In this presentation, you are being asked to identify a theory from the materials for this week and to present that theory. This should be in your own words and in simple terms – do not use exact phrasing, complicated language, or specific examples from the book or notes. Rather, read about the theory, think about it, and then explain it as if you were to be talking about it with people you know. That doesn't mean that this should be completely informal and and not comprehensive, but, rather that you should strive to explain the theory in your terms, and, in doing so, illustrate your understanding of it. In explaining the theory, you are being asked to include at least one example to help your explanation of the theory, and to walk through how your example relates to/illustrates the theory. For instance, you may choose to talk about anomie theory and explain how technology and the use of social media has increased anomie. Maybe you want to explain how labeling theory helps us to understand why people recidivate and how things like felony disenfranchisement contribute to this, all because of labeling. Or, perhaps you want to talk about how differential association helps us understand drug use. Whatever example you chose is up to you, but you need to pick an idea and then relate that idea to the theory you have selected. You can even pick a news item/current event as an example and briefly explain what happened before relating it to the theory. You can use other sources than the readings and notes (cite them if you do), but the big objective here is to show that you understand and can explain the theory on your own.
Presentation structure: There is no exact amount of slides that you must have. The slides themselves should not be blocks of texts, but should have smaller digestible points, and the text should not match word-for-word what you are saying in the presentation itself (i.e., do not type what you are going to say on the slides and then read directly off the slides). The presentation must include a comprehensive but concise explanation of your chosen theory and you must include an example. Otherwise, I am not giving you specific prompts or directives – you are free to construct the presentation as you see fit; however, do remember, your grade is dependent on how well you clearly explain the theory using your own words/ideas.
you need to type what you would say in the presentation in the notes of the presentation itself or in a separate document.
Use files to help with picking theory !!!
W&M Chapter 5: Differential Association Theory
1. Introduction a. Two versions of the theory – first in 1939, second in 1947 b. Sutherland wanted to propose a general theory of criminal behavior and
believed that criminal behavior was learned in a social environment. i. All behavior is learned in the same way. Major difference between
conforming and criminal behavior is in what is learned rather that in how it is learned.
ii. Previous assumption/position of most crime theory into the 1930s was crime was the result of biological and psychological defects/issues.
1. Sutherland criticized this and advanced sociological criminology. a. More cohesive/less complex approach to studying crime
and delinquency that was based in evidence. 2. The Heritage of the Theory
a. The Social Heritage i. Insights come out of the 1920s/1930s
ii. Uniform crime report provides evidence certain categories of people are more criminal than others. This also matches Chicago School data on the ecology of crime.
1. Official statistics support the sociological position rather than biological/psychological.
iii. Great Depression – Sutherland sees people committed crime out of because of impoverished conditions. Others who fared better in the Great Depression took advantage of the situation.
1. Crime and other criminal behaviors obviously not born into people or a result of a defect/lack of intelligence – rather, criminality was the product of situation, opportunity, and values.
iv. Prohibition and the criminalization of drug use 1. These forms of crime show that crime is in part a product of the
legal environment – individuals who engaged in behavior that was not criminal at one point could become criminal by engaging in the same behavior subsequent to the mere passage of law.
2. Focuses on crime as defined by the legal cods important to Sutherland because he saw society continually evaluated conduct in terms of adherence to the law.
a. Sutherland saw he practical importance of working within legal parameters.
b. The Intellectual Heritage i. W.I. Thomas – interactional sociology
ii. George Mead – symbolic interactionism iii. The Chicago School (crime ecology), Parks and Burgess, Shaw and McKay
1. The examination of statistical information and life history
a. The life history approach – Sutherland used to analyze thieves. First time Sutherland uses the terms “differential association.”
2. Criminal values being transmitted. 3. Three major theories – ecological and cultural transmission
theory, symbolic interactionism, and cultural conflict theory a. Allowed Sutherland to make sense of the varying crime
rates in society (culture conflict approach) and the process by which individuals became criminal (symbolic interactionist.
b. Wanted to explain both individual criminal behavior and the variation in group (societal