SOCIAL PROBLEMS SOC 270
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Zelda Parker on Wednesday September 9, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 270 at University of Washington taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see /class/192050/soc-270-university-of-washington in Sociology at University of Washington.
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Date Created: 09/09/15
Section Week 3 1 Important Terms a Decriminalization The removal or reduction of the criminal classi cation or status of an offense while still keeping it under some form of regulation MerriamWebster Fquot Status Offense Behavior that is unlawful only when committed by juveniles For example running away from home curfew violations Stafford c Recidivism A relapse into delinquency or repeat offending Stafford 11 Crime Statistics a Official data compiled by FBI and law enforcement officials i Uniform Crime Reports UCR 1 Limitations underestimation and bias those arrested not representative of offenders 7 eg racial pro ling b Unofficial data i Selfreport surveys 1 Limitations difficult to remember may conceal or exaggerate experiences ii Victimization surveys NVCS 1 Limitations difficult to distinguish adult from juvenile deal only with criminal offenses not status offenses III Theories of Juvenile Delinquency a Strain Theory Merton suggests that delinquency results from a strain or pressure to violate the law i Status Frustration Theog Cohen a delinquent subculture develops among adolescent boys because of their inability to achieve social status Delinquency is l non utilitarian for the hell of it 2 malicious delinquents enjoy the pain and suffering of others ii Differential Opportunity Theog Cloward Ohlin identi es three subcultures which lack access to conventional opportunities l criminal commit property offenses for economic gain occurs in neighborhoods with wellorganized adult crime con ict delinquency involves ghting with rival gangs occurs in neighborhoods without adult criminal traditions retreatist double failures in school and gangs so withdraw into drugs and alcohol N E ii39 Revised Strain Theog Agnew an alternative to classical strain theories that suggests delinquency stems from strains or pressures such as divorce or negative school experiences on juveniles in all social classes iv Policy implications 1 increase access to occupational and educational opportunities for juveniles b Control Theory Hirschi asks the question why do people conform instead of why do people deviate Posits that people obey the law because oftheir bonds to society i Elements of bonds 1 attachment refers to the ties between juveniles and key people such as parents teachers and peers commitment refers to the extent to which individuals have an investment in conventional activities 3 involvement has to do with the amount of time spent on conventional activities 4 belief refers to the acceptance of the legitimacy of conventional norms values and laws N ii SelfControl Theory Gottfredson Hirschi states that low self control traits such as impulsiveness risktaking volatile temper in combination with opportunities to commit crimes is the cause of delinquency iii Policy implications 1 strengthen or increase juveniles conventional bonds with society c Differential AssociationSocial Learning Theory gDATSLT1 i M Sutherland delinquency occurs because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of the law over definitions unfavorable to violation of the law ii39 SLT Akers the primary learning mechanism in social behavior is operant instrumental conditioning in which behaviors are rewarded or punished Policy implications 1 goal is for offenders to acquire conventional attitudes about delinquency and thereby decrease or eliminate it guided group interaction rehabilitation through behavior modi cation Section Week 5 7 Inequality in America Turner amp Leonard I 111 What is the difference between income wealth and capital wealth a Income money that people receive from work and investments b Wealth includes the assets that people own ex cash stocks cars homes and land c Capital Wealth consists of assets that can be used to produce more wealth ex savings nonoccupied real estate precious metals How is the official poverty line determined Why can this be problematic a The official poverty line is three times the cost of the best quality food available food basket b Problems i Regional and urbanrural differences are not taken into account ii The subsistence standard for a basic level offood is low ii39 Food actually represents less than 15 of the budget of the average family iv The number of people in poverty is consistently underestimated What are the differences between the old OH and new homeless NH The similarities a Differences i OH could usually find a place to sleep ophouse cheap hotel NH must often stay on the street or in shelters ii OH almost all men NH 14 single women 40 families with children iii OH tended to be older NH younger iv OH often employed for part of the year NH only a small percentage secure even temporary employment v OH predominantly white NH disproportionately minorities b Similarities i Extreme povert ii High levels of disability handicaps mental illness alcoholism drug use iii Social isolation from friends and relatives What are the structural forces cited as the causes of homelessness a Destruction of inexpensive housing in cities central districts by redevelopment or civic improvement gentrification rising rents for the poor and cutbacks in federal housing programs Labor market changes mechanization and loss of lowskill jobs Decrease in public spending on welfare benefits have shifted toward the elderly and away from the young welfare reform 09 What are the two types of welfare for the poor The nonpoor a Cash payment programs i Aid for Families with Dependent Children AFDC monthly income to poor families with children eliminated with welfare reform Now Temporary Aid for Needy Families TANF fixed level of funding for states to