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Social Theories of Crime
 

Social Theories of Crime

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    Social Theories of Crime Social Theories of Crime Document Transcript

    • Social Theories of Crime
      Social Structure, Social Process, and Conflict
    • (Also use these first two slides with your notes on crime)
      Consensus Approach Diagram
      ·(Note: Deviant groups are the different colored circles on the fringes of the main circle.)
      Mainstream Society
    • Conflict Approach Metaphor
      ·(Don’t copy—just draw a diagram of the following description) This theory can be represented as a ladder metaphor.  The people on top of the ladder are the upper classes, and people at the bottom are the lower classes. People at the bottom want to climb the ladder and achieve what those at the top have. People at the top want to maintain their position and distance themselves from people underneath them. This theory can be used to explain motivation for crime in either class. 
    • I. Social Structure Theories
      A. Assumptions:
      1. Disadvantaged social class is a
      primary cause of crime.
      2. Criminal behavior begins in
      youth
      B. Major Social Structure theories
      1. Social Disorganization Theory
      a. Crime is a largely the result of
      unfavorable conditions in a
      community.
      i. high dropout rate, unemploy-
      ment, crumbling infrastructure,
      single parent families.
    • 2. Strain Theory
      a. Crime occurs when people are frustrated
      by lack of access to financial success.
      b. Few under strain turn to crime, but
      negative emotionality may increase
      tendency.
      3. Cultural Deviance Theory
      a. People outside the mainstream may
      adapt to subcultures, which have their
      own norms and values.
      b. Some subcultures celebrate criminal or
      deviant behavior.
      i. Form in disorganized neighborhoods
      isolated from dominant society.
    • II. Social Process Theories
      A. Assumption: Everyone has the potential to be a criminal, depending on one's interactions with various groups and institutions.
      B. Major Theories
      1. Learning Theory
      a. Family and peers have a large
      influence
      b. Influence through differential
      association
      i. Criminal behavior is learned the
      same way as other behaviors
      c. Influence through differential
      reinforcement
      i. when negative behavior is
      rewarded, it is reinforced.
    • Differential Association
      Ideas that Justify Crime
      Ideas that inhibit Crime
      Don't get mad, get even.
      Sort these ideas into the right category above:
      Play fair.
      Turn the other cheek.
      Don't be a bully.
      Don't let anyone push you around.
      Evil is always
      punished.
      You're not responsible for what you do when you're drunk.
      People should use drugs
      if they want to.
      Forgive and forget.
    • 2. Control Theory
      a. Social bond between people in a
      social setting controls deviance
      and promotes conformity to
      norms.
      b. Bonds are formed based on
      involvement, commitment,
      attachment and common beliefs.
      c. As the social bond weakens,
      deviance increases.
    • 3. Reaction Theory
      a. Not as concerned with what a person
      does but how other people react to what
      they did
      b. Labeling a person can lead to a
      "self-fulfilling prophecy"
      i. A prediction that, in being made,
      actually causes itself to become true
      ii. Living down to expectations. Can
      become a downward spiral.
    • III. Social Conflict Theory
      A. Assumptions:
      1. Conflict between social classes causes
      crime
      2. Conflict is created by capitalism and
      competition over scarce resources
      a. Scarce human resources are wealth
      and power
      3. The law is defined by people who control
      wealth and it is biased against the poor
      4. The criminal justice system is a
      mechanism for controlling the poor.
      5. Crime can be revolutionary and bring
      about social change.
    • IV. Developmental Theories
      A. Assumption: Social, personal, and economic factors influence criminality, and these factors change over time.
      B. Life Course and Latent Trait Theories
      a. Conduct problems in childhood and
      early adolescence--lying, stealing, cheating, bullying--are highly predictive of
      future criminal behavior.
      b. Once established, negative behavior
      patterns are difficult to change
      c. Linked to personality trait of poor self
      control, often related to poor
      parenting.
      i. impulsive, thrill-seeking, likely to "solve" problems with violence
      d. Opportunities for crime diminish as one
      ages and has more responsibilities