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SOC102H1 Chapter Notes -Travis Hirschi, Dominant Ideology, Economic Mobility

Course Code

of 6
Crime and Violence
o Affects health, safety, and sense of well-being
o Reduces people’s trust in social institutions
o Damages the central institutions of society (ex. family, workplaces, schools)
TREND: men more likely than women to be involved in violent crimes, both as victims and offenders
Argued that some criminal behaviour is the result of rational calculation factoring in profitability and
risk of crime
Argued that crime will result whenever groups have unequal amounts of power and influence
Defining Crime, Laws, and Social Order
Laws: formal rules about what a society’s members can and cannot do; enforced by agencies
Crime: breaking a law
Social order: prevalence of generally harmonious relationships; exists only when people obey rules
o Must be manufactured and protected
Crime in and Canada and Elsewhere
Street crimes: simple assaults and property crimes
Changes in a society’s crime rate likely reflect changes in reporting and prosecution of crimes
Criminal Statistics: statistics of conviction and or imprisonment
o Poor reflection of crime in society
Victimization statistics provide a clearer image
Crime Funnel: of many criminal incidents, few are reported; of the reported, few result in arrests and
TREND: Canadian crime rate has been falling as has average crime severity
Victimization Surveys: samples of people asked how many times in a given time, they’ve been a victim of
particular crimes
Regardless of data source, all are incomplete and possibly biased and thus statistics are subject to
Crime Index tracks changes in severity of police-reported crimes and assigns each offence a weight
Crimes of Violence
Account for only 10-12% of total crimes; no “violent wave of crime” sweeping cities
Conventional Crimes: illegal behaviour that most people think of as crime
o Conventional in every sense except their rarity
Homicide can be subdivided into murder and manslaughter based on involvement of malicious intent
TREND: Men more likely to be victim of homicide than women
TREND: victims of homicide more likely to be killed by someone they know than a total stranger
Homicides are rare, assaults are more common (90% of violent crime)
TREND: most sexual assault victims do no report their experience to the police
Stalking is an emerging problem associated with gender harassment
Staking includes efforts to re-establish a former relationship
Has various determinants often with deep roots in stalker’s history
Non-Violent Crimes
TREND: most crimes in Canada are non-violent
Vice Crimes: behaviour deemed immoral (ex. use of illegal drugs, illegal gambling, communication for
o Provide greatest opportunity for organized crime
White-Collar Crimes: committed by a person of respectability and high social status (ex. fraud,
embezzling, computer crime)
o Prosper where governments do not supervise the economic marketplace
TREND: Governments prioritize conventional over white-collar crime
TREND: Evidence shows white-collar crime does more economic, physical and psychological harm to
more people
TREND: crimes against property have increased over the last 20 years; rates of homicide and other more
“serious crimes” have declined
Organized Crime: A Window on Our Culture?
Organized Crime: a hierarchical system of pro criminals who practice illegal activities as a way of life
Portrayed in film and television as glamourous and exciting
o Made sociologists realize that crime was often organized and connected to organized crime
o Often connected with social, political and economic life of the people in the community
(especially poor neighbourhoods)
A basic part of city, national corporate, and political life
Organized crime demonstrates that crime is learned with historical and cultural roots (not disorganized
irrationality); often grounded in kinship, friendship, honour, nad duty
1. Scarcity and inequality
2. Poverty and prejudice prevent people from moving easily to find work elsewhere
3. Providing protection in communities that lack or have poor social institutions (ex. healthcare, access to
welfare, education, police protection)
4. Lack of human and cultural capital
Conditions met by North American capitalism, S. American neo-feudalism, Russian neo-capitalism
The Demography of Crime
TREND: young, less-educated men more likely to be both victim and perpetrators of crime (a trend
parallel to Aboriginals)
Gender: Offenders
Gender gap in crime is nearly universal
o EXCEPTION: females kill intimate partners almost as much as males
TREND: men commit more crimes tan women, though the gender gap varies according to crime
TREND: gender gap is staring to close, especially among youths
Hormonal Theory: Some explain gender gap with biology and males’ higher levels of aggression-causing
Differential Socialization: male subculture is more violent and young males are encouraged to use
aggressive and violent behaviours to solve problems
o More believable to account for observed declines in gender gap than Hormonal Theory for gender
Gender: Victims
TREND: men are disproportionately the perpetrators of domestic and sex-based crimes, and women are
disproportionately their victims
Especially problematic in cultures with a patriarchal world view
In Canada, citizens are provided with free cultural expression, but it also wants to protect rights of
vulnerable members (ex. women and children)
o Means depriving men in some households of the right to use patriarchal (cultural) norms to justify
criminal abuse
Ambivalence of female body believed to explain mainly female victims of sex-based crimes
o Portrayed in TV and film as a sexual object for male consumption
o Women who take control of their sexuality characterized as sluts
Ameliorative Hypothesis: In the long run, increased gender equality reduces rates of sexual abuse
Backlash Hypothesis: in the short run, as gender equality increases, so do sexual assault against women
TREND: Young people more likely to commit crimes than old people more likely to be
unemployed/work low-wage jobs use crime as a means of attaining culturally desired goal
TREND: aggressiveness is a cultural norm for many young men bring together large numbers of young
men high crime risk (esp. in cities with high unemployment and recent immigration for less developed
Crime rates reflect at least 3 realities: actions of the criminals, activities of the victims (report/not), actions
of police (lay charges/not)
Victimization from Crime
Demographic and Community Correlates of Criminal Victimization
Some people are at higher risk of victimization than others
Demographic variables: male, young, unmarried, unemployed
Geographic (neighbourhood): socio-economic vitality, social cohesion and trust, resources and
infrastructure, mechanisms of informal social control
Suitable Targets
People who are routinely exposed to crime or who have heightened vulnerability (ex. taxi drivers, tourists)
o Vulnerability
Physical weakness/psychological distress
o Gratifiability
Female gender for the crime of sexual assault
o Antagonism
Ethnic or group identity that may spark hostility or resentment
TREND: Female homicide victims more likely to be killed by spouse in domestic violence, men more
likely to be killed in public place by stranger
TREND: Juveniles more likely to be victims of violent crimes and suffer from crime-related injuries; more
likely to know the people who victimize them
Link between crime and criminal victimization confirmed by TREND in students who report moderate
to high levels of victimizations also more likely to report moderate to high levels of delinquency
Information on hate crimes towards LGBTQ hindered by reluctance of victims to report victimization due
to concerns of police abuse
Classic Works: Richard Ericson’s Reproducing Order
Examined how patrol police preserve, reinforce, and restore social order
The police job is not primarily fighting crime but merely reproducing/reinforcing social order
Most of police’s energy spent running the car or psychologically keeping active to deal with boredom
Police’s ability to apply wide discretion in choosing when, how, whom to apply law and force to preserved
social order and preserved status quo reproducing values of current class structure
Secondary Victimization