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Chapter 3

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Paula Maurutto

January 24, 2014 Lecture 3: Reading Notes Reading: Chapter 3+4 Chapter 3: Rejecting individualism The Chicago school • In the beginning of the 20 century a new vision of crime emerged. One that suggested it was a social product • By the end of the 30s two traditions of crime had emerged, the first was the Chicago school. The second was strain theory. The Chicago school of criminology: theory in context • Chicago experienced growth in population. In 1833 it had 4100 residents; in 1910 it surpassed 2 million. Many of these people brought little economic relief • Criminologists began to believe that growing up in slum areas made a difference in people’s lives. Crime was seen as a social problem then • This was reinforced by the progressives in the 1900s. They rejected the social Darwinist’s logic that criminals were biologically inferior. They instead believed that the poor were pushed into lives of crime. They had hope that changing their conditions would transform them into good people • The goal was to save the poor, especially the children by providing social services • This came to be known as the age of reform. Their efforts led to new policies that were intended to allow the state to treat the individual needs and problems of offenders – the juvenile court, community supervision through probation and parole, indeterminate sentences Shaw and McKay’s theory of juvenile delinquency • They were persuaded by a model of the city formulated by Ernst Burgess that provided a framework for understanding the social roots of crime Burgess’s concentric zone theory • He hypothesized that urban development is patterned socially. He contended that cities grow radically in a series of concentric rings or zones (p 43 in textbook) • He came up with 5 zones. Competition determined how people were distributed spatially among these zones • They are (starting from the middle) the loop, zone in transition, zone of working men’s homes, residential zone, and commuter’s zone. The more high-priced areas were in the outer zones, away from the bustle of downtown, pollution, and the poor • The zone in transition was a particular concern. This zone contained rows of deteriorating tenements, often built in the shadow of aging factories • These social patterns weakened the family and communal ties and resulted in social disorganization. He believed this disorganization was the source of a range of social pathologies, including crime Disorganization and delinquency • Shaw and McKay confirmed the hypothesis that delinquency flourished in the zone of transition and was inversely related to the zones affluence and corresponding distance from the central business district • They came to conclude that it was the nature of the neighbourhood that regulated involvement in crime • Their focus on how weakening controls make possible a delinquent career allowed them to anticipate a criminological school that would eventually become known as control or social bond theory • They also attempted to learn more about why youth become deviant by interviewing delinquents and compiling their autobiographies in a format called life histories. These life histories revealed that disorganized neighborhoods helped to produce and sustain criminal traditions and could be transmitted down through successive generations of boys • Pratt and Cullen completed a meta-analytic review of the existing research on social organizational theory. They noticed a difficulty in assessing this theory was that most research has examined the structural causes of disorganization (poverty, family disruption etc.) but not social disorganization itself directly. • Their analysis reveals that the variables specified by Shaw and McKay are generally related to crime rates in the predicted direction Sutherland’s theory of differential association • He was convinced that social organization regulates criminal involvement • He substituted the term differential social organization for social disorganization • He contended that social groups are arranged differently; some are organized in support of criminal activity and others are against it • He coined the term, differential association. He noted that, especially in inner-city areas, there was culture conflict. Two different cultures – one criminal, one conventional. • He contended that any person would crime into contact with definitions favourable to the violation of law and with definitions unfavourable to law. The ration of these definitions determines whether the person embraces crime as an acceptable way of life • His theory has 9 propositions: 1. Criminal behaviour is learned 2. Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication 3. The principal part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal groups 4. When it is leaned, the learning includes (a) techniques of committing crime, and (b) the specific direction of motives, drives, rationaliza
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