Criminology CJ 220
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aurelia Tromp on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 220 at Michigan State University taught by Cedric Taylor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 65 views. For similar materials see /class/207602/cj-220-michigan-state-university in Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.
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Date Created: 09/19/15
Chapter 6 Outline I Socioeconomic Structure and Crime A People in the United States live in a stratified society 1 Social strata are created by unequal distribution of wealth power and prestige 2 Social classes are segments of the population that have similar portions of things and share attitudes values norms and lifestyles 3 Problems of lower class areas and its members B Child Poverty 1 Poverty in early childhood may have a more severe impact than if experienced later in life 2 Children have the highest rate of poverty a Numerous studies have documented the association between family poverty and children s health achievement and behavior impairments b About 25 of children under six live in poverty c About 6 of white children are extremely poor versus 50 of black children C The Underclass 1 In 1966 Oscar Lewis argued that the crushing lifestyle of slum areas produces a culture of poverty which is passed from one generation to the next a Culture of Poverty characteristics 2 In 1970 Gunnar Myrdal described a worldwide underclass of members cut off from society and lacking the education and skills to be in demand D Minority Group Poverty 1 While declining more than 20 of African Americans and Latino Americans live in poverty compared to less than 10 of whites 2 In some neighborhoods up to half of all minority males are under criminal justice control 3 Interracial crime rate differentials can be explained by differences in standard of living if interracial economic disparity would end so too might differences in the crime rate 4 In 1987 William Julius Wilson labeled the lowest levels of the underclass the truly disadvantaged II Social Structure Theories A Social structure theory maintains that the social and economic forces operating in deteriorated lowerclass areas are the key determinants of criminal behavior patterns B Branches of Social Structure Theory 1 Social Disorganization Theory conditions within the urban environment that affect crime rates 2 Strain Theory crime is a function of the con ict between the goals people have and the means they can use to obtain them legally 3 Cultural deviance Theory combines elements of both strain and social disorganization a Subcultures group that is loosely part of dominant culture but maintains unique set of values beliefs and traditions b Cultural transmission concept that conduct norms are passed down from one generation to the next so that they become stable within boundaries of a culture 111 Social Disorganization Theories A Link crime rates to neighborhood ecological characteristics highest rates in neighborhoods that are highly transient mixeduse and or changing 1 Residents want to leave thus they become uninterested in community matters 2 Personal relationships are strained because constant resident turnover weakens communications and blocks problemsolving and establishing common goals B Foundations of Social Disorganization Theory 1 Work of Shaw and McKay Chicago sociologists in the 1920s who linked life in transitional slum areas to the inclination to commit crime 2 Transitional neighborhoods 3 Concentric Zones Zones I and II exhibited higher rates of crime 4 Legacy of Shaw and McKay C The Social Ecology School 1 Emphasizes the association of community deterioration and economic decline to criminality but places less emphasis on value con ict 2 Community deterioration deserted houses houses needing repair and abandoned buildings are magnets for crime a Poverty becomes concentrated in such areas b Concentration effect 3 Chronic unemployment a Crime rates sometimes rise during times of economic prosperity and vice versa b Unemployment destabilizes households and the stabilizing in uence of parents 4 Community fear those living in disorganized neighborhoods suffer social and physical incivilities a Fear is based on experience victimized residents more fearful b Fear can become contagious c Fear incites more crime increasing the chances of victimization d Fear is associated with other community level factors i Race ii Gangs iii Mistrust a Siege mentality 5 Community change as areas decline residents ee to more stable locales 6 The cycles of community change during periods of population turnover communities may undergo changes that undermine their infrastructure a Life cycle b Change and decline i Neighborhood deterioration precedes increasing rates of crime and delinquency ii Neighborhoods at most risk contain large numbers of singleparent families and unrelated people living together have gone from owneroccupied to renteroccupied housing 7 Collective efficacy cohesive communities with high levels of social control develop mutual trust and shared responsibilities a Informal social control operate on private level and involved peers families and relatives b Institutional social control schools and churches play a role in cutting down alienation and mistrust c Public social control drawing outside help and securing external resources 8 The effect of collective efficacy a Areas where collective efficacy is high i Children