67 terms

section 4 & 5

section 4
social structural theories
Consensus Perspective
Views society as a system of mutually sustaining parts and as characterized by broad normative consensus.
(functionalist perspective)

conflict is the other
The Social Structural Tradition
Structural theorists seek to explain group crime rates rather than why particular individuals commit crimes.

The focus is on the ways in which the social institutions (such as religion, economy, and family) influence criminality.
social structure
the framework of social institutions-the family,educational,religious,economic,and political institutions that operate to structure thebpatterns of relationships members of society have with one another
Structural-Functional Theory: ( or functional theory)
Main ideas: society is primarily stable and orderly; all parts of the system are interrelated and necessary for society's function; influenced by scientific sociology; looks for sources of order and stability

Key theorists: Comte, Durkheim, Parsons, Merton

Main criticisms: Fails to explain change in society; assumes conflict is harmful (but it can actually lead to greater stability); just because a system seems stable does not mean that it is equitable
Functionalists examine the different functions of various parts of society.

Functional Analysis (Robert Merton)
Manifest functions - planned outcomes for social institutions/structures. Ex: A new law sets out to reduce crime and actually does.

Latent functions - unplanned or unintended outcomes for social institutions/structures. Ex: The new law brings additional revenue for the state (from violators).

Dysfunctions - actions that undermine the stability of society; the negative outcome. The new law causes an underground crime network.
Deviance serves vital functions for society
Structural Functionalist Viewpoint
Sets examples of unacceptable behavior

Provides guidelines for behavior that is necessary to maintain social order

Bonds people together through their common rejection of deviant behavior

Provides jobs for those who deal with deviants

Can signal problems in a society that need addressed (stimulate positive change)

Opens societies to new and creative paths of thinking

For these reasons, we need a certain amount of crime and deviance.
Social ecology
: Describes the interrelations of human beings and the communities in which they live.
The Chicago School of Ecology
The first criminological theory to be developed in the United States was the Chicago school of human ecology, primarily through the work of Clifford Shaw & Henry McKay.

Shaw & McKay observed that the majority of delinquents always came from the same neighborhoods, suggesting that some areas facilitate crime independent of other factors.
transistions zone
where social changes leading to delinquency mostly occurred
Social Disorganization Theory
Shaw & McKay
Focuses on the breakdown of informal community rules.

Social disorganization is seen as contributing to crime in two ways:
1) The lack of informal controls; and
2) The subsequent development of a set of values that support antisocial behavior.
Collective Efficacy
The shared power of a group of connected and engaged individuals to influence the maintenance of public order.
ecological fallacy
states that we cannot make inferences about individuals and groups on the basis of information derived from the larger population from which they are part of.
The Anomie/Strain Tradition
Emile Durkheim

Durkheim identified two types of solidarity:

Mechanical Solidarity: People share common experiences, common values, and strong emotional ties to the collectivity.

Organic Solidarity: Characterized by occupational specialization and a diversity of experiences and circumstances; common in modern societies.

Organic solidarity may contribute to antisocial behavior by weakening common values and social bonds.

Durkheim also argued that because crime is found at all times and in all societies, it is a normal and inevitable social phenomenon, even socially useful.
A lack of rules, or state of "normlessness."
Strain Theory
Robert Merton
Argued that crime is caused by the gap between commonly held cultural goals and the legitimate means available to achieve them.
In American culture, monetary success is the predominant cultural goal, but not everyone has the same access to attain it.
Some people respond to this disjunction in criminal ways.
Strain Theory (cont'd)
Merton identified five modes of adaptation:

Conformity: Acceptance of goals and means.

Ritualism: Rejection of goals; acceptance of means.

Innovation: Acceptance of goals; rejection of means.

Retreatism: Rejection of goals and means.

