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Chapter 4

Sociology 2267A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Hate Crime, Juvenile Delinquency, Ethnography

Course Code
SOC 2267A/B
Lisa Lyons

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Chapter 4- The Social Face of Youth Crime:
Racialize youth crime- nothing fuels fires moral panic more image non-white youth
gangs prey on innocent (more dangerous, crim, out-control and threatening white)
Only past 25 years ack imp race, class and gender- as well interconnectedness- in social
construction youth crime images
By 1970s apparent some crims social face youth crime socio-political construction varied
depending source info, media/ police/ court records and now recog youth crime itself
socio-pol construction reinforced by media portrayals crime
Ethnographic method- research method involves richly detailed descriptions and
classifications group people/ behavs= direct participation observation/ comprehensive
Longitudinal studies- data collected group people collected over number time periods,
rather than only one point in their lives= greater emph age and relation crime
Links b/w youth victimization and youth criminality coming under increasing scrutiny
Race/ ethnicity:
Race- socially constructed category based beliefs about bio difs b/w groups people have
no basis sci evidence (skin color)
Ethnicity- person’s group origin, where origin usually thought of in terms ancestral
location and/or elements of culture (eg. Lang, style dress, behav patterns, social customs)
Distinctions most often produced and maint by power differentials b/w dom racial/ ethnic
group and a subord one= disting empirically b/w race/ ethnicity and class, as measured by
socio-economic status- social standing/ position terms edu, occ and income
Little CN info avail on crim activity by race/ethnicity, part w regard official stats
Federal stats don’t provide info on race and crime largely b/c human-rights orgs have
objected collection justice stats by race- need to consider Aborig persons’ circs and
YCJA also need to consider needs (not considered nec court admin)
Hate crime- behavs advocating genocide, public incitement/ willful promotion hatred and
mischief in relation to religious property (other off, such as assault, can be class hate
crime if motivated hatred toward part marg group)- low but increasing, only 1/3 rep
Most frequently hate crimes racially motivated-1/3 (34%) violent and 40% these resulted
physical injury (perps and victims high youth and young adults)
Racialized youth gangs:
Media major contributor to racialization youth crime and ident presumed existence and
racial composition youth gangs
Early 1990s CN media ident 4 groups youth problematic: Asian, Vietnamese, Latin and
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White youth gang activity never linked race perpetrators- terms used media broad,
generic identifiers such as “Asian”, serve brand all visible-minority individuals perceived
fit category
Entered 21st cent aboriginal gangs on prairies ident and problematized nat media
Articles highly condemnatory and fear inducing and mask v real issues of pov,
dispossession, social inequal, judicial unfairness and social isolation
Gang research shows quite dif pic youth gangs than media- namely youth gangs and
street gangs usually multi-ethnic ex: Asians no more likely be involved than any other
ethnocult group/ comm
Youth gangs not long-lived- spite findings, notions immigrant gangs persist (certain
ethnic groups esp prone violence and anti-soc behav)- def kids immigrants part
troublesome not new phenomenon
Gang memb predom black and white- highest part rate students disadv backgrounds and
Shouldn’t overlook white skinheads- not norm regarded gang but rather hate group/
political terrorists but do engage crim activity rel crimes hate and violence- race integral
to membership, CN skinheads as group don’t nec commit to explicitly racist ideology
2007 pamphlet by National Crime Prevention Centre reports largest proportion youth
gang membs African-CN, followed by first nations and Caucasian
Gang was def as a group of youths/ young adults in your jurisdiction, under 21 that you/
resp persons in your agency/ comm willing ident/ classify as gang- highly subj def gang
and not reliable/ valid measure and respondents only 1 person from each jurisdiction (rep
75% police jurisdictions CN)
Results suspect b/c race and ethnicity determinations and proportions left to subj
assessment police officers filling out survey- not everyone responded (already prob due
racial profiling)
Survey methodologically flawed conclusions survey don’t reflect actual youth gang
activity= best viewed example inapprop measuring tool q at hand (should look at self-
reports) and highly irresp branch fed gov present as facts results methodologically flawed
survey cont racialization youth and crim activity
Black youth:
V little know about offenses black youth, but media began ident black crime prob in
major cities in early 1980s- subcult practices in direct conflict w all-white school auth
struct (seen as threatening)
Moral panic brought on by public apprehension about profound social change been exp
recent decades
Aboriginal youth:
1980s issues aborig youth crime centred around impov reserves= theft, break and enter
and willful damage- boredom and despair life on impov reserves
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Aborig youth crime frequently occurred context substance abuse and violence
accompanies it (violence often self-inflicted and suicide rate much higher)
Stat Snapshot youth at risk included youth crime info from reserves- info based offences
committed on reserves, not nec people live on reserves and therefore not nec committed
by aborig youth
Cont crime when age, aborig more likely fall into chronic, frequent and serious high-
offending than non-aborig youth and aborig youth more likely come from impov
background, charact unstable fam env, substance use and neg peer associations
Mid-1990s concerns aborig youth shifting urban areas- aborig youth seen turn gangs
sense ident and purpose as well as way survive and make decent living and drawn into
gangs by fam and friends
Aborig youth overrep in court and prison pops- higher arrest rates, more likely be denied
bail and more likely be held in detention prior to trial and become involved CJS younger
Overrep may be due to high concentration policing on native reserves and concentrated
urban core areas which some cities, furthers risk apprehension
Dramatic increases prop aborig youth in custody through YOA years- aborig overrep in
system cont increase under YCJA in that admissions to custody and detention higher in
2009 than were over past 10 years, in spite declining custody admissions overall
Correctional rates dropped slightly 2010-2011, when accounted 26%, still higher YOA
Overrep as offenders and victims in homicide cases- usually interracial, found more kill
fam memb and less often involved another crime and more often friends/ acquaintances
(non-aborig youth killed more strangers)
Youth under 12:
Children under 12 not highly involved in crim activity- likely one major reasons
excluded jurisdictions YOA and YCJA, part since, even w small proportions, not all
would be charged w offence under crim code
2008 one 77 youth accused homicide under 12- outside jurisdiction YCJA, 1 of 3 cases
accused homicide cleared “otherwise” that year, likely through mental health/ child
welfare agencies (6 children under 12 accused homicide past 10 years)
V small number- most M 10-11 and most offences petty nature (mischief and theft under
$1,000)- only 2% violent off of serious nature, sexual assault and assault level 2, 3%
Majority didn’t use weapons- those did= knives, club/stick and 1% firearm
Most committed alone- either org/ spontaneous peer involvement in crime youth group/
gang negligible
Public fears older youth/ adults encouraging under-12s be involved in crim activity
appear unfounded- when accomplices involved usually 12-13, only 6% over 16
Most police from across country didn’t see area crim activity as something serious
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