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stratified society

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

social structure theories

social and economic forces operating in deteriorated lower-class areas are the key determinant of criminal behavior patterns.

social disorganization theory

this theory focuses on the conditions within the urban environment that affect crime rates

strain theory

theory that holds that crime is a function of the conflict between the goals people have and the means they can use to obtain them legally.


anger, frustration, resentment

cultural deviance theory

third vairation of structural theory, combines elements of strain and social disorganization

cultural transmission

A school of criminology that argues that criminal behavior is learned through social interactions


the quality or condition of being uncivil; discourteous behavior or treatment.

siege mentality

mindset in which the outside world is considered the enemy out to destroy the neighborhood


the restoration of run-down urban areas by the middle class (resulting in the displacement of lower-income people)

collective efficacy

mutual trust, willingness to intervene in the supervision of children and the maintenance of public order

relative deprivation

the perception that one is worse off relative to those with whom one compares oneself.

mechanical solidarity

durkheims term for the unity (a shared consciousness) that people feel as a result of performing the same or similar tasks

organic solidarity

Durkheim's term for the interdependence that results from people needing others to fulfill their jobs; solidarity based on the interdependence brought about by the division of labour

general strain theory

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

negative affective states

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

conduct norms

rules governing day-to-day living conditions within subcultures

culture conflict

The state that occurs when people become aware of cultural differences, and become afraid and start to ridicule others for theirs beliefs to start to make themselves feel more secure.

focal concerns

Central values and goals that, according to Walter Miller, differ by social class.

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

middle-class measuring rods

standards set by authority figures which handi-cap lower class children in being able to positively impress said authorities according to Cohen

reaction formation

psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites. Thus, people may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing unconscious feelings.

differential opportunity

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

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