Rebellion: Rejection and replacement of goals and means.
Merton outlines 5 ways to adapt to the strain:
Conformity- embracing the society's definition of success and adhering to the established and approved means of achieving success

Innovation- use of illicit means to reach approved goals

Ritualism- strict adherence to culturally‑ prescribed rules, even though individuals give up on the goals they hoped to achieve

Retreatism- giving up on both the goals and the means

Rebellion- rejecting the socially approved ideas of "success" and the means of attaining that success, but replaces those with alternative definitions of success and alternative strategies for attaining the new goals
Institutional Anomie Theory
Messner & Rosenfeld

Argued that crime is endemic in American culture due to the preeminence of economic considerations.

The dominance of the economy disrupts the pro-social functioning of other institutions.

def:extends anomie theory and claims that "high crime rates are intrinsic to american society:at all social levels, america is organized for crime
The use of policies to free other social institutions from the domination of the economy.

This was identified as a possible mechanism for reducing crime.
the transformation of social relationships formally untainted by economic considerations into commodities
General Strain Theory
Robert Agnew

Viewed strain as the result of negative emotions that arise from negative relationships with others.

Argued that strain leads to crime through the fostering of a negative attitude about other people.

The impact of strain depends upon its magnitude, recency, duration, and clustering.
The presence of strain is less important than how one copes with it.

he identtifies several other sources of stain besides the disjunction between expectations and actual achievements
Subcultural Theory
Albert Cohen

Argued that crime is caused by status frustration that originates when lower-class youth fail to live up to "middle-class measuring rods."
Views crime as non-utilitarian, malicious, and negative; sees crime as resulting from the inversion of middle-class norms.
Short-Run Hedonism
The seeking of immediate gratification to desires without regard to long-term consequences.

destroying rather than creating
middle class measuring rods
because low class youths cannot measure up to middle class standards, they experience status frustration, and this frustration spawns an oppositional culture
status frustration
a form of frustration experienced by lower class youths who desire approval and status but who cannot meet middle class criteria and thus seek status via alternative means
Opportunity Structure Theory
Cloward & Ohlin

States that just as there are barriers to achieving legitimate success, there are barriers to achieving illegitimate (criminal) success.

Youth born into an illegitimate "opportunity structure" will go on to join criminal gangs.

Delinquent groups include:

Conflict Gangs - Generated in areas with a high degree of transience and instability.

Retreatist Gangs - "Escapist" in their attitudes.
Focal concerns Theory
Walter Miller
Main argument: Six focal concerns serve as a value system that has emerged from the realities of life on the bottom rung of society.

Trouble-something to stay out of(being able to handle ones self)

Toughness-very important to lower class males."not taking any shit"

Smartness-refers to street smart. the ability to survive with street wits

Excitement-search for fun,fighting, sexual adventurism,stone or drunk,gambling

Fate-belife that the locus of control is external to oneself

Autonomy-personal freedom, being outside the control of authority figures, teachers employers, police " doing my ow thing"

This theory was supported by Elijah Anderson's ethnographic research in Philadelphia.
Gang membership has increased dramatically over the last few decades, possibly due to deindustrialization (the decline of the manufacturing industry). (Moore & Hagedorn, 2001: 2)

Gangs serve many functions for youth:

Security in neighborhoods where unafilliated youth may be victimized.

A sense of belonging for those with weak family ties or those seeking friendship.

A venue for economic opportunities where few others exist.

3)play group
4)protective agency
5) education institutuion
Policy and Prevention Implications
Clifford Shaw worked to fund the Chicago Area Project (CAP), which attempted to strengthen community institutions.will help cooperation of schools,churches,recreational clubs,trade unions, and businesses

Strain theory had an impact on public policy via the War on Poverty.

Cloward and Ohlin developed Mobilization for Youth (MFY), a program focused on expanding legitimate opportunities for youth.job placement programs,training,educational

Increasing low-skill work opportunities may decrease the appeal of gangs.
institutional balance of power
the notion that their is an imbalance of power among american institutions because all non economic institutions are subservient to the economy
Rural Youth Violence
These authors tested the application of social disorg. theory in the context of rural communities.

Social disorganization: "An inability of community members to achieve shared values or to solve jointly experienced problems."

