Barkan, Chapter 1 ( What is Crime? Legal and Sociological Deﬁnitions of Crime)
• The U.S. crime rate has declined since the early 1990’s yet the incarceration population
has more than doubled
Sociological Criminology: Sociological understanding of crime and criminal justice. -
Sociological Criminology gave explicit attention to issues of poverty, race, ethnicity as
well as to the structure of communities and social relationships.
Sociological Perspectives: People are social beings, meaning that society shapes their
behavior, attitude and life chances.
-Perspective derived from Emile Durkheim, a french sociologist
-He explained differences by focusing on structural characteristics
Social Structure: how a society is organized in terms of social relationships and social
-Horizontal social structure: social and physical characteristics of communities and
network of social relationships to which an individual belongs.
-Vertical social structure (Social Inequality): how a society ranks different groups of
Social Imagination: ability to understand the structural and historical basis for personal
- One of sociology’s most important goals was to uncover “inconvenient facts”.
Debunking Motif: things aren’t always as they seem; research often exposes false claims
about reality and taken-for-granted assumptions about social life and social institutions. -
Criminology illuminates the privileges of those at the top of the social hierarchy.
• All societies have norms: standards of behavior
- Norms in traditional societies are unwritten and informal and are called Customs. -Cus-
toms are enforced through social control(society’s restraint of norm-violating behavior),
such as ostracism and ridicule.
-In larger more modern societies norms tend to me more formal and written or codified
which makes them laws.
Deviance: Behavior that violates the norms of a society and arouses negative social reac-
tions. - Deviance is relative in time, meaning what may be considered deviant in one time
period may not be considered deviant in a later period and vice versa
• For a long time people attributed crime and deviance to religious forces. • Deviance will always exist because social norms are never strong enough to prevent all
• Deviance is necessary for social change to take place.
• During 19th c