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SOC 3890 Chapter 9 Notes

by: Abby Joannes

SOC 3890 Chapter 9 Notes SOC 3890

Marketplace > Clemson University > Sociology > SOC 3890 > SOC 3890 Chapter 9 Notes
Abby Joannes
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About this Document

These notes cover the outline of the book. Includes vocab and general understanding of Developmental Theories
Sociology of Criminology
Dr. White
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Abby Joannes on Wednesday March 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 3890 at Clemson University taught by Dr. White in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 62 views. For similar materials see Sociology of Criminology in Sociology at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 03/02/16
Chapter 9 Notes: Developmental Theories • Foundations of Developmental Theory o Developmental criminology: a view of criminal behavior that places emphasis on the changes people go through over the life course. It presents a criminal career as a dynamic process involving onset, continuity, persistence, acceleration, and eventual desistance from criminal behavior, controlled by individual level traits and conditions. o Criminal Career Research § Wolfgang prompts interest in explaining criminal career development § Loeber and LeBlac say that criminologists must pay attention to how a criminal career unfolds, how it begins, why it is sustained, and how it comes to an end o Life Course, Latent Traits, and Trajectories § Life course theories: theoretical views studying changes in criminal offending patterns over a person’s entire life § Latent trait theories: theoretical views that criminal behavior is controlled by a master trait, present at birth or soon after, that remains stable and unchanging throughout a person’s lifetime § Trajectory theory: a view of criminal career formation that holds that there are multiple paths to crime • Suggests that the different types and classes of offenders must be studied independently o Population Heterogeneity vs. State Dependence § Population heterogeneity: view that the propensity of an individual to participate in antisocial behavior is a relatively stable trait, unchanging over his or her life course § State dependence: the propensity to commit crime profoundly and permanently disrupts normal socialization. Early rule breaking strengthens criminal motivation and increases the probability of future rule breaking. • Life Course Fundamentals o Disruption promotes criminality § Propensity to commit crimes is neither stable nor constant § Crime careers are said to be developmental because people are constantly being influenced by the behavior of those around them o Changing life influences § As people mature, the factors that influence their behavior change • Life Course Concepts o Problem Behavior Syndrome (PBS): a cluster of antisocial behaviors that may include family dysfunction, substance abuse, smoking, precocious sexuality and early pregnancy o Offense Specialization/Generalization § Some offenders may specialize in the short term but engage in a wider variety of offenses when presented with opportunities to commit crime o Age of Onset § Most life course theories assume that the seeds of a criminal career are planted early in life § Cause of early onset • Improper socialization • Poor parental discipline • Inadequate emotional support § Persistence and Desistance • Life experiences shape the direction and flow of behavior choice and that factors that predict crime at one point in the life course may not be the ones that foretell criminality § Gender and Desistance • Males: early onset in childhood to later problems at work and involvement with substance abuse • Females: early antisocial behavior leads to relationship problems, depression, a tendency to commit suicide, and poor health in adulthood • Theories of the Criminal Life Course o Integrated theories: models of crime causation that weave social and individual variables into a complex explanatory chain o Sampon and Laub: Age-Graded Theory § Principles of the theory • Individual traits and childhood experiences are important to understand the onset of delinquent and criminal behavior • Experiences in young adulthood and beyond can redirect criminal trajectories or paths • Serious problems in adolescence undermine life chances • Positive life experiences and relationships can help a person knife off from a criminal career path • Positive life experiences such as gaining employment, getting married, or joining the military create informal social control mechanisms that limit criminal behavior opportunities • Former criminals may choose to desist from crime because they find more conventional paths more beneficial and rewarding § Turning points: the life events that alter the development of a criminal career § Cumulative disadvantage: a condition in which repeated negative experiences in adolescence undermine life chances and reduce employability and social relations § Social capital: positive relations with individuals and institutions that are life sustaining • Propensity/Latent Trait Theories o Propensity: an inclination or tendency to behave in a particular way o Latent trait: a stable feature, characteristic, property, or condition, present at birth or soon after, that makes some people crime prone over the life course o Crime and Human Nature § General Theory of Crime (GTC): a developmental theory that modifies social control theory by integrating concepts from biosocial, psychological, routine activities, and rational choice theories • Self-Control: a strong moral sense that renders a person incapable of hurting others or violating social norms § Self-Control and Crime • Self-control Theory: the view that the cause of delinquent behavior is an impulsive personality. Kids who are impulsive may find that their bond to society is weak • Trajectory Theory o Pathways to crime § Authority conflict pathway: the path to a criminal career that begins with early stubborn behavior and defiance of parents § Covert pathway: a path to a criminal career that begins with minor underhanded behavior and progresses to fire starting and theft § Overt pathway: pathway to a criminal career that begins with minor aggression, leads to physical fighting, and eventually escalates to violent crime o Adolescent-Limited Offenders vs. Life Course Persisters § Adolescent-Limited offenders: offender who follows the most common criminal trajectory, in which antisocial behavior peaks in adolescence and then diminishes § Life course Persisters: one of the small group of offenders whose criminal career continues well into adulthood


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