The variables considered by this approach are:

Residential Instability
Ethnic Diversity
Family Disruption
Economic Status
Population Density
Proximity to Urban Areas

Consistent with social disorganization theory, factors including residential instability, ethnic diversity, and family disruption were all found to be linked to crime rates in rural areas.

On the other hand, poverty, population size/density, and proximity to metropolitan areas did not have consistent effects on crime rates in the areas studied.

The general theoretical argument of social disorganization does appear to apply to rural communities
Social Structure and Anomie
This is Robert Merton's classic work on the various means of adaptation that result when an individual experiences strain—the disjunction between legitimate goals and the means to achieve them.

Societies vary in the relative importance that they place on cultural goals versus institutional norms.

Order can best be maintained in societies where there are strong incentives to stay within both of these constraints.

There are five reactions which one can have to goals and norms:

Acceptance of both.

Acceptance of goals, but rejection of norms.

Acceptance of norms, but not goals.

Rejection of both norms and goals.

Substitution of norms and goals.
Gangs and Social Change
This author critiques most work on gangs for over-emphasizing the deviancy of individuals; he proposes that gangs are shaped by social structural context.

Most research on gangs have focused on individual attributes rather than social structure.

Structure: "...the configuration of material resources in a system of allocation that establishes various opportunity parameters for each social class."

Over time, two factors have consistently contributed to gangs: Poverty, and worsening opportunities for social mobility

Five eras are discussed by the author:

The Great Wave of Immigration
The Expansion of Industrial Production
The Deregulation of the Illicit Drug Market
The Escalation of Mass Incarceration
The author suggests that incarceration actually serves to strengthen gangs, rather than weaken them.
The Proliferation of Monopolistic Market Activity

Violence associated with gangs results from three interacting conditions:

Scarcity of resources, which encourages competition.
Cultural sanctioning of physical force as a method for achieving goals.

An available economy (such as the drug market) that has no formal state-authorized agency capable or regulating it.

Gang behavior is linked to the values and goals which are mainstream in the United States, and arises from the combination of those values/goals with difficult socio-economic conditions.
section 3 readings
Principles of Morals and Legislation
This is the classic work in which Bentham proposes the concept of hedonistic calculus and its implications for criminal justice.

Humans make decisions based on pleasure and pain.

Principle of Utility: People will always make choices in accordance with what they believe will increase their happiness (pleasure).

The outcome of any action will be assessed in terms of:
Intensity; Duration; Certainty or Uncertainty; Propinquity or Remoteness

The factors of fecundity and purity are also considered.

Fecundity: "...the chance [that the act] has of being followed by sensations of the same kind: that is, pleasures, if it be a pleasure: pains, if it be a pain."

Purity: "...the chance [that the act] has of being followed by sensations of the opposite kind: that is, pains, if it be a pleasure: pleasures, if it be a pain."

In considering matters such as legislative or judicial operation, another factor might be considered—its extent, or "the number persons...who are affected by it."

Pleasure and pain are the instruments that legislators have to work with; as such, it is important to understand how people anticipate these two outcomes as they weigh various courses of action.
Over-Rationalized Conception of Man
In their study of street robbery, the authors argue that rational choice theory fails to account for affective aspects of the crime, such as impulsiveness, expressivity, and moral ambiguity.

Street robbery is a special case in criminology, as it entails very small potential gain for the offender, while entailing a very serious violation of the personal integrity of the victim
History of Rational Choice Theory:
Classical criminologists provided the foundation in their views of utilitarianism.

Clarke & Cornish (1985) were the first criminologists to propose crime as the outcome of rational choices.

This perspective holds that criminals are not fundamentally different from "normal" people.

The authors argue that rational choice theory fails to recognize the influence of norms, values, and moral emotions like guilt and shame.

This study is based on interviews and focus groups with perpetrators of street robberies.

Findings seem contrary to a rational choice explanation:

1. Impulsivity: Many offenders described impulsiveness or intuition as relevant to their crimes.

2. Moral Ambiguity: The vast majority of offenders describe no attraction to robbery; some expressed resent at having to rob.
Some intentionally used alcohol or drugs to intentionally alter their perceptions.
Others described moral boundaries to their crimes.

