Presentation on theme: "Lesson 1 – Crime, Criminology and the Sociological Imagination"— Presentation transcript:
1 Lesson 1 – Crime, Criminology and the Sociological Imagination Robert WonserIntroduction to CriminologyCrime and Delinquency
2 IntroductionU.S. crime rate has declined since 1990s, but prison/jail population has increasedPrison/jail population is more than 2.3 million inmatesCriminal justice system costs more than $250 billion annuallyMedia distorts our knowledge about crimeCrime is both an individual problem and a social problemSociological criminology: Sociological understanding of crime and criminal justice
3 Sociological Criminology Why do crime rates differ across locations and over time?Why do crime rates differ according to key dimensions of social inequality?How/Why is the legal response to crime shaped by race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and other extralegal variables?
4 The Sociological Perspective People are social beingsSociety shapes:BehaviorAttitudesLife chances
5 Emile Durkheim Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) French Sociologist Founder of sociologyResearch on suicideThe individual act of suicide still had social rootsFocused on social structure
6 Emile Durkheim Established the sociological paradigm Social structure more important than choiceDeviance will always exist because all rule-breaking cannot be prevented, crime is a normal part of society.
7 Social StructureHow a society is organized in terms of social relationships and social interactionHorizontal: social/physical characteristics of communitiesVertical: social inequalityC. Wright Mills: social structure the root of private troubles
8 The Sociological Imagination The ability to understand structural and historical basis for personal troublesBerger observed that sociology studies false claims about reality and“unrespectable” elements of social lifeDebunking motif
9 Mutual Relevance of Sociology and Criminology Crime, victimization, and criminal justice cannot be fully understood without appreciating their structural contextsCrime and victimization are public issues rather than private troubles (Mills)Rooted in:Social and physical characteristics of communitiesIn the network of relationships in which people interactIn the structured social inequalities of race and ethnicity, social class, and gender
10 Crime has two aspects to it: Crime as individual problemIndividuals commit crimeCrime as social problemIndividuals are shaped by social backgroundCrime is rooted in society’s structure, organization and operation.
11 Rise of Sociological Criminology For most of history, crime was a function of supernatural forcesGodDevilDemonsWitchcraft
12 A Brief History of Criminology Classical CriminologyTheoretical perspective suggesting that people choose to commit crimeCrime can be controlled if potential criminals fear punishmentEighteenth CenturyFocus on rational choiceCrime as a cost-benefit analysisCriminal law should deter offenders from choosing to engage in criminalityL02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
13 A Brief History of Criminology Positivist CriminologyApplication of the Scientific methodObjectiveUniversalCulture-freeEmpirical verificationValue-freeL02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
14 A Brief History of Criminology Sociological CriminologyAnomie - normlessnessThe Chicago SchoolIndividual’s socializationL02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
15 Chicago School Neighborhood studies High crime rates linked to social and physical dimensions of the neighborhoodDifferential associationCrime linked to delinquent peers
16 Other Socio-Criminological Theories Anomie/Strain theorySocial control/bonding theoryLabeling theoryConflict theories
17 The Creation of Criminal Law Consensus theoryThere exists a consensus among people on what the social norms of behavior are or should be.Interactionist View of CrimeCrime is the product of social learning and labels external to the individual.Conflict theoryMembers of the public disagree on many societal norms; law is created by the powerfulWhite-collar crime vs. street crime
18 Goals of Criminal Law Keep the public safe from crime and criminals Articulate a society’s moral values and concernsProtect the rights and freedoms of the nation’s citizenry
19 Criminal IntentFor a defendant to be found guilty, the following elements must be proved:Mens reaCriminal intentActus reasThe criminal act
20 Criminology vs Criminal Justice The Field of CriminologyAn academic discipline that uses the scientific method to study the nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behavior.Interdisciplinary science involving two or more academic fields.Criminal JusticeSystem made up of the agencies of social control, such as police departments, the courts, and correctional institutions, that handle criminal offenders.L01 – Explain the various elements of the criminological enterprise.
21 What Criminologists Do: The Criminological Enterprise Developing Theories of Crime CausationPsychologicalBiologicalSociologicalL01 – Explain the various elements of the criminological enterprise.
22 What Criminologists Do: The Criminological Enterprise VictimologyL01 – Explain the various elements of the criminological enterprise.
23 A Brief History of Criminology L02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
24 Deviant or Criminal? How Criminologists Define Crime Deviance includes a broad spectrum of behaviors, ranging from the most socially harmful, such as rape and murder, to the relatively inoffensive, such as joining a religious cult or cross-dressing.A deviant act becomes a crime when it is deemed socially harmful or dangerous; it is then specifically defined, prohibited, and punished under the criminal law.L02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
25 Deviant or Criminal? How Criminologists Define Crime L02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
26 Deviant or Criminal? How Criminologists Define Crime Crime is a violation of societal rules of behavior as interpreted and expressed by the criminal law, which reflects public opinion, traditional values, and the viewpoint of people currently holding social and political power. Individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by state authority, social stigma, and loss of status.L02 – Differentiate between crime and deviance
27 Common Law HoldoversRetention of common law concepts of the types of crime and the elements of criminal law violation that must be proved before a defendant can be found guiltyMala in se: Evil in themselves; violate traditional norms and moral codes (i.e. murder, theft)Mala prohibita: Wrong only because prohibited by law (i.e. drug use, white collar)Felony: Punishable by more than 1 year in prisonMisdemeanor: Punishable less than 1 year
28 Research Methods in Criminology Scientific study of crime utilizes:SurveysExperimentsExisting dataComparative/Historical analysisObservationInterviews