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SOC 3890 Chapter 6 Notes

by: Abby Joannes

SOC 3890 Chapter 6 Notes SOC 3890

Marketplace > Clemson University > Sociology > SOC 3890 > SOC 3890 Chapter 6 Notes
Abby Joannes
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About this Document

These notes cover all of chapter 6 reading material and PowerPoints. From the book, I noted all vocabulary in red, as well as a detailed outline of other important information.
Sociology of Criminology
Dr. White
Class Notes
SOC 3890, criminology, sociology, Clemson
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Abby Joannes on Thursday February 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 3890 at Clemson University taught by Dr. White in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see Sociology of Criminology in Sociology at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 02/18/16
Chapter 6 Notes: Social Structure Theories Book Notes • Development of Sociological Criminology o Quetelet and Durkheim o Chicago School and Beyond § Socially disorganized: communities where social institutions are incapable of functioning as expected and as a result their ability to create social control is nullified • Socioeconomic Structure and Crime o Stratified society: grouping according to social strata or levels. American society is considered stratified on the basis of economic class and wealth. o The underclass: the lowest social stratum in any country, whose members lack the education and skills needed to function successfully in modern society § Culture of poverty: the view that people in the lower class of society form a separate culture with its own values and norms that are in conflict with conventional society; the culture is self-maintaining and ongoing § At-risk: children and adults who lack the education and skills needed to effectively function in society o Child Poverty § Poor children are more likely to suffer various social and physical ills § Adolescents growing up in disorganized inner-city neighborhoods share the greatest risk of dropping out of school and becoming teenage parents o Minority Group Poverty • Social Structure Theories: the view that disadvantaged economic class position is a primary cause of crime o Three Branches § Social disorganization theory: focuses on the breakdown of institutions such as the family, school, and employment in inner-city neighborhoods • Disorganized areas are those that have broken down and can no longer carry out their expected functions § Strain theory: sees crime as a function of the conflict between people’s goals and the means available to obtain them • Those who are lower class are unable to achieve success and feel anger, frustration and resentment (called strain) § Cultural deviance theory: sees strain and social disorganization together resulting in a unique lower-class culture that conflicts with conventional social norms o Social Disorganization Theory § Elements • Poverty à social disorganization à breakdown of traditional values à criminal areas à cultural transmission à criminal careers § Transitional neighborhoods: areas undergoing a shift in population and structure, usually from middle-class to lower-class § Concentric zones: zones in the inner city tended to have highest crime while the outermost circle had the least § Legacy of Shaw and McKay • Elements of their findings o Crime rates are sensitive to the destructive social forces operating in lower-class urban neighborhoods o Environmental factors, rather than individual differences, are the root cause of crime o Crime is a constant fixture in distressed areas regardless of racial or ethnic makeup o The weakening of social control is the primary cause of criminal behavior o Community values, norms, and cohesiveness affect individual behavior choices o Social Ecology School § Elements of the ecology theory • Community deterioration: neighborhoods with high numbers of deserted houses and apartments experience high crime rates • Poverty concentration o Concentration effect: working and middle-class families flee inner-city poverty areas, resulting in the most disadvantaged population being consolidated in the most disorganized urban neighborhoods • Chronic unemployment • Community fear o Incivilities: rude and uncivil behavior; behavior that indicates little caring for the feelings of others o Fear is often associated with other community-level factors § Race § Gangs § Mistrust • Siege mentality: residents who become so suspicious of authority that they consider the outside world to be the enemy out to destroy the neighborhood • Community change • Cycles of community change o Gentrification: residential renewal stage in which obsolete housing is replaced and upgraded; areas undergoing such change seem to experience an increase in their crime rates o Collective Efficacy: social control exerted by cohesive communities, based on mutual trust, including intervention in the supervision of children and maintenance of public order § Three forms of collective efficacy • Informal social control • Institutional social control • Public social control § The effect of collective efficacy • High vs. low efficacy • Street efficacy: a concept in which more cohesive communities with high levels of social control and social integration foster the ability for kids to use their wits to avoid violent confrontations and to feel safe in their own neighborhood. • Strain Theories o Relative deprivation: condition that exists when people of wealth and poverty live in close proximity to one another. o Components of Strain Theory § Poverty à maintenance of conventional rules and norms à strain à formation of gangs and groups à crime and delinquency à criminal careers o Concept of Anomie: an anomic society is one in which rules of behavior have broken down or become inoperative during periods of rapid social change or crisis § Mechanical solidarity: characteristic of a preindustrial society, which is held together by traditions, shared values, and unquestioned beliefs § Organic solidarity: postindustrial social systems, which are highly developed and dependent upon the division of labor o Merton’s Theory of Anomie § Theory of anomie: two elements of culture interact to produce potentially anomic conditions: culturally defined goals and socially approved means for obtaining them § Social adaptations • Modes of adaptations o Conformity o Innovation o Ritualism o Retreatism o Rebellion § Evaluation of Anomie Theory • By linking deviant behavior to the success goals that control social behavior, anomie theory attempts to pinpoint the cause of the conflict that produces personal frustration and consequent criminality o Institutional Anomie Theory: the view that anomie pervades U.S. culture because the drive for material wealth dominates and undermines social and community values § 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. o General Strain Theory: the view that multiple sources of strain interact with an individual’s emotional traits and responses to produce criminality. § Causes of Strain • Negative affective states: anger, depression, disappointment, fear, and other adverse emotions that derive from strain. • Failure to achieve positively valued goals • Removal of positively valued stimuli • Presentation of negative stimuli • Cultural Deviance Theories o Subcultures: groups that are loosely part of the dominant culture but maintain a unique set of values, beliefs, and traditions o Conduct Norms: behaviors expected of social group members. If group norms conflict with those of the general culture, members of the group may find themselves described as outcasts or criminals § Culture conflict: a condition brought about when the rules and norms of an individual’s subcultural affiliation conflict with the role demands of conventional society. o Focal concerns: the value orientations of lower-class cultures; features include the needs for excitement, trouble, smartness, and personal autonomy o Theory of delinquent subcultures § 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: the standards by which teachers and other representatives of state authority evaluate lower-class youths. Because they cannot live up to middle-class standards, lower-class youths are bound for failure, which gives rise to frustration and anger at conventional society. § Formation of deviant subcultures • Corner boy: role in the lower-class culture in which young men remain in their birth neighborhood, acquire families and menial jobs, and adjust to the demands of the environment • College boy: disadvantaged youth who embraces the cultural and social values of the middle class and actively strives to be successful by these standards • Delinquent boy: youth who adopts a set of norms and principles in direct opposition of the middle-class • Reaction formation: rejecting goals and standards that seem impossible to achieve. o Theory of Differential Opportunity § 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. • Kids are most likely to join one of three types of gangs o Criminal gangs o Conflict gangs o Retreatist gangs PowerPoint Notes • Social Structure Theory focuses on the association between social conditions and crime o The theory maintains that the social and economic forces operating in deteriorated lower-class areas are the key determinants of criminal behavior patterns o Three braches § Social disorganization theory: focuses on the conditions within the urban environment that affect crime rates § Strain theory: crime is a function of the conflict between goals people have and their means to legally obtain them § Cultural deviance theory: combines elements of the strain and social disorganization theories • Focuses on subcultures and cultural transmission • Foundations of Social Disorganization o Factors involved § Transitional neighborhoods § Concentric zones § Community deterioration § Poverty concentration § Chronic unemployment § Community fear § Community strain o Collective efficacy: cohesive communities with high levels of social control develop mutual trust and shared responsibilities § Three forms • Informal social control: peers, families, relatives • Institutional social control: schools, churches, and after-school programs • Public social control: external control mechanisms such as levels of policing § Effect of collective efficacy • Where efficacy is high o Children are less likely to become involved with deviant peers o Neighborhoods has sense of obligation to maintain order o Sense of community is high • Where efficacy is low o Area is disorganized o Sense of community is low • Strain Theory o Two formulations § Structural strain: economic and social sources of strain shape collective behavior § Individual strain: individual life experiences cause some people to suffer pain and misery, feelings that are then translated into antisocial behavior o Concept of Anomie § Social adaptations of anomie • Conformity: individuals embrace conventional social goals and have the means to attain them • Innovation: individuals accept social goals but reject or are incapable of attaining them through legitimate means • Ritualistic: those that receive pleasure from practicing traditional ceremonies regardless of whether they have a goal • Retreatism: reject both the goals and means of society • Rebellion: substituting an alternative set of goals and means for conventional ones § Institutional Anomie Theory • Three reasons social institutions have been undermined by the economy o Devaluation o Role adversity o Bottom line • General Strain Theory: individuals who feel stress and strain are more likely to commit crime o Multiple sources of stress: criminality is the result of negative affective states • Cultural Deviance Theories: combines social disorganization and strain to explain how people living in deteriorated neighborhoods react to social isolation and economic deprivation o Theory of Differential Opportunity: people in all strata of society share the same success goals; however, those in the lower class have limited means of achieving them


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