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Chapter 6

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University of Guelph
SOC 2700
Scott Brandon

SOC 2700 Criminological Theory Ch. 6: Durkheim, Anomie and Modernization 12/6/2012 4:11:00 PM Emile Durkheim argued that inequality is a natural and inevitable human condition that is not associated with social maladies, such as crime, unless there is also a breakdown of social norms or rules. -This breakdown is called “anomie” – argued it occurred in his own society as a result of rapid social changes accompanying modernization -In the mechanical form, each social group in society is relatively isolated from all other social groups and is basically self sufficient -Within these groups, individuals live largely under identical circumstances, do identical work and hold identical values (little division of labour) -Organic society: the different segments of society depend on each other in a highly organized division of labour Crime as Normal in Mechanical Societies - Mechanical societies are characterized by the uniformity of the lives, work and beliefs of their members - All the uniformity that exists in a society is “totality of social likeness” = “collective conscience” - Society cannot be formed without our being required to make perpetual and costly sacrifices - It is this sense of superiority, of goodness and righteousness that Durkheim saw as primary source of social solidarity - Punishment of the criminal is necessary to maintain the allegiance of average citizens to the social structure. Without it, average citizens may lose their overall commitment to the society and their willingness to make the sacrifices necessary for it - Punishment of criminals also acts as a visible, societal expression of the inferiority and blameworthiness of the criminal group - Society moves them into the crime category because criminal sanctions are the strongest tool available to maintain social solidarity – a society without crime is impossible because there is an inevitable diversity of behaviour in society  the solidarity of the society is generated by exerting pressure for conformity against this diversity, and some of this pressure will inevitable take the form of criminal sanctions - The abnormal or pathological state of society would be one in which there was no crime - Social change is introduced by opposing the constraints of the collective conscience and those who do so frequently declared to be criminals : To make progress, individual originality must be able to express itself A child is punished for misbehaving, a child who never did anything wrong would be pathologically over controlled - Durkheim called the state of inadequate regulation anomie - Humans have active imaginations that allow them to feel dissatisfied even when their physical needs are met (humans appetites are naturally unlimited) - Anomie (deregulation of appetites) would be worse in times of prosperity than in times of depression since prosperity stimulates appetites Durkheim’s Theory of Crime - Modernization: the progression of societies from the mechanical to the organic form - During modernization, a greater variety of behaviours would be tolerated, punishments would become less violent as their purpose changed from repression to restitution and there would be a vast expansion of “functional” law to regulate the interactions of the emerging organic society. - High crime rates in organic societies lay in the normlessness or anomie generated by the rapid social changes associated with modernization - Durkheim formulated his theory in the context of a study of suicide rates, not crime rates – didn’t present data to support his conclusion Bennett (If crime is caused by rapid social change…) 1. The rate of increase in crime would be directly proportional to the rate of growth in the society 2. Both theft and homicide should increase during periods of rapid growth 3. The level of development itself should not affect crime rates as long as the country is not rapidly changing SOC 2700 Criminological Theory Ch. 8 Strain Theories Robert K. Merton and Anomie in American Society - Argued that many of the appetites of individuals are not natural but rather originate in the culture of American society - The result is a definite pressure on certain persons in the society to engage in nonconformist rather than conformist conduct - Merton argued that American culture specifically encourages all individuals to seek the greatest amount of wealth “middle class values” “Protestant work ethic” : hard work, honesty, education and deferred gratification  The person who adheres to these methods receives little social reward for it unless he or she also achieves at least a moderate degree of wealth as a result  The person who achieves wealth, even if it is not by the approved means, still receives the social rewards of prestige and social status - The ability to achieve wealth is limited not only by the talents and efforts but by the social structure 1. The culture places a disproportionate emphasis on the achievement of the goal of accumulated wealth and maintains that this goal is applicable to all persons. 2. The social structure effectively limits the possibilities of individuals within these groups to achieve this goal through the use of institutionalized means - The high level of crime in American society explained in terms of “cultural imbalance” – the imbalance between the strong cultural forces that valued the institutional means of hard work, honesty and education - Opportunities relatively concentrated in higher classes and absent in lower classes Merton’s “Adaptation” - Most persons in a stable society will choose conformity- which entails acceptance of both the culture goals and the institutionalized means. These persons strive to achieve wealth through the approved methods of middle-class values and will continue to do so whether or not they succeed. Innovation: retain their allegiance to the culture goal of acquiring wealth, but they cannot succeed at it through the institutional means (white-collar crime, fraud, gambling drug dealing, prostitution). In each case, the individual has retained his commitment to the cultural goal, but pursuing it through unapproved means. Ritualism: involves rejecting the possibility of ever achieving wealth, but retaining allegiance to the norms of hard work, honesty and the like Retreatism: involves simply dropping out of the game. Dropouts neither pursue cultural goals nor act according to the institutionalized means (outcasts, vagrants, vagabonds, drug addicts) Rebellion: the person responds to his/her frustrations by replacing the values of the society with new ones; ceases to function as a member if the existing society and beings to live within an alternative culture (describes an individual’s choice of behaviours in response to the strain of anomie) Strongly motivated to cheat (innovate), continue playing without hope of winning (ritualism), may quit playing altogether (Retreatism) or may attempt to get a different game going (rebellion) - Cloward pointed out that the mere presence of an opportunity is not enough unless one has been introduced to the ways of taking advantage of it - Kornhauser: stress and frustration causes crime and delinquency: the source of this stress/frustration was said to be the “gap” between what criminals and delinquents want (aspirations) and what they expect to get (expectation) Strain in Individuals - Agnew’s general strain theory : focuses on negative relationships with others. He argued that these negative relationships generate negative emotions in the person, and the negative emotions = crime - Negative relationships include relationships in which other people prevent a person from achieving a valued goal, take away something valued that the person already has or impose on the person something that is “noxious” or unwanted - Delinquency and drug use are ways of coping with and managing the strain of negative emotions - Vicarious strain (strain experienced by others close to the individual) and anticipated strain - General strain theory to neighbourhoods is called “macro-level strain theory” – neighbourhoods with high proportions of individuals experiencing strain will suffer higher crime rates since there is a heightened chance that these volatile individuals will interact with each other, creating conflict and criminal behaviour Strain in Societies -Messner and Rosenfeld explained the high level of crime in American society pointing to the “American Dream”  The goal of material success to be pursued by everyone in society; individual competition 1. Redistributing legitimate opportunities may actually increase, rather than decrease the pressures toward criminal behaviour unless the culture, with its emphasis on the goal of monetary success at the expense of following institutional means, also changes 2. Institutions such as families, schools and politics need to be strengthened in their relations to the economy and to weaken the impact of the economy on them SOC 2700 Criminological Theory Ch. 10 Control Theories Control theories assume that all people naturally would commit crimes if left to their own devices; individuals are said to commit crime because of the weakness of forces restraining them from doing so, not because of the strength of forces driving them to do so - Focuses on restraints on behaviour grounded in the external environment Early Control Theories: Resiss to Nye - Reiss found that probation was more likely to be revoked when juveniles did not regularly attend school and when they were described as behavioral problems by school authorities, these were a measure of the acceptance or submission of juvenile to “social controls” – the control of socially approved institutions - Jackson Toby: “stakes in conformity” – how much a person has to lose when he or she breaks the law o Also argued that peer support for deviance can develop in communities that have a large number of youths with low stakes in conformity - Nye focused on the family as the single most important source of social control for adolescents; the most delinquent behaviour was the result of insufficient social control and that delinquent behaviour caused by positive factors was relatively rare - If all the needs of the individual could be met adequately and without delay, without violating laws, there would be no point to violate laws, there would be no point in such violation - Youths whose mothers worked outside the home and who were rejected by their parents were slightly more likely to fall in the “most delinquent” group. In contrast, youths in the “least delinquent” group were significantly more likely to come from families that attended church regularly, did not move often and were from rural areas Matza’s Delinquency and Drift - Emphasize constraint and differentiation: delinquents are different from nondelinquents in some fundamental way, and that difference constrains them to commit their delinquencies (biological or psychological, the constraint takes the form of compulsion. Social, the constraint takes the form of commitment to delinquent values) - Most delinquents “age out” of delinquency - Freedom and similarity; drift is said to occur in areas of the social structure in which control has been loosened, freeing the delinquent to respond to whatever conventional or criminal forces happen to come along - They described the behaviour as morally wrong, but argued that there are extenuating circumstances so that their own delinquent actions as “guitless” : neutralize Hirschi’s Social Control Theory - Individuals who were tightly bonded to social groups, such as the family, the school and peers, would be less likely to commit delinquent acts 1. Attachment (affection and sensitivity for others) is said to be the basic element necessary for the internalization of values and norms 2. Commitment (investment in conventional society) 3. Involvement in conventional activities (being busy restricts opportunities for delinquent opportunities) 4. Belief (the less a person believes he should obey the rules, the more likely he is to violate them -Boys who were more closely attached to their parents, were less likely to report committing delinquent acts than were those who were less close, peer attachments, educational and occupational aspirations Gottfredson and Hirishi’s A General Theory Of Crime (focuses on internal restraints) - Main concept is self-control, internal to the individual: focuses on events and processes that transpire at the same time as the delinquency 1. Characteristics of ordinary crimes: simple and immediate gratification , few long term benefits, exiting/risky, require little planning, few benefits 2. Characteristics of people: impulsive, insensitive, physical, risk-taking, short sighted and nonverbal 3. “Low self control” 4. Ineffective child rearing is the most important contributor to low self control - Juveniles with low self-control are likely to seek out others with low self control as peer group - Individuals who lack self control do not perform well in school - Difficulty keeping jobs: explains relationshi
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