Presentation on theme: "Sociological Theories of Crime"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sociological Theories of Crime Why Crime HappensSociological Theories of Crime
2 Before We Get Started… What do you see? An elderly woman? A young woman?
3 How about another? How many months have 30 days? 11 (all of them except February!)
4 Let’s Get Down to Business! You’ve learned about…Psychological Theories of CrimeClassical Theories of Crime, andBiological Theories of CrimeLet’s add one more!Sociological Theories!
5 What do Sociologists Believe? Sociologists emphasize that human beings live in social groups and that those groups and the social structure they create influence behavior.
6 How does this relate to Crime? Most sociological theories of crime assume that it is the person’s environment that impacts a person’s criminal behavior, NOT there physiological makeup.People are NOT born to be criminals!
7 What are we going to learn about? The Theory of the Chicago SchoolStrain TheorySocial Control TheoryLabeling TheoryConflict Theory
8 Theory of the Chicago School Developed by a group of sociologists in the 1920’s that were living in the Chicago areaThey wanted to find out if there was a relationship between a neighborhood’s crime rate and the characteristics of that neighborhood
9 Their Findings…Neighborhoods with high crime rates also had social disorganizationControls of criminal behavior are absentApproved by community (parents/neighbors)Numerous opportunitiesLittle encouragement, training, or opportunity for employment
10 Examples in Lincoln? Poverty? Illiteracy? Lack of education? Unemployment?Illegitimacy?Where does crime occur in Lincoln?
11 Strain Theory Robert Merton 1938 Contradiction in the U.S Cultural goalsSocial structure
12 Cultural goals What are socially acceptable goals? Wealth Status Political powerAny others?
13 Social StructureWhat are the socially acceptable ways of attaining cultural goals?EducationHard workInvestment
14 It’s all about the Benjamins! Merton’s Strain Theory emphasizes monetary success as the primary cultural goalOpportunities are not equally distributed in societyCauses some people to turn to illegitimate means to reach these goals
15 So how do people adapt? Five ways Conformist Innovator Accept the goals and ways of achievementInnovatorAccept the goals but reject how to get there
16 How do people adapt? 3. Ritualists 4. Retreatists 5. Rebels Reject goals but accept means4. RetreatistsReject both the goals and means5. RebelsWant to replace the existing goals and means with their own system
21 Social Control TheoryInstead of asking why crime happens, Social Control Theory asks Why Doesn’t Crime Happen?What do you think? Why do people conform?
22 Who is responsible for this Theory? The lead sociologist for Social Control Theory is Travis HirschiCauses of Delinquency 1969Crime happens when juveniles, YOU, are not “properly” socializedSocialization happens through a strong bond to society
23 How does Socialization happen? Attachment to othersExamples?Commitment to conventional lines of actionInvolvement in conventional activitiesBelief in the moral order and law
24 What are the types of Control? Direct ControlEfforts to directly control behaviorSetting rulesMonitoring behaviorPunishment for rule violationsReinforcement for conventional behavior
25 Types of Control… Stake in Conformity 2 Functions What might be lost by engaging in delinquent behavior?Those with a lot to lose are less likely to be delinquent2 FunctionsEmotional attachmentInvestment in activities
26 What do you think?Based on what you’ve learned so far, what sociological theory of crime do you agree with?Chicago School Theory?Strain Theory?Social Control Theory?WHY???
27 Types of Control… Internal Control The ability to restrain yourself from participating in delinquent behavior
28 Labeling Theory When you hear the word “Label,” what comes to mind? How would you label yourself?
29 What is Labeling Theory? It focuses on the reaction to delinquency or criminal behaviorOfficial reaction: Law enforcement, judicial penaltiesInformal reaction: parents, friends, teachers
30 What do these theorists argue? People who are labeled as delinquent or criminal are often seen as being “bad” or “evil.”This view leads other people to reject them and treat them in a harsh manner“Harsh/rejecting” response increases the probability of further criminal behavior
31 Here’s what they askWhy are some acts defined as criminal or delinquent?How do other’s react to criminal behavior?What impact does the reaction to delinquency have on further delinquency?Why are some offenders more likely to experience the harsh/rejecting reaction than others?Are some offenders more likely to respond to the harsh/rejecting reaction?
32 Why are some acts defined as criminal? Societal rules?Laws?Expectations?Cultural norms?
33 Other’s reaction to delinquency Harsh/rejecting reactionFirst labeled as “bad” or “evil”This leads others to treat you harshly or reject youFailure to respondNever find outDelinquency is ignored or mildly punishedCondemn the action but accept the individualCondemn the sin but love the sinner
34 Why does harsh/rejecting reaction lead to more delinquency? Reduces controlReduces direct controlReduces stake in conformityInternal control may be weakenedIncreases strainDifficult to achieve goalsLoss of positive stimuli and increase in negativeIncrease level of irritability
35 Why does harsh/rejecting reaction lead to more delinquency? Increases social learning of delinquencyCreates a delinquent self-conceptCharles Cooley: Cooley’s Looking Glass SelfWe perceive ourselves as other’s perceive usPeople’s reaction to us shape our identityDevelop self feeling based on these reactionsPositive and negative reactions
36 What determines the H/R reaction? Most important factor is whether the criminal behavior that is engaged in becomes known to other’s, especially frequent and/or serious crimesSocio-economic statusIndividuals that associate with delinquent othersWhat about gender?
38 Conflict TheoryFocuses on the conflict in society between rich and poor, management and labor, whites and minoritiesAssumes that society is based primarily on conflict between competing interest groups and that criminal law and the criminal justice system are used to control subordinate groups.Crime is caused by relative powerlessness
39 Four primary assumptions of Conflict Theory CompetitionWe all compete for scarce resourcesMoney, leisure, partners, etc.Structural InequalityInequalities in power and reward are everywhere! It’s automatically built inIf you benefit, you try to keep it
40 Four primary assumptions of Conflict Theory RevolutionChange occurs as a result of conflict between social class’s competing interestsIt’s fastWarIt is a unifier, it brings the societies involved togetherCan also end whole societies
41 So how does this apply to Crime? Criminal Justice system and the law are viewed as working for the upper classi.e. the social elites, the rich, those in power - the bourgeoiseThe “system” is aimed at imposing standards of morality and good behaviorWho determines what is moral or good?
42 So Why is Crime Committed? The lower class, the poor, or the proletariat commit crime to even the playing field.It’s done out of necessityWant or need to “improve their lot in life.”Way to gain money and power
43 Let’s tie it all together… Look through your notesWhat do the following have in common?Chicago School theoryStrain TheorySocial Control TheoryLabeling TheoryConflict Theory