he examined the role of family disorganization as a mediator of the effects of poverty, mobility, and ethnic heterogeneity on crime. o Ouimet’s research was that he compared social disorganization and opportunity theory for the ability to predict juvenile crime rates - Weak social controls o Lack of local organizations and resources to maintain control o Crime rate increases o Never-ending cycle o Operate on the primary level (with peers, families) o Stable neighbourhoods able to arrange sources for social control o Presence of police will send a message stating that the area will not tolerate deviant behaviour o Therefore criminals and drug dealers avoid such areas o As neighbourhood disadvantages increases informal social control decreases o Neighbourhoods need and injection of funds from the outside to rebuild properly - Collective efficacy o Communities that are cohesive and maintain high levels of social control o Willigness to intervene in supervision of children and maintenance of public order o Maintain social control through interpersonal and public actions o Research by DeKeseredy on collective efficacy and domestic violence o Communities with high collective efficacy experiences low violence rates and low levels of physical and social disorder o Three forms of collective efficacy:  Informal social control  Works on the primary level and involves peers, families,  Practices surveillance: o Keeping an eye out for intruders  Institutional Social Control  Social institutions cannot work effectively in a climate of alienation and mistrust  Finding that involvment in social institutions is blocked  Instead at risk for being recruited into gangs  Public social control  Stable neighbourhoods able to defend themselves  Police able to control the areas o In a more disorganized area, there is absence of political power limits access to external funding and protection  Fewer police on patrol, less motivated - Social Altruism o Weak social controls are those that provide strong supports for their members o Helping each other, teaching children to be sensitive to the rights of others and respect differences o Crime rates lower in altruistic areas o Charitable donations
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