3. Expressiveness: Some described expressive (rather than functional) components to their actions.
The Economics of Crime
Becker offers a "pure" rational explanation of why people commit crime, engaging in logical cost/benefit analyses that consider both rewards & punishments.

Economic Approach to Crime: "People decide whether to commit crime by comparing the benefits and costs of engaging in crime."

Most crimes have monetary benefits; for other crimes, offenders commit them for the thrill or sick enjoyment, which are also "economic" (cost/benefit) considerations.

Psychic costs are also relevant; some will not engage in crime due to their ethical beliefs.
Offenders are risk-takers, if punishment is certain it can overcome the thrill of the risk-taking.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of conviction is low.

A cost/benefit analysis can entail a number of considerations:

Whether an individual has opportunities other than crime.

Incentives such as peer pressure.

Lack of harsh penalties.

The strength of the family.

Probability of arrest, conviction, and imprisonment

In order to reduce crime:

Make sure that penalties increase in proportion with the severity of a crime, to serve as disincentives for offenders.

Increase the certainty of punishment.

Keep unemployment down and legitimate opportunities available.

Strengthen families.
section 5
Social Process Theories
Social process theorists believe that if we wish to understand social behavior, we have to understand how individuals subjectively perceive their social reality.
Symbolic interactionism:
Focuses on how people interpret and define their social reality, and the meanings they attach to it in the process of interacting with one another via language (symbols).
Symbolic Interaction Theory: (or social construction or interpretative theory)
Main ideas: Through interactions and symbols, we socially construct our worlds.

These constructions help us decide how to act and are dependent upon our social positions
Influenced by humanistic/interpretive sociology

Key theorists: George H. Mead, the Iowa School

Main criticisms: neglects macro-structures; difficult to study concepts like "the mind" and "the self"
Differential Association Theory (DAT)
Edwin Sutherland
Main argument: Criminal behavior is learned in intimate social groups.

"A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violations of law over definitions unfavorable to violations of law" (Sutherland & Cressey, 1974: 75)

Definitions vary by:

Key prop to dat is " person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violations of law over definitions unfavorable violations of law
differential social organization
phrase by edwin sutherland to describe lower-class neighborhoods that others saw as disorganized or pathological
Social Learning Theory
Robert Akers

Main Argument: The concepts of operant psychology can be applied to DAT to explain how individuals adopt "definitions favorable" to crime.

Positive Reinforcement
Negative Reinforcement
Positive Punishment
Negative Punishment

def:goes beyond looking solely at learned definitions favorable to getting involved in delinquency to look at mechanisms that lead individuals to either continue or desist from it.
Social Control Theories
Social control mechanisms are those designed to minimized nonconformity/deviance.
Informal/indirect social control is preferable, because it can be effective even in the absence of external coercion.

Obeying society's rules because we believe that they are right and just, not because we fear formal sanctions, means that we have our own internalized police officer and judge, in the form of our conscience!

Social control theories ask why people refrain from committing crime, not why they commit crime
private acceptance
refers to both the public and private acceptance of the attitudes, values and behavior of the delinquent group
going through the motions without privately accepting the appropriateness of what one is doing.
Social Bond Theory
Travis Hirschi

Main argument: The real question is not why some people commit crime, but rather why so many people behave well most of the time; he proposes four dimensions to account for this.

def: about the role of social relationships that bind people to the social order and prevent anti social behavior
Social Bond Theory (cont'd)
four elements of the social bond

The emotional component of conformity, such as bonds to key social institutions like the family and the school.

The rational component of conformity, such as the investment of considerable time and energy in the pursuit of a lawful career.

An outgrowth of commitment, this refers to the time and energy limitations that result from participation in lawful activities.

The acceptance of the social norms regulating conduct.
Self-Control Theory
Gottfredson & Hirschi

Main argument: Individuals with low self-control are more likely to commit crime. Most crimes are spontaneous, impulsive acts undertaken due to "the temptations of the moment." (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990: 87)

Offenders are:
Oriented to the present
Risk-taking and physical
Lacking in patience, persistence, and diligence
Self-centered and insensitive

Low self-control is established early in childhood, tends to persist throughout life, and is the result of incompetent parenting.

