Sociological positivism:

HideShow resource information

Social integration and crime (Durkheim 1895)

Durkheim, 1895 

  • crime is a normal part of society? 
  • Anomie (normlessness) as breakdown or lack of norms and values, due to rapid social change.
  • to classify crime among the phenomena of normal sociology is not to say merely that it is an inevitable, although regrettable phenomenon.
  • due to wickdness of men, its an intergral part of all societies.
  • "in a society where criminal acts are no longer committed, crim would not, disappear; it would only change its form. "
  • "for the very cause which would thus dry up the sources of criminality would immediately open up new ones (Durkheim, Newburn 2007) 
1 of 19

Social integration and crime (Durkheim 1895)

Durkheim, 1895 

  • crime is a normal part of society? 
  • Anomie (normlessness) as breakdown or lack of norms and values, due to rapid social change.
  • to classify crime among the phenomena of normal sociology is not to say merely that it is an inevitable, although regrettable phenomenon.
  • due to wickdness of men, its an intergral part of all societies.
  • "in a society where criminal acts are no longer committed, crim would not, disappear; it would only change its form. "
  • "for the very cause which would thus dry up the sources of criminality would immediately open up new ones (Durkheim, Newburn 2007) 
2 of 19

Social Strain/Anomie and crime (Merton 1938)

  • Can crime be understood as a product of disparities or 'strain' between socially prescribed goals and the means of achieving these goals?
  • A cardinal american dream, ambition promotes a cardinal american vice - the deviant behaviour (Merton)
  • Dominant pressure group standards of success in the context of: 
  • - a gradual reduction in legitimate (and argely ineffective strivings)
  • - increase use of illegitimate (but more or less effective) means in the form of vice (devianace) and crime.
  • incompativle cultural demands: 
  • - promotion of prospect of wealth accuulation
  • - denial of effective opportunities to do so institutionally
  • -consequences of such structural inconsistency:
  • -- psychopathological personality
  • -- anti-social conduct
  • -- revolutionary activities.
3 of 19

Merton and Strain theory:

For Merton, Anomie is: 

"conceived as a breakdown in the cultural structure, occurring particularly when ther is an acite disjunction between cultural norms and goals and the social structured capacities of members of the group to act in accord with them" 

social structure and anomie 1938.

4 of 19

Merton and strain theory: continued:

Key themes: 

  • Anomie is an ever-present cultural feature in American society (rather than a consequence of social change toward organic socieity as Durk argues)
  • Lack of legitimate means for most people to attain the ultimate goal of the america Dream/society - material weatlh. 
  • As consequencemost people feel strain betwee nthis cultural goal and the institutional means of achieveing it.
  • People adapt to strain in different ways.
5 of 19

Mertons modes of individual adaptation to strain:

Conformity

innovation

ritualism

retreatism

rebellion 

6 of 19

Critique mettons theory:

  • limited focus on the lower class
  • proccupation with goals of middle-class wealth and status
  • barriers to achievement other than stratification (gender, ethnicity, intelligence etc)
  • ecplaing why those experiencing strain do not commit crime. 

What consititues a genreal theory of strain?: 

  • faliure to achieve goals.
  • actual removal of positive stimuli
  • experience or anticipationg of negative stimuli
  • crime as a means of coping with negative stimuli.
7 of 19

Contemporary strain theory: Messner and Rosenfield

  • why does the USA have higher levels of crime than any other industrial country?
  • Crime is a product of the American dream, a culture that promotes: 
  • - Achievement: celebration of winners, not of losers.
  • - Individualism: prioritising rights over responsibilities. 
  • - Materialism: subordination of other ultural goals to the pursuit of individual wealth.
  • - Universalism: pervasive character of these values through entire society. 
  • Subordination of other social instituions (politics, family, education) to the pursuit of economic poer (e.g instrumental attitudes towards education, gross imablance between work and life)
  • Free-market capitalism as a criminogenic social formation.

