Locality/ Ecological theory

  • Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 15-06-14 19:31

Ecological explanations of crime and deviance

Overview: The Official statistics suggest that crime recorded is not evenyl distributed between geographical areas. It was found that crime was higher in the urban environment and the council estates rather than in towns and city's.

  • Shaw and McKay

Shaw and Mckay wanted to look at why crime rates was higher in the urban environment. Their Chicago study had looked at the different ways American cities, such as Chicago, were being organised into different concentric zones, each with their own distinctive lifestyle.
They in particularly looked at Zone 2, which was characterised by poverty, immigrations, high crime rates, etc. They called this zone as the 'Zone of Transition' because there were people constantly moving in and out of this area. As a result, there was social disorganization, where there was little sense of community in this zone. Subcultures of delinquency were produced, where delinquent subcultures were passed on from one generation to another. This type of cultural transmission had meant young people had learnt criminal behaviour from the adults. People were therefore involved with crime because they felt very little duty and obligation towards one another.

This is similar so Sunderland's concept of 'differential association'. It assumes that if we associate ourselves we delinquents in an urban area, we are also most likely to adopt the same criminal behaviour as them.

AO2: Overdeterministic: not everyone in these urban areas will necessarily be delinquent. People may chose to be law-abiding instead; despite the fact that they live in areas where there is high crime rate.

Interactionist sociologist Matz had challenged Shaw and Mckay's concept of 'cultural transmission'. This is because young


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