provide workbased assistance to the poor Social Security Income SSI cash assistance to aged blind and disabled who are poor Inkind assistance programs i Food Stamps ii Medicaid Direct expenditures i Social Security subsidy for retirees by working population ii Medicare Tax expenditures i Tax loopholes ii Uncollected taxes iii Favorable treatment of certain kinds of income IRAs interest on home mortgages i VI What are some options described by the authors for dealing with poverty a b e Workfare work requirements for those that receive welfare Guaranteed Annual Income w a proposal for giving poor people enough money to stay above the poverty line while dismantling the welfare system Improve the current welfare system higher TANF and SSI payments more medical care more food stamps more job training more aid to education more special programs Robert Haveman i income safety net up to poverty line don t pay taxes would replace current welfare system overhaul of Social Security system whereby workers contribute regardless of income level and there are disincentives for retiring early Universal child support system for parents living away from children withheld from paychecks and transferred to parent living with child iv Tax benefits to employers of disadvantaged workers v Capital account for youths grant of 20000 to all young people at age 18 Michael Sherraden assetbased welfare which provides incentives for all people to save in order to accrue assets ii39 Section 7 Week 2 I What is a social problem a Social Problems Conditions processes or events that are identi ed as negative by analysts or by significant numbers of other people and that affect large numbers of people stem from social causes andor can be solved through social action Ritzer Goodman 11 Go over survey results 111 Review What is the Typical Sociological Approach TSA to understanding social problems a TSA presumes that a social problem exists as an objective condition in society that has an intrinsically harmful nature This state of dysfunction pathology disorganization or deviance contrasts with a normal or healthy society b Three deficiencies i Current techniques and theories don t allow for the detection of social problems instead sociologists discern them after they are recognized by society Assumption that social problems are identi able objective conditions 1 Social conditions differ from people s perceptions of them and there is no direct onetoone relationship sometimes harmful social conditions do not come to the attention of society 2 Rich high status wellorganized and large groups will be more successful in getting a sympathetic hearing for their grievances Assumption that society merely needs to take heed of the findings of sociologists l Sociology is actually far removed from the real processes occurring in society ii39 IV Review Herbert Blumer suggests instead that social problems can be understood through a Process of Collective Definition PCD What are the five stages a Emergence of a social problem Legitimation of a social problem Mobilization of action Formation of an official plan of action Implementation of the official plan EDP0 V What is legitimacy Why do social problems require social legitimacy a Legitimacy authenticity genuineness undisputed credibility a sense of rightfulness granted by members of society cannot be imposed from the top down Without legitimacy social problems are considered unworthy of consideration Fquot VI The American Prison Crisis 7 Crouch and Alpert a What is the main thesis of the article By placing the issue of prison crowding in a social historical and ideological context the authors show that the crisis involves more than just the prisons themselves Crowding problems i Physically and mentally harmful for prisoners illness amp violence ii Limited privacy iii Dense populations harder to supervise iv Affects other elements of justice system backlog in jails Citizen perceptions and punishment rationales i Retribution 7 society is morally obligated to punish offenders ii Protection 7 remove offenders from society iii Deterrence 7 keeps offenders from repeating crimes and keeps new oiTenders from committing in the first place Historical context i Baby boom coincides with 1960s increase in violent crime ii Changes in economy from manufacturing to service and technical jobs Many unskilled people turned to crime and drugs iii Media portrayals of rising crime heightened concern e Ideology i Rehabilitation 7 ideal but not in practice Prison riots in 1950s gained public attention to problems Prisoners Constitutional Rights 7 judges ordered reduced prison populations easing solitary confinement limits to punishment increased prisoner access to courts iii 1980s mandatory minimum sentences to reduce disparities in sentencing f Reform i Prison expansion adding bed space building more prisons 1 Space still on demand because of pressure to keep prisons full legislators appear to be tough on crime 2 Private prisons 7 con ict of interest ii Diversion frnes community service etc iii Expanding educational and occupational opportunities strengthening families 1 poor powerless unskilled people will have more options 5quot 0 a VII Professor Black made the comment that the biggest social problem in America today is the domination of white males in the zerosum opportunity structure a What is zerosum i Zero sum describes a situation in which a participant can only gain at the expense of another Zerosum situations exist only where there is a xed supply of a resource and a closed system of distribution b What might be done about it i Af rmative Action A set of proactive measures to counteract the effects of past and present discrimination intended or unintended in employment and program delivery The groups protected by a series of federal legislation include women Blacks Hispanics Asians Native Americans Vietnam era veterans special disabled veterans and individuals with disabilities c Do you agree Why or why not
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