They suggest that what accounts for variation in criminal offending are the different opportunities criminals encounter that are conducive to committing crimes.
criminal oppurtunity
is a situation that presents itself to someone with low self control by which he or she can immedialtey satisfy needs with minimal mental or physical effort

crime is the result of people with low self control meeting a criminal opportunity
Labeling Theory or societal reaction theory
Frank Tannenbaum, Edwin Lemert

Main argument: The process of being caught and labeled a "criminal" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Lemert distinguishes between "primary deviance" and "secondary deviance."

def:takes seriously the power of bad labels to stigmatize and evoke the very behavior the ball signifies

Tan viewed labeling of a person as a "criminal" as a self fulfilling prophecy.
primary deviance
The initial nonconforming act that comes to the attention of authorities.
how people view themselves.in containment from theory it is an important source of social control
secondary deviance
Deviance that results from society's reaction to primary deviance.
reintergrative shaming
a form of shaming that condemns the offenders acts without condemning his or his personhood,designed to reintegrate the offender into society
Differential association (or reinforcement) theory-
conformity or deviance is learned from those we spend time with
Labeling theory-
behavior is not intrinsically deviant, but becomes deviant because it is labeled as such

Members of a society define what is deviant and impose sanctions for that behavior
Individuals who engage in primary deviance are not labeled, but those who engage in secondary deviance are

Being labeled can reinforce deviant behavior by:
Increasing alienation
Forcing increased interaction with deviant peers
Motivating juvenile delinquents to positively value and identify with the deviant status

Deviance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (individual adopts and lives-up to the applied label)

Those with less power in society are more likely to be labeled as deviants

Micro-Level Explanations of Deviance: Interaction Theories

Labeling theory -
Two stages are defined in the process of becoming deviant:
Primary deviance - violation of a norm that may be an isolated act, individual is generally not initially labeled as a result of the act
Secondary deviance - individual continues to violate a norm and begins to take on a deviant identity; this becomes publicly recognized and individual is identified as a deviant
Neutralization Theory
Sykes & Matza

Main argument: Delinquents know their behavior is wrong, but they are able to neutralize their sense of shame or guilt through justifications.

They proposed five neutralizations.

-theory that attacks dat's failure to explain why some people drift in and out of crime rather than be consistently criminal
Neutralization Theory (cont'd)
Denial of Responsibility - Shifts the blame for a deviant act away from the actor.

Denial of Injury - An offender's claim that no "real" offense occurred because no one was harmed.

Denial of Victim - Implies that the victim got what he or she deserves.

Condemnation of the Condemners - The offender's assertion that the condemner's behavior is just as bad.

Appeal to Higher Loyalties - Elevates the offender's moral integrity by claiming altruistic motives.
Evaluation of Social Process Theories
Differential Association:
Do people really need to be taught all criminal behaviors?

Ignores individual differences in the propensity to associate with antisocial peers.

Does not distinguish between types of peer influence.

For example, Mark Warr (2000) proposes the difference between private acceptance (accepting the appropriateness of one's actions) and compliance (simply going along with the motions).

Neglects individual differences in the ease or difficulty with which learning occurs.
Policy and Prevention: Implications of Social Process Theories
Differential Association Theory:
Replace antisocial role models with pro-social ones.

Social Control and Self-Control Theories:
Provide support for the family structure
Increase children's involvement in a variety of pro-social activities, particularly those linked to school.

Self-Control Theory:
This theory is supportive of various target-hardening techniques, but above all stresses the strengthening of the family and the improvement of parenting skills.

Labeling Theory
Could be interpreted to mean that we should ignore primary deviance in order to avoid secondary deviance.
Argues that juveniles in particular should be protected against labeling.

Neutralization Theory
Argues that criminal justice agents charged with managing offenders should strongly challenge the offenders' excuse making; if offenders believe their own rationalizations, rehabilitation becomes more difficult.
Social Learning Theory of Crime
This is an excerpt from the book in which Akers applies the principles of operant conditioning to Sutherland's theory of differential association in the formulation of his own "social learning theory."

