Textbook Notes (362,815)
Canada (158,059)
Sociology (1,668)
Prof (2)

Criminology Reading.docx

34 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Sociology 2266A/B

Criminology: Reading notes 9/12/2012 7:18:00 AM The social Reality of crime Chapter 1: A Theory of Crime - until recent times writings and studies were based on the criminal itself, recently the focus has been changed and it has been discovered that crime is relative to different legal systems. - many criminologists now concentrate on how criminal definitions are constructed and applied in society. - there are two schools of thought when it comes to crime - one school of thought concentrates on their beliefs that crime is properly studied by concentrating on the offender and their actions and behaviors while the other school of thought concentrates on criminal law and how it is enforced administered and formulated. - these two schools of thought in fact compliment each other. - ontology, is what is the world really like? We have no reason to believe in the objective existence of anything therefore we must create theories that give meaning to our experience. - Epistemology, we as observers cannot copy anything that may be regarded as objective reality. - our observations are based on our own mental constructions - causation, a lot of criminological theory is based on positivistic assumptions which has sought to explain the cause of crime. - there Is a strategy with causation - this strategy has three parts - The first is that the explanation not be the soul interest of criminologists. The goal is not to form and verify theories of causation but to create an order among observables. - second, a statement of causation doesn‟t necessarily state the nature of the reality but the methodological constructions of the observer - third we must not use the causational construct as it has often been applied in physical science. Theory construction - appropriate structure of a thory is far from certain in sociology - we lack criteria for building theories - Homans has suggested a theory must consist of propositions that suggest relationships and form a deductive system - we cant ignore theories without deductive this can be probalistic, functional or genetic. - propositions must be consistent with one another and must be integrated into a system. - the conclusion drawn from one proposition must not contradict that of the other proposition - proposition also must be testable, validity must be determined by subsequent research and they also must be useful, enabling us to understand the problem that inspired us to formulate a theory. - propositions must be positioned in a way that they express relationships that are both coexistent and sequential thus showing that patterns of phenomena develop over a period of time. Assumptions: man and society in a theory of crime - in studying any social phenomena we must hold to some general perspective - two of those used by sociologists are the static and dynamic interpretations of society. - theory in book is based on dynamic theory - based on four assumptions about man and society - process, conflict, power and social action - process, dynamic aspect of social relations may be referred to as social process. Social phenomena fluctuates continually. - conflict, in any society conflict is inevitable, they are the normal consequence of social life. - conflict is especially prevalent in societies with diverse value systems and normative groups -in the consensus model of society we describe social structure as functionally integrated system held together by equilibrium - in the conflict model we find that societies and social organizations are shaped by diversity, coercion and change. - Dahrendorf characterized the difference between these two… according to him we assume that society is a 1) relatively persistent, stable structure. 2) it is well integrated 3) every element has a functions and helps maintain the system and 4) a functions social structure is based on a consensus or values. - for the conflict model of society we assume that 1) every point of society is subject to change 2) at every point there is conflict and 3) every element contributes to change and 4) it is based on coercion of some of its members by others - in summation society is held together by force and constraint and is characterized by conflicts which result in constant change - it is likely that we will find consensus and stability in society between subunits - conflict doesn‟t always have to disrupt society - it promotes co operations, establishes group boundaries and unites social factions - power, is the basic characteristic of social organization - this means in every social organization some positions are trusted with the right to exercise control over other positions - differential distribution of power produces conflict between competing groups - power and the allocation of values are key in developing public policy - social actions, mans actions are purposeful and meaningful Theory: the social reality of crime - this theory contains six propositions and a number of statements within the propositions. - the first proposition defines crime - the next four are explanatory units - the final proposition collects the other five to form a descriptions of the reality of crime - proposition 1, crime is a definition of human conduct that is created by authorized agents in a politically organized society. This is the starting point of the theory - it is a definition of crime - crime is a behavior that is conferred on some persons by others - legislators, police and prosecutors are responsible for formulating and administering criminal law -persons and behaviors therefore become criminal because of the formulation and application of criminal definitions, thus crime is created. - crime is not inherent in the behavior but is a judgment made by some about actions and characteristics by others. - this proposition allows us to focus on the formulation and administrations of criminal law as it touches upon the behaviors that become defined as criminal. - proposition 2, criminal definitions describe behaviours that conflict with the interests of the segments of society that have the power to shape public policy. - criminal definitions are formulated according to the interests of different social groups of society which have the power to translate their interests into public policy. - these interests are those which are treasured by