SOC 2700 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Financial Crimes, Structural Marxism, Multisystemic Therapy

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9 Aug 2016
March 3rd, 2016
Chapter 8: Social Process Theories – page #238-281:
Social process theories approaches that look at the operation of formal and informal
social institutions, such as socialization within family, peer groups, schools, and legal system
Socialization the process of human development and enculturation. Primary socialization
takes place in the family, and secondary socialization takes place in institutions.
Social Processes and Crime:
Criminologists study the critical elements of socialization, such as family, peer group, and
school, to determine how those elements contribute to the development of a criminal career
Family Relations:
Parenting factors play a critical role in determining whether individuals misbehave as children
and as adults youths who grow up in a household characterized by tensions, where familial
love and support are lacking, and discipline is inconsistent or abusive, will be susceptible to
the crime-promoting forces in the environment, placing them at higher risk
Children possessing disruptive characteristics at an early age are more likely to engage in
later risky behaviour, adolescent delinquency, and adult crime
During a window of opportunity, between the ages of 4 and 9, the quality of parental
intervention is significant even children living in high-crime areas will be better able to resist
the temptations of the streets if they receive fair discipline, care, and support from parents
who provide them with strong, positive role models
Nonetheless, living in a disadvantaged neighbourhood places a strain on family functioning,
especially in single-parent families experiencing social isolation from relatives, friends, and
The relationship between family structure and crime is critical, especially considering the high
rates of divorce and single parenthood
At one time, growing up in a so-called broken home was considered a primary cause of
criminal behaviour because single-parent or divorced families were themselves considered
deviant however, nowadays, criminologists discount an easy association between family
structure and the onset of criminality, claiming that family conflict and discord are more
important determinants of behaviour than is family structure
Single mothers and fathers face difficulties in making up for the loss of a second parent,
increasing their chances of failure; single parents may also find it difficult to provide adequate
supervision, and they offer less help with school work the children may be more prone to
rebellious acts, such as running away and truancy
Because many divorced mothers face reduced incomes in the aftermath of marital break-up,
they may be forced to move to residences in deteriorated neighbourhoods, which places their
children at risk for crime and drug abuse
Remarriage does not mitigate the effects of divorce on youths: children living with a step-
parent exhibit as many problems as youth in divorce situations and considerably more
problems than those living with both biological parents
Although crime rates for adolescents from two-parent families are lower than for teens from
single-parent families, evidence suggests that divorce will have an effect on delinquency only
when a two-parent family structure is not reestablished
The difference in behaviour between girls from one-parent families and girls from two-parent
families was greater than was the difference in delinquency for boys
Other family factors include inconsistent discipline, poor supervision, and the lack of a warm,
loving, supportive, parent-child relationship parents who are supportive and control their
children in a non-coercive fashion are more successful, as are parents who provide a
structure that supports children while giving them the ability to assert their individuality and
regulate their own behaviour
Victims of child abuse are more likely to mature into abusing and violent adults, and this cycle
of violence means that children who are physically victimized and who witness inter-parental
violence have an increased risk of becoming adults who abuse their children and partners
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March 3rd, 2016
The cycle of violence is not automatic, and the most typical outcome for individuals exposed
to violence in their families is to be non-violent in their adult lives
Educational Experience:
Children who do poorly in school, lack motivation, and feel alienated are the most likely to
engage in criminal acts all children who fail in school offend more frequently, commit more
serious and violent offences, and persist in their offending into adulthood; students who do
well are less likely to deviate, because successful performance is an insulating factor
When children feel unsafe and bullied at school, they are more likely to be involved in
aggressive behaviours children are also more likely to be aggressive when other children
say mean things, or when they are bullied and feel like an outsider
Children who do not like school, whose school progress is poor, and who think grades are
unimportant are also more likely to be involved in property offences in addition, children
who have lower educational aspirations and who skip class are more likely to report being
involved in high levels of property offences
Schools also help contribute to criminality when they label problem youths, setting them apart
from conventional society a streaming system that identifies some students as university-
bound and others as academic underachievers acts to stigmatize youths
o Stigmatize to create an enduring label that taints a person’s identity and changes
him or her in the eyes of others
Peer Relations:
The peer group has a powerful psychological effect on human conduct, influencing decision
making and behaviour choices, an effect observed in many cultures