" particular level and type of crime are a normal outcome of a specified set of cultural and social arragements..." Messner & Rosenfeld

8 of 19

Evaluation anomie and strain:

  • it clearnly defines the relationship betwee nthe concepts.
  • presented as a genreal theory of crime... but can strain explain crime of the powerful and upper classes? 
  • Mertons initial thoery of strain parsimonious (use a few propositions as possible in order to explain the widest range of occurrence) but attempy to defend a genreal theory of strain results in increasingly comples modelling. 
  • It can be testes, but criticised for reliance on offical statistics to demonstrate claims about strain.
  • Supported by empirical research, but problem of over-predicting offending behaviour, and ignoring role of social control in producing crime (e.g labelling?)
9 of 19

Ecology and Crime:

The Chicago schools ecology of the city (Park and Burgess, 1925) 

  • logic of city growth produces different neighbourhood ecologies
  • the zone of transition (inner-ctiy neighbourhoods characterised by high turnover (transition) of resident populations which undermines social organisation)

social disorganisation and the cultrual transmission of deviance (Shaw and McKay , 1942) 

  • statistical correlation between juvenile offender' residence and urban neighbourhood in the zone of transition.
  • consistency of this correlation over time
10 of 19

Shaw & McKay (1942)

Social disorganisation and cultural transmission of deviance: 

  • in the urban areas of high economic status where the rates of delinquency are low, ther is, a similarity in the attitudes of the residents with reference to conventional values...
  • in contrast, the area of low economic status where the rates of delinquency are high, are characterised by wide diversity in norms and standard of behaviour...
  • children living in such communities are exposed to a varity of contradiction standars and forms of behaviour rather than torelatively consistent and conventional patter. 
  • (cited in newburn, 2007:192) 
11 of 19

Shaw & McKay (1942)

Social disorganisation and cultural transmission of deviance: 

  • in the urban areas of high economic status where the rates of delinquency are low, ther is, a similarity in the attitudes of the residents with reference to conventional values...
  • in contrast, the area of low economic status where the rates of delinquency are high, are characterised by wide diversity in norms and standard of behaviour...
  • children living in such communities are exposed to a varity of contradiction standars and forms of behaviour rather than torelatively consistent and conventional patter. 
  • (cited in newburn, 2007:192) 
12 of 19

CHhicago school - the Legacy

  • Social disorganisation as a 'sensitising concept' 
  • - ' chicago sociologist thus were among the first to sensitise people to an awareness of the ording effect of communities and groups" (Heidensohn 1989)
  • Fundementally people perceive crime as an area problem
  • Methodological innovation
  • - participant observation
  • - life histories
  • - 'concrete humans cannot be grasped in absraction' (plummer 1983) 
13 of 19

Social Disorganisation:

Chicago and the enduring neighborhood effect (2012) 

  • Neighborhood influence massively wide variety of social phenomena. 
  • including crime, health, homes, teen births, immigration etc.
14 of 19

Social Disorganisation:

Chicago and the enduring neighborhood effect (2012) 

  • Neighborhood influence massively wide variety of social phenomena. 
  • including crime, health, homes, teen births, immigration etc.
15 of 19

Subcultural Groups and Crime:

  • Subculture as a determinant of delinquency:
  • - delinquen boys: the culture of the gang (Cohen 1955) 
  • - delinquency and opportunity (Cloward and ohline 1960) - mods and rockers. 
  • Interaction of subculture and deviance. 
  • - Delinquency and drift (Matza 1964) - crime as youth mature and get older = not criminal.
  • - Delinquency solution (Downes 1966)
  • - resistance through ritual (Hall and Jefferson 1976) 
16 of 19

Albert Cohen (1955)

Delinquent boys: culture of the gang: 

  • Juvenile offending is based on the search for status rather than material advantage: good explanation for non-utalitarian crime. 
  • 'Status frustration' given exclusion of working class boys from acheive middle class goals.
  • collectie solution - 'reaction formation' - to this exclusion in alternative, counter (middle class) cultural values; 
  • Status is accomplished through the celebration of criminogenic values such as aggression, hedonism, immediate gratification.
17 of 19

Matza (1964)

  • Boring delinquents
  • young offender 'drift' into delinquency, despite otherwise supporting conventional norms
  • 'techniques of neutralisation' (the means by which they justify their own deviancy - having felt the need to ustify):
  • - Denial of responsibility - denial of injury, denial of the victim, condemnation of the condemners; appeals to higher loyalities.
18 of 19

Critque:

  • Social deterministic.
  • over-prediction: everyone in 'criminogenic areas' is not criminal
  • Selectivity: 
  • - public crime: where are crimes 'behind closed doors'?
  • - focus on certain aspects of young peoples lives.
  • Gender:
  • - simply not on the agenda
  • Ecological fallacy:
  • cannot deduce the nature of individual for knowing the charateristics of the groups to which they belong.
19 of 19

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Sociology resources »