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Chapter 4

SOC 1500 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Differential Association, Labeling Theory, Urban Sociology

Course Code
SOC 1500
Michelle Dumas

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Chapter 4: Classical Sociological Explanations of Crime
Sociological Criminology:
Practice of examining crime from a sociological point of view.
Interested in understanding group action and characteristics.
Social class.
The Chicago School: The Chicago School defined the contours of urban sociology.
Social Disorganization: Inability of community members to achieve shared values or to solve jointly
experienced problems.
Anomie Theory: Robert Merton used the term to describe the differences between socially accepted
goals and the availability of means to achieve those goals.
Strain Theory: States that social structures within society may pressure citizens to commit crime.
Subculture: A cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with
those of the larger culture.
Control Theory: The view that people refrain from deviant behavior because diverse factors control
their impulses to break social norms.
Hirschi’s Social Bonds:
Inner Controls:
Commitments: Idea that a person has an investment or stake in conforming behaviour.
Beliefs: A person’s loyalty to a dominant value system. Also known as, “moral
Outer Controls:
Involvements: Physical activities, such as organized sports, that are of a non-deviant
Attachments: The extent to which individuals are emotionally tied to and respect the
opinions of the group to which they are members (family, school).
Differential Association Theory: The idea that human beings act in reference to their environment and
that criminal behaviour is learned behaviour.
Labelling Theory: How the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced
by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling
prophecy and stereotyping.
Symbolic Interactions: The view of social behavior that emphasizes linguistic or gestural
communication and its subjective understanding, especially the role of language in the formation of the
child as a social being.
Critical Criminology: Focuses on challenging traditional understandings and uncovering false beliefs
about crime and criminal justice, often but not exclusively by taking a conflict perspective, such as
Marxism, feminism, political economy theory or critical theory.
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