Between the ages of 8 and 14, children seek out a stable peer group soon, friends begin to
have a greater influence over decision making than do parents
By their early teens, children report their friends give them emotional support when they are
feeling bad, and they can confide intimate feelings without their confidences being betrayed
As they go through adolescence, children form small groups of friends who share activities,
confidences, and interests they share intimate knowledge and activities, such as sports,
religion, or hobbies; kids learn a lot about themselves and their world while navigating
through these relationships, some of it good, some of it negative
Popular youths do well in school and are socially astute in contrast, children rejected by
their peers are more likely both to display aggressive behaviour and to disrupt group activities
through bickering or other antisocial behaviour
On the one hand, peers pressure youths to conform to group values however, peers also
help them learn to share and cooperate, cope with aggressive impulses, and discuss feelings
they would not dare bring up at home
Delinquent peers exert influence on behaviour and beliefs in every level of the social
structure, youths who fall in with a bad crowd become more susceptible to criminal behaviour
patterns; deviant peers provide friendship networks that support delinquency and drug use
Institutional Involvement and Belief:
People with strong moral values and beliefs who have learned to distinguish right from wrong
and who regularly attend religious services are also less deviant
Branches of Social Process Theory:
Social learning theory the view that behaviour is modeled through observation of human
interaction either directly from observing others or indirectly through the media. Rewarded
interactions are copied; punished interactions are avoided
o People learn the techniques and attitudes of crime from close relationships with
criminal peers: crime is a learned behaviour
o People are born good and learn to be bad
Control theory an approach that looks at the ability of society and its institutions to control,
manage, restrain, or direct human behaviour; sometimes called social control theory
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o Maintains that most people are controlled by their bond to society: crime occurs when
the forces that bind people are weakened or broken
o People are born bad and musty be controlled to be good
Labelling theory the view that society creates deviance through the designation of
individual behaviour as deviant. The stigmatized individual feels unwanted and accepts the
label as an identity
o People become criminals when significant members of society label them as such
and they accept those labels as a personal identity
o Whether good or bad, people are controlled by the reactions of others
Social Learning Theory:
Social learning theory the view that behaviour is modeled through observation of human
interaction either directly from observing others or indirectly through the media. Rewarded
interactions are copied; punished interactions are avoided
Crime is a product of learning the norms, values, and behaviours associated with criminal
activity can involve both the actual techniques of crime and how to deal with the guilt or
shame associated with illegal activities
Differential Association Theory:
Differential association (DA) theory according to Edwin H. Sutherland, the principle that
criminals acts are related to a person’s exposure to an excess amount of antisocial attitudes
and values
A primary idea is the acquisition of behaviour is a social learning process, and criminal skills
and motives are learned as a result of contacts with pro-crime values
Principles of Differential Association:
1. Crime is learned in the same manner as any other behaviour
2. Crime is learned in interaction with other persons, not by living in a criminogenic environment
or by having personal characteristics, such as low IQ or family problems
3. Learning crime occurs within intimate personal groups, such as family, friends, and peers;
thus, social support overrides dominant social controls
4. Learning crime includes techniques, such as picking a lock, shoplifting, or using narcotics,
and learning supporting motives, rationalizations, and attitudes
5. Because the reaction to social rules is not uniform across society, people come into contact
with others who maintain different views on whether to obey the legal code. This conflict of
social attitudes is the basis for the concept of differential association
6. A criminal perceives more benefits than unfavourable consequences to violating the law
when their acquaintances have definitions that are favourable toward criminality and are
isolated from counteracting forces
7. Differential associations vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity. Whether a person
learned to obey the law or to disregard it is influenced by whether that person’s social
interactions are frequent or are influence by a person who is respected
8. Learning definitions favourable to criminality produces illegal behaviour because the motives
for criminal behaviour are not the same as for conventional behaviour; otherwise, the criminal
would simply get a better education or work harder on a job
Testing Differential Association:
One important area of research is the friendship patterns of delinquent youths differential
association theory implies that criminals maintain close and intimate relations with deviant
Analysis of Differential Association Theory:
Sutherland’s work is criticized for not explaining why one youth who is exposed to delinquent
definitions succumbs to them, while another living under similar conditions doesn’t
Another criticism is its assumption that criminal and delinquent acts are rational and
systematic, ignoring spontaneous acts of violence
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