dominant groups - this is one of the most obvious manifestations of conflict in society. - some segments of society protect and perpetuate their own interests which may be in conflict with the interests of another group. - laws also change with the modification in the interest structure….so when the interests that underlie a criminal code no longer are relevant to a groups power the law will be looked over and changed. - Proposition 3, ( application of criminal definitions) criminal definitions are applied by the segments of society that have the power to shape the enforcement and administration of criminal law - powerful interests intervene in all stages of which criminal definitions are created - enforcement and administrations of the law are necessary because interests cannot be protected by merely creating laws -Propositions 4, (development of behavior patterns in relation to criminal definitions) - behavior patterns are developed in segmentally organized society in relation to criminal definitions and within this context persons engage in actions that have relative probabilities of being defined as criminal. - individuals are provided with a frame work for developing personality behaviors and personal action patterns. - patterns of actions are developed through interactions with others - it also depends on three other factors: their structured opportunities, learning experiences, interpersonal associations and self conception - through our experiences each person creates a social conception of themselves - if you are constantly defines as a criminal you will then self define and act as a criminal would. - proposition 5, the construction of criminal conceptions - the real world is a social construction, man with the help of others creates the world in which he lives - this is also created based on the knowledge they develop and idea they are exposed to… man behaves in reference to the social meanings he attaches to his experiences - proposition 6, the social reality of crime - the formulation and application of criminal definitions - the five propositions can be collected into a composite - the theory accordingly describes and explains the phenomena that increase the probability of crime in society resulting in the social reality of crime - the first proposition is a definition and the sixth is a composite the body of the theory is held in the middle four propositions Diagram Connecting Propositions: Formulation of criminal Application of criminal definitions Definitions construction of development of Behavior Criminal Patterns in relations to Conceptions Criminal definitions CHAPTER 2: FORMULATIONS OF CRIMINAL DEFINITIONS Study of Criminal Law: - we do not have greater theoretical understanding of criminology and legal matters than we did a century ago . - Roscoe Pound was the principal figure in Sociological Jurisprudence - Legal philosophy influences by early sociologists was a major force in American legal thought -Roscoe Pound believed that law was a specialized form of social control that brings pressure upon each man - pound provided one of the few starting points for the study of law as a social phenomena - groups and their opinions have been studied by no studies have been on how these opinions from these groups influence the laws which are made and administered to society - no sociologists to date have neither paid any attention nor rejected pounds theory - pounds approach requires formulation and extension into a sociological theory of criminal law From sociological Jurisprudence to Sociology of Criminal Law: - law is both a social product and a social force - ir reflects society and influences it - The consensus model of criminal law is another one of pounds theories - believed that law represents the consciousness of the total society - pound also believed law reflected the needs of a well ordered society; we call this his theory of interests - he believed that law was a form of social engineering - interests pound had in mind would maintain and ultimately improve the social order - law regulates social behavior and establishes social organization, it restrains individual actions by settling disputes in social relations - law works in two ways, one to exablish the rules of the game, to establish the way you life will go and two to adjust conflicting claims . - in pounds theory of interest, law provides the general framework within which individual and group life is carried on according to the norms of social order. - in the interest theory of sociological jurisprudence, law is an instrument that controls interests according to the requirements of social order - Pounds theory of interests included a threefold classification which included; the individual, the public, and the social - he warned most overlap and can be placed in all three classifications at the same time depending on your purpose - in looking at the claims demand and desires pound found that most proceedings in legislation were interest which involve security against actions that threaten a social group - pound believed any legal system depended on the way in which these were incorporated into the law - the authors theoretical perspective on criminal law is different from the traditional interest theory of sociological jurisprudence for many reasons - firstly, his theory is based on a special concept of society. He believed society is characterized by diversity conflict coercion and change rather than consensus and stability - second, author believes law is the result of operation of interests, rather than something that works outside of interests. Though law controls interest it is first created by interest of society - Third, the author believes the law incorporates the interests of certain persons or groups, not the product of the entire society. The law is made by men with interests who have the power to translate their interests into public policy, it is NOT a compromise of the interests of society. Law in Politically organized society: - authority is present in all social collectives - someone is always at the command of you - as order is established several systems of control develop to regulate conduct of various groups or persons - control systems vary considerably in terms of what behaviors the regulate - the legal system is the most explicit form of social control. - the law consists of ; a) specific rules of conduct, b) planned use of sanctions to support the rules and c) designated officials to