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chapter 6

American Dream

The goal of accumulating material goods and wealth through individual competition; the process of being socialized to pursue material success and to believe it is achievable.

anomie theory

The view that anomie results when socially defined goals (such as wealth and power) are universally mandated but access to legitimate means (such as education and job opportunities) is stratified by class and status.

collective efficacy

Social control exerted by cohesive communities and based on mutual trust, including intervention in the supervision of children and maintenance of public order.

concentration effect

As working- and middle-class families flee inner-city poverty-ridden areas, the most disadvantaged population is consolidated in urban ghettos.

cultural deviance theory

Branch of social structure theory that sees strain and social disorganization together resulting in a unique lower-class culture that conflicts with conventional social norms.

cultural transmission

Process whereby values, beliefs, and traditions are handed down from one generation to the next.

culture of poverty

A separate lower-class culture, characterized by apathy, cynicism, helplessness, and mistrust of social institutions such as schools, government agencies, and the police, that is passed from one generation to the next.

delinquent subculture

A value system adopted by lowerclass youths that is directly opposed to that of the larger society.

differential opportunity

The view that lower-class youths, whose legitimate opportunities are limited, join gangs and pursue criminal careers as alternative means to achieve universal success goals.

focal concerns

Values, such as toughness and street smarts, that have evolved specifically to fit conditions in lower-class environments.

general strain theory (GST)

The view that multiple sources of strain interact with an individual's emotional traits and responses to produce criminality.

institutional anomie theory

The view that anomie pervades U.S. culture because the drive for material wealth dominates and undermines social and community values.

middle-class measuring rods

The standards by which authority figures, such as teachers and employers, evaluate lower-class youngsters and often prejudge them negatively.

negative affective states

Anger, frustration, and adverse emotions produced by a variety of sources of strain.

reaction formation

Irrational hostility evidenced by young delinquents, who adopt norms directly opposed to middleclass goals and standards that seem impossible to achieve.

relative deprivation

Envy, mistrust, and aggression resulting from perceptions of economic and social inequality.

social class

Segment of the population whose members are at a relatively similar economic level and who share attitudes, values, norms, and an identifiable lifestyle.

social disorganization theory

Branch of social structure theory that focuses on the breakdown, in inner-city neighborhoods, of institutions such as the family, school, and employment.

social structure theory

The view that disadvantaged economic class position is a primary cause of crime.

status frustration

A form of culture conflict experienced by lower-class youths because social conditions prevent them from achieving success as defined by the larger society.

strain

The anger, frustration, and resentment experienced by people who believe they cannot achieve their goals through legitimate means.

strain theory

Branch of social structure theory that sees crime as a function of the conflict between people's goals and the means available to obtain them.

stratified society

People grouped according to economic or social class; characterized by the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and prestige.

subculture

A set of values, beliefs, and traditions unique to a particular social class or group within a larger society.

transitional neighborhood

An area undergoing a shift in population and structure, usually from middle-class residential to lower-class mixed-use.

underclass

The lowest social stratum in any country, whose members lack the education and skills needed to function successfully in modern society.

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