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Sociological Explainations of Crime: Interactionism

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  • 1. By Kay White
  • 2.
    • Meade (1863-1931) was an American sociologist, psychologist and philosopher
    • Seen as the founder of sociology in America and the Interactionist theory
    • Blumer (1900-1987) continued on Meade’s work in Interactionism, developing SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
    MEADE BLUMER
  • 3.
    • INTERACTIONISM: The study of individuals and how they act within society
    • The belief that everyone has different values, cultures and beliefs. So, for example, it can’t be generalized that all people from the same social class/location etc think the same way
    • Interactionists study society on a micro level
    • Interactionists reject statistical data (too broad/biased) and work more with qualitative data
    • Participant observation allows them to access symbols and meanings in the way people interact (Verstehen)
    • Became particularly influential in sociology in the 1960’s and 70’s
  • 4.
    • Crime and deviance is not a response of people to their social situation
    • The criminal or deviant can be quite normal
    • Focus is on how society defines certain groups as criminal or deviant
    • Questions the idea that there is a general consensus as to what is right or wrong in society
  • 5.
    • Interactionists argue that laws are less frequently/strictly applied to certain groups compared to others
    • Cicourel 1968 youth offenders in America found that white middle class youths were less liable to identification by police – more recent studies support this
    • Police have a stereotype
  • 6.
    • Evaluates human interaction
    • Blumer saw humans acting towards social objects because of the meaning they associate with that object
  • 7.
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNWhBq1HQ5g
    • American Socioligist’s podcast from 2001
    • “ The symbolic interactionist’s approach, sees society as a product of everyday interactions of individuals ”
  • 8.
    • http://www.sociology.org.uk/devtint1.htm
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactionism
    • “ Theories of Crime” edited by Ian Marsh with Gaynor Melville, Keith Morgan, Gareth Norris and Zoe Walkington, 2006, Routledge
    • http://www.colorado.edu/communication/meta-discourses/Papers/App_Papers/Nelson.htm