interpret and enforce the rules. - as systems of control in society get more complex the law is more and more important to this system- law is more than a system of formal control, it is a body of specialized rules created in a politically organized society with the authorized power to govern lives and activities of its inhabitants. - only specialized rule systems of politically organized societies are regarded as laws - law is an integral part of society, it is a social product - the law Is also a method or process of doing something, it is continuously being created and interpreted - In law, the values of some are necessarily assured and the values of others are either ignored or negated. - this shows us that the law only concentrates on the values and views of some and not of the majority. The Interest structure: - society is characterized by the organization of differences. - this social differentiation provides for the basis of the states political life. - governments in a politically organized society operates on the interests of the powerful - therefore politically organized society can be viewed as a differentiated interest structure - each segment of society has its own values, norms and ideological orientations. These things all together are defined as interests and are vital for the survival of that segment of society. - there are six orders in which interests operate; those are the political, the economic, the religious, the kinship, the educational and the public a) the political; - regulates the distribution of power in society b) the economic; - regulates the production and distribution of goods c) the religious; - regulates the relationship of man to a conception of the supernatural d) the kinship; - regulates sexual relations, family patterns and the procreation and rearing of children e) the educational; - regulates the formal training of society‟s members f) the public; - the protection and maintenance of a community and its citizens - each of these categories have two types of interests … the first is formal interests and the second is active interests - formal interests; are advantageous to the segment but are not organized for action - Active interests; manifest to persons in the segment and are sufficiently organized to serve as the basis for representations in policy decisions. -Interest groups are groups of people which become aware and organize to promote their common interest - The interest structure is characterized by the unequal distribution of power and conflict among the segments of society. Therefore these segments are in continual conflict over their interests and who‟s interests will be represented in society. - power and conflict are connected in the concept of the interest structure. - power is the ability to shape a public policy and produces conflict among the competing segments. - coherence in the interest structure is therefore expressed by exercising force and constraint in each segment. -The conflict- power conception of the interest structure implies that public policy results from distributions of power and conflict among the segments of society… in other words diverse segments of society become so powerful that they are able to influence laws created in society. - hence public policy is created because segments with power are in conflict with one another. Formulation and Administration of Criminal Law: - regulates behavior and activities of all members of society. - formulated and administered by those segments of society which are able to incorporate their interests into the creation and interpretations of public policy. - rather than representing the interests of all members of society, law only represents the interests of particular segments. - it supports one point of view at the expense of another represents the segments with the power to shape public policy - because of this some segments are able to control others for their own benefit. - legal interests take place within the context of changing interest structure in society. FREEDOM WRITINGS FROM DEATH ROW 9/12/2012 7:18:00 AM Finding Freedom: Writings from Death row Page 1-19 - masters was moved around from foster home to foster home - he went on a crime spree when he was release from foster care ( held up stores ect. ) - he was sent to prisons and got caught up in a prison gang - on trial for sharpening a piece of metal which was then passed down and later used to kill a Sargent by another inmate. - was sentenced to death in the gas chamber because of his violent past - he is the only man on death row living in his crime scene - writer writes with Jarvis about himself and his time in the prison - first person he meets in San quintin is a guy named Pops looking for his pet rat - Social Realities of crime 9/12/2012 7:18:00 AM Strain Theories (consensus and Conflict Approach) (Strain theory is when people are exposed to cultural goals they are unable to reach with the means they are provided with, ex. Going to university if you are poor) What is Anomie Theory? -Term founded by Emile Durkheim - Used to describe an absence of clear societal norms - Merton used this to describe the phenomena of people adopting deviant means to achieve goals beyond their means - self- interest rather than societal norms control behaviors - Used to explain dictatorship countries Examples, robbing a bank to buy a sports car you cant afford. Merton and Durkheim - believed crime was a gap between cultural prescribed aspirations and the means for attaining those aspirations. - in American, they argued these are attaining money and status that rsults from material wealth. - not being able to attain there causes strain Main theorists in social strain theory and Anomie: - Emile Durkheim - Robert Merton Critques; - doesn‟t elp us explain lower crime rates of women - only helps us explain higher crime rates of marginalized people or communities - he only takes into account difference of opportunity that arise from social class… what about gender? Modern Day use: - used to study material wealth in todays society - study where wallets were lost with $50 in them … 44% of wallets disappeared by In Denmark and Norway all the wallets were returned.. does every different society create a climate that produces more good Samaritans than others ? Differential Associations: - crime like any social behavior is learned in association with others - you are who you regularly associate with - you learn relevant skills of committing