Crime is more likely to occur when:
An individual differentially associates with others who commit, model, & support violations of social/legal norms.
The violative behavior is differentially reinforced over behavior in conformity to the norm.
The individual is more exposed to and observes more deviant than conforming models.
The individual's learned definitions are favorable toward committing deviant acts.

"Differential reinforcement is the basic mechanism around with others revolve..."
The primary learning mechanisms are differential reinforcement (in which behavior is a function of the frequency, amount, and probability of experienced and perceived contingent rewards and punishments) and imitation.

Akers also stresses:
Behavioral feedback effects as relevant.
Socialization within the family as more central than peer influences.
The Nature of Criminality
This is from Gottfredson & Hirschi's work on self-control theory; they propose that individuals with low self-control are most likely to engage in crime.

In this reading, crime is introduced as:
Providing immediate gratification.
Having few or meager long-term benefits.
Requiring little skill or planning.
Resulting in pain or discomfort for victims.
"...people who lack self-control will tend to be impulsive, insensitive, physical, risk-taking, short-sighted, and non-verbal," and these are the individuals likely to engage in crime and analogous acts.

In this perspective, offenders are believed to:
be versatile—commit a wide variety of criminal acts without specialization.
engage in analogous behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and other forms of risk-taking.
be characterized by the stability of individual differences over a long period of time.

This theory holds that it is not possible to predict the specific forms of deviant behavior in which an individual will engage.

Low self-control originates from ineffective child-rearing, as when parents fail to nurture, discipline, or train their child.

Individual differences may have an impact on the prospects for effective socialization.

In order for a child to develop self-control, someone must:
Monitor their behavior.
Recognize deviant behavior.
Punish the deviant behavior.
Social Control in China
This article examines the role played by Chinese culture in shaming and reintegrating criminals, and considers the insights gained from this study relative to both labeling theory and reintegrative shaming theory.

Two relevant theories:
Labeling Theory (LS-Becker)
Reintegrative Shaming Theory (RS-Braithwaite): Shaming carries a risk of alienating the first-time offender if it is not combined with positive reintegrative efforts; the act should be stigmatized, but not the offender.

In China, a great deal of weight is placed on labeling in order to prevent and control delinquency.

The impact of shaming in China may be different relative to Western nations, as China is relatively communitarian.
Because of their sense of interdependence, the Chinese hold in high esteem those who make progress in accepting social norms.
Largely, shame in China is reintegrative; while there is a risk of stigmatization, Chinese culture serves to temper this risk.
The family and other social units play an active role in responding to crime and delinquency; there is mass involvement in reforming delinquents.

The Chinese approach is similar to reintegrative shaming.

Offenders are first shamed for their offenses;
then they are shown concern and love, accompanied by attempts to solve their practical problems.

This two-stage approach both expresses community disapproval and symbolizes reacceptance of offenders while assisting with reintegration.

The heavy emphasis on shaming, combined with the relative success of the system, provide more support for RS than LT.
Gender & Crime in Felony Offenders
This article tested the applicability of differential association and social control theories to newly incarcerated male and female felons.

Both differential association and social control have been touted as general theories of crime...but:
These theories have not been widely tested for both male and female offenders;
nor have young adult felons drawn from the inner city been studied frequently.
This study addresses these past limitations in studying 1,153 newly incarcerated male and female felons.

Variables tested for social control theory:
Marital/Partner Attachment
Attachment to Parents
Attachment to Friends

Variables tested for differential association theory:
Individual Definitions Toward Crime
Others' Definitions Toward Crime
Criminal Friends

Differential association theory had the most support; all three variables were significantly related to the general crime scale drug, property, and violent crime subscales.
Social control received some support:
Peer attachment had a positive relationship to crime, which runs contrary to social control theory.
Parental attachment, though, had a consistent negative relationship to all of the crime measures.
Overall, variables from both theories had similar effects for both males and females.