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Chapter 9

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Candace Kruttschnitt

Chapter 9: Control Theories 11/22/2012 1:30:00 AM Introduction: -Deviance is everywhere possible if it is allowed -Control theories  assume that deviance will occur, asks how deviance can be controlled (doesn’t look at causes of deviance) -Bentham  Principle of rational calculation  assumed that humans have a capacity to align their actions with whatever course would maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain  Belief that opportunity in itself is a cause of crime *Control theories have been discounted in theorizing on deviance and control becauseit does not question social cause or individual pathology -Haggerty situational criminology [control theory] concentrates on reducing crime through loss prevention, target hardening, enhanced visibility -Neglect of control theory may have been due to the unpopularity in liberal sociological circles of work that appears to support discipline, punishment and regulation  Sykes and Matza techniques of neutralization (freed delinqunets from guilt and shame which enabled them to engage in delinquent activities Jackson Toby--> delinquents were distinguished from non-delinquents by their minimal ‘stake in conformity’ -A lack of conformity and presence of opportunities creates deviance  Homans and Blau: ‘social-exchange’ theories  human behavior is explained by individual gratifications provided by ‘exchange’ and that moral values emerge from ongoing exchanges  Social behavior based on tangible forms of exchange which provide the bases for rational choice o People act to maximize the pay-off, whether that takes the form of material well-being, status, or affection Discussion: Crime and the Full Moon -Is there a relationship between phases of the moon and human behavior? -Crime rate increase during full moon? -Looked at several studies, found no relationship between aggression and any phase of the moon, no relationship between violent deaths and phases of the moon There is an association with animal bites on full moons, crime rates on full moon days were higher  Could be because of ‘human tidal waves’ caused by gravitational pull of moon  humans made up of 80% water Sociological Control Theories of Deviance Travis Hirschi: -Common property of control theories is their assumption that ‘delinquent acts result when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken’ -Specifies 4 elements of that social bond: 1 Attachment: If you care about opinions and wishes of others, it’s because of one’s strong sense of attachment  Deviation only possible if a person does not care about the wishes, expectations and opinions of others 2 Commitment: Person invests time/energy in getting education, reputation, setting up business. When considering deviant behavior, considers the costs of deviant behavior, risk he runs of losing investment. Most people acquire goods/reputations/prospects by living in an organized society that they don’t want to risk losing 3 Involvement: Behavior counterpart of commitment; Person who is engaged in conventional activities has little time to engage in deviance; Deviants and norm-abiding citizens may share common value system, but there is variation in the extent to which people’s (4)‘belief’ they should obey the rules of society 4 Belief: The less a person believes he should obey the rules, the more likely he is to violate them -4 variables interact to produce an ideal typical portrait of a non-delinquent who is strongly attached to conventional others, strongly committed to conventional activities, imbued with strong belief in the need to obey the rules **Conformist is bonded to others; the deviant is not (ie. Those who offend while on bail tend to have no fixed address and to be unemployed no commitment and involvement) -Control theory is interested in why people don’t commit deviance -The theory doesn’t answer the question ‘why do they do it’ , they answer ‘why don’t we do it’ -Hirschi’s strength his work is empirical rather than theoretical  Control variables correlate with delinquency quite closely and consistently (ie. Parental supervision is inversely related to delinquency) Steven Box -Tried to align control theory with labeling theory  attempt to explain how and why social class and ethnicity have such weak links with delinquency in self report studies but such strong links in official statistics -More powerful members of society at an advantage, official deviants are predominantly lower-status  labeling processes interact with control variables to make matters worse for those defined as deviant -Motivation to commit deviance also important for Box individual decides to deviate has issue of secrecy(chances of concealment), skills (knowledge required for deviance), supply(necessary equipment), social (support of associates), symbolic support (support from wider culture) -Delinquent frustrated by failing school (status frustration) Case Study: Contribution of Harriet Wilson -Study of socially deprived families in inner Birmingham -using an index of ‘chaperonage’ Wilson measured the degree of protection parents gave to their children to ensure safety (ie. Fetching children from school, rules for coming in at night, etc.) -‘Strict’ parents insist on a degree of tidiness and cleanliness in the home -Very close association of lax parenting methods with severe social handicap  unemployment, physical/mental disabilities, poverty -Control theory of delinquency combined with a strong sense of structural context  received consistent empirical support (violence more likely to occur in communities marked by social heterogeneity, rapid change, growth of an illegal market in drugs Morgan delinquency was fostered by permissiveness in family life, education and crime control  adolescents had too much freedom to act out their fantasies ‘Situational’ Control Theories Contribution of Clarke -Criminological theories have been little concerned with situational determinants of crime  main object of these theories show how some people are born with a disposition to behave in a consistently criminal manner  ‘Dispositional’ bias o theory has been identified as a defining characteristic of ‘positivist’ criminology  also found in ‘interactionist’ or deviancy theories of crime -Focus of situational control theories (by contrast)  technical, cost- benefit-ratio aspects of crime  opportunities for crime available in the environment and the risks attached to criminal activity  ie. Short term  reducing opportunities for deviance produces results more quickly  Argument is that policy-relevant research should focus on containment, deterrent sentencing, policing effectiveness, crime prevention Situational crime prevention theories consistent with a model of the offender as capable of rational choice  Has a common sense appeal  How most people (incl. politicians+ officials) would explain their own behavior  Ex. Airline hijackings prevented by introduction of baggage screening  Ex. Robbing of bus drivers stopped by introducing exact fare systems Economist’s Angle: -Gary Becker: Assessed the balance between expenditure on control and punishment on the one hand, and on the other hand, the social losses from criminal offences  People will offend if the utility of doing so exceeds the utility of not doing so  Offending not a matter of motivation but of costs and benefits weighed by people who choose deviance because of the benefits it brings to the offender  (exception of crime committed as a result of serious mental illness) -Control theory is in line with theories of social learning and rational choice but it has no difficulty in accepting that the bulk of crime is committed by people who would not ordinarily be thought of as criminal at all -Measures for crime prevention have two linked emphases: (1)reducing the physical opportunities for offending and (2) increasing the risk of an offender’s being caught  ie. Replacing vulnerable coin boxes with stronger ones (eliminate theft from telephone booths)  ‘Target hardening’  make desired target harder to appropriate  attempt to see environment as potential predators see it -assumption that there is a good deal of unrealized potential for making use of the surveillance role of employers  -ie. Doormen, bus conductors, caretakers, etc.  control theory has translated the physical environment into a terrain patrolled, watched, and guarded by official and unofficial custodians (ie. Bus driver observe lower deck on bus= less vandalism. No driver on upper deck, upper deck=way more vandalism Contribution of Newman -Oscar Newman’s study (Defensible Space)  passive controls that can be mobilized by improvements in housing design, demonstrating the link between high-rise public sector housing and increased rates of delinquency -Criticism: high rise housing complex has made areas of space (deserted through-ways and underpasses, unobservable elevators and stairwells)  People who are part of morally stigmatized area experience discrimination, impaired life chances and unhelpful neighbors  Newman made the assumption that deviants do not belong to an area but are outsiders against whom space can be successfully defended (not necessarily the case)  Newman assumed that a sense of territoriality is a widespread human drive but not always -Crime believed to result from the uncontrolled circulation of strangers along walkways of poorly planned housing developments; the residents’ loss of a sense of territoriality; an abundance of escape routs for predators; and inadequate opportunities for surveillance Criticism: focusing on design neglects the influence of stigma, social organization and formal social control Case Study: Situational Crime Prevention -Situational crime prevention = evidence-based approach that deters offenders through the use of architecture as a place-improvement process -C
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