crimes and ideas and ways of justifying it. The Consensus Approach: What is Consensus approach? - also known as functionalism -believe family, education, government, religion and economy all contribute to the normal running of society. Crime occurs when something unusual happens to the flow of these things mentioned, this results in strain, stress and frustration. - believes that maintaining a certain state of society is the common interest of all - Believes law represents the consensus of people - Law is a codification of values shared by most members of society -Society agrees that certain acts should be prohibited by criminal law. - Support for consensus theory is that there is a broad agreement that many laws particularly regarding street crime such as robbery burglary and murder should be prohibited by law. - these laws only look out for a small interest group (powerful and wealthy; those powerful enough to shape the laws made) History of Consensus Approach: - Many European settlers in the United States were puritans who left England for the colony of Massachusetts so they could be free to practice their own religious beliefs - Some capital crime was idolatry, witchcraft etc. - This shows how values or religious values become codified in law The Conflict Approach: What is the conflict approach? - questions assumptions of the consensus theory; says laws reflect the interests of the groups that create and enforce those laws . - argues consensus protects not the majority but rather the most powerful. - These theorists don‟t not think that this reflects a consensus of the members of society. This is majorly outlines in the class conflict theorists work. - They believe laws are passed by ruling class to maintain their privileged position by keeping the common people under control. - Activities that threaten those in power are viewed as illegal - These laws benefit the powerful at the expense of the average folk/ the poor. Historical Use of Conflict Approach: - An example of this is Reed using the legal system to control the number of aboriginals people moving around who he believed presented a threat to those holding power. - Another example is the one mentioned in class where the king had to protect the goods his carrier was transporting to the merchants… The famous carrier case - The law that protected your goods, services and property was created to protect the merchant class from being robbed. Cultural Conflict Theory: - when individuals act on norms of their group which are in direct violation of the norms of a dominant group Main Theorist: Sellin Group Conflict Theory: - interests groups or social groupings attempt to protect their own interests by influencing the creation or enforcement of criminal laws. - outlined in Quinneys Propositions Main Theorist: Quinney Quinney’s Conflict theory of crime: - quinney presents 6 (5) propositions hat outline his conflict theory of crime - Easiest way to look at Quinney is like a chemistry experiment - he has a proposition he puts forward and then proofs to prove the propositions Proposition 1: crime is a definition of human conduct that is created by authorized agents In a politically organized society. - therefore one cause of crime is the law - this proposition shows a radical side of Quinney - this theory rejects consensus theory and the theory of universalism (FILL IN FROM LECTURE NOTES ) Proposition 2: Criminal definitions describe behaviors that conflict with segments of society that have the power to shape public policy - in other words you are criminal or delinquent if you engage in activity that is frowned upon by people of higher power. - political scientists have documented the role of the powerful interest in the formulation of laws - laws are formulated to protect the powerful - laws support the interest of some at the expense of the other, therefore this is not consensus at all - these interests can be political, economic, religious, educational or public. - Quinney goes on to talk about the criminal person but also how it is linked to the law and how the law is created and enforced. - Quinney shows that criminal law is largely and elite enterprise… use to protect the elite from the middle and lower class of society - conflict theorists use this to argue that laws are not universal and interest and power based. - an example Is Sunday laws. Catholic Religion was and still is dominant in society and we see this with store hours ect. Proposition 3: Criminal definitions are applied by the segments of society that have to power to enforce the administration of criminal law - this is the application of criminal definitions - applying and enforcing the laws… not the creation of them - he argues that in Canadian society its impossible to have full enforcement of all laws because we don‟t have the resources to do so. - Not enough police officers, jail cells ect. - enforcement also varies if you live in a rural area versus city - also varies in terms of police culture or race - Parole versus Probation - you are eligible for parole if your sentence is more than 6 months in length - you go to federal jail if your sentence is more than two years - provincial jail if your sentence is two years less a day Proposition 4: Behvaior patters are structured segmentaly organized society in relation to criminal defintions and within this contect persons engage in actions that have probabilities in being defines as criminal - development of behvaiour patters is related to criminal defintions - your social organization - different probabilities of becoming criminal - rates of crime vary by social organization (Sutherland) - there are three social factors of being defined criminal which make up a stereotypical criminal - 1. Age sex structure: - age 15-25 -male ( males as mentioned before or more risk takers, more aggressive) 2. Social class structure: - people of lower classes over represented in jails - people locked up usually come from socially disorganized backgrounds - particularly lower class gangs, young men of colour ect. - higher law enforcement for these men 3. Ethic Racial Structure of society - people of colour arrested 3-4x more that white people - people of colour also likely tobe denied bail - aboriginal 30x more likely to be arrested - these three factors act together to create the stereotypical criminal (young male of colour in a lower class po
More Less

Related notes for Sociology 2266A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.