less likely to become involved with deviant peers ii Neighbors feel a sense of obligation to maintain order and are more willing to work hard to encourage informal social control b Areas where collective efficacy is low i The area is disorganized population is transient interpersonal relationships remain superficial people are less willing to help neighbors or exert informal social control IV Strain Theories A Strain theorists believe that most people share similar values and goals but the ability to achieve these personal goals is stratified by socioeconomic class 1 Strain is related to motivation 2 Generalized feelings of relative deprivation are precursors to high crime rates 3 Two formulations of strain theories a Structural strain using a sociological lens structural strain suggests that economic and social sources of strain shape collective human behavior b Individual strain using a psychological reference individual strain theories suggest that individual life experiences cause some people to suffer pain and misery feelings which are then translated to antisocial behaviors B The concept of Anomie l Durkheim an anomic society is one where rules of behavior values customs norms have broken down or become inoperative due to rapid social change or crisis 2 Anomie is more likely to occur in societies moving from mechanical to organic solidarity a Mechanical solidarity preindustrial society which is held together by traditions shared values and unquestioned beliefs b Organic solidarity post industrial social system which is highly developed and dependent upon the division of labor C Merton s Theory of Anomie l Merton applied Durkheim s ideas to criminology Found two culture elements interact to produce anomic conditions goals and means 2 Social adaptations a Conformity embrace conventional social goals and also have the means at their disposal to attain them b Innovation individual accepts goals of society but rejects or is incapable of attaining them through legitimate means c Ritualism gain pleasure from practicing traditional ceremonies regardless of whether they have a real purpose or goal d Retreatism reject both the goals and the means of a society e Rebellion subbing or alternative set of goals and means for conventional ones 3 Evaluation of Anomie Theory one of the most enduring and in uential theories of criminality but a number of questions unanswered by Merton D Macro Level Institutional Anomie Theory 1 Messner and Rosenfeld s Crime and the American Dream a macro level version of anomie theory that view antisocial behavior as a function of cultural and institutional in uences in US society a Success goal is pervasive in American culture b American Dream goal and process 2 Impact of anomie pervades American culture because institutions that might otherwise control the exaggerated emphasis on financial success such as religious charitable institutions have been rendered powerless or obsolete a Noneconomic functionsroles are devalued b N n 39 roles 39 J39 to 39 roles c Economic language standards norms penetrate into non economic realms d High crime rates due to the relationship between culture and institutions e People who value American dream but fail to achieve economic success are prone to crime Chemkovich f Dominance of economic concerns weakens informal social control exerted by family church and school E Micro Level General Strain Theory GST 1 GST Agnew explains individuals who feel stressstrain are more likely to commit crime 2 Multiple sources of stress negative affective states result of negative and destructive social relationships Strain comes from a Failure to achieve positively valued goals b Disjunction of expectations and achievements c Removal of positively valued stimuli d Presentation of negative stimuli F Sources of Strain 1 Social sources a May feel strain due to groups one associates with 2 Community sources a In uences the goals people pursue and ability to achieve b In uences feelings of relative deprivation and exposure to adverse stimuli c In uences the likelihood that angry strainfilled individuals will interact with one another G Coping with Strain 1 Not all who experience strain will commit crime 2 Strain and criminal careers H Evaluating GST l Adds to literature describing how social and life history in uence offending patterns 2 Gender issues V Cultural Deviance Theories A Combines social disorganization and strain to explain how people living in deteriorated neighborhoods react to social isolation and economic deprivation B Conduct Norms 1 Rules governing daily living conditions within subcultures 2 Culture con ict a condition brought about when the rules and norms of an individual s subcultural affiliation con ict with the role demands of conventional society C Focal Concerns 1 Unique value system that dominates lower class culture 2 Miller s Lower Class Focal Concerns D Theory of Delinquent Subcultures 1 Cohen DelinquentBoys 1955 2 Status Frustration form of cultural con ict experienced by lowerclass youths because social condiditons prevent them from achieving success defined by the larger society 3 D 39 of J quot 39 quot is a of socialization 1 39 I J practices found in the ghetto or slum environment 4 Middle class measuring rods standards set by teachers employers or supervisors 5 Formation of deviant subcultures lower class boys suffer rejection by middle class decision makers leading boys to join one of these subcultures
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