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SOC 1500 Chapter Notes -Cesare Lombroso, Atavism, Differential Association

Course Code
SOC 1500
Michelle Dumas

of 3
Criminology Concepts
Atavist (atavism) - used by Cesare Lombroso to suggest criminals are physiological
throwbacks to earlier stages of human evolution. Derived from later term atavus, meaning
Endomorph- body type which is soft and round, or overweight
Ectomorph- body type which is thin and fragile, with long, slender, poorly muscled extremities,
and delicate bones
Mesomorph- athletic and muscular body type
Anomie- social conditions leading to a feeling of personal loss and dissolution, meaning a loss
of the sense of belonging
Innovative adaptation- is the second form of adaption, which happens when approved goal
achievement combines with lack of opportunity to participate fully in socially acceptable ways in
order to succeed. This is experienced by lower class individuals who have been socialized to
want traditional success items such as expensive cars, mansions, money, etc. These individuals
don’t actually have don’t have access to getting them, and can be so deprived that crime can be
Ritrualist adaptation- happens when people of society participate in socially desirable means
but they show little to no interest in goal achievement. Even though they may have gotten a
good education, good job, and appear to be leading a middle class life; they don’t care for those
symbols of success and chose to live an independent life.
Retreatist adaptation- is the behaviour of those individuals who reject socially approved goals.
They normally become drop-outs, drug abusers, or homeless people or participate in in
common living. These individuals are socially and psychologically separate from society around
Rebellious adaptation- describes a person who wants to replace those socially acceptable
goals with another system. Political radicals, revolutionaries, and anti- establishment agitators fit
into this category.
Culture conflict- sociological perspective on crime suggesting the root cause of criminality is
found in the clash of values between socialized groups over what is acceptable and proper
Differential association- thesis that criminality is learned through the process of association
with others who communicate criminal values.
1. Criminal behaviour is learned
2. Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in process of
3. The principal part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal
4. Learning of the criminal behaviour includes techniques of committing the crime and the
direction of motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes.
5. Specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as
favourable and unfavourable.
6. Person becomes delinquent as of an excess of definitions favourable to violation of law
over definitions unfavourable to violation of law
7. Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority and intensity
8. Process of learning criminal behaviour by association with criminal and anti-criminal
patterns involves all the mechanisms involved in any other learning
9. Motive for criminal behaviour is not the same as that for non-criminal behaviour.
Primary deviance-offenders initial acts of crime. Example student robbing convenience store
for tuition money is his/her first criminal offence
Secondary deviance- continued acts of crime, resulting from forced association with other
Moral entrepreneur- efforts of particular interest group to have its sense of property enacted
into law
Deny responsibility- pointing to ones background of poverty and abuse. Example “ they made
me do it”.
Deny injury- explaining how insurance companies cover losses. Claims that everyone does it
or the victim could afford it fall into this category.
Deny victim-claiming that the victim deserved the victimization
Condemn the condemners- stating that authorities are responsible for their own victimization.
Offenders may claim that society has made them into what they are and now they must suffer
the consequences
Appeal to higher loyalties- defence of ones family’s honor, gang, girlfriend, or neighbourhood.
Example “we have to protect ourselves”
Dramatization of evil- the process where an offender comes to be seen as ultimately “bad”.
Once a person has been defined as bad, little legitimate opportunities remain open to them.
This leads to continued crime.
Deviant career-
Master status-
Inner control-
Outer control-
Attachment bonds- persons shared interests with others
Commitment bonds-amount of energy and effort put into activities with others
Involvement bonds- amount of time spent with others in shared activities
Belief bonds- a shared system of values and morals
Reaction to deprivation thesis-
Crisis of legitimacy-
Group conflict- makes laws that reflect and protect themselves
Target suitability-
Capable guardianship- discourages crime as they have taken crime prevention steps and is
therefore less likely to be victimized
Historical relativity-
Contextual relativity-
Cultural relativity-
Gender relativity-
Group solidarity function-
Boundary setting function-
Reinforcing conformity function-
Innovative function-
Status frustration-
Criminal subculture-criminal role models are readily available for adoption by those being
socialized into subculture
Conflict subculture-participants seek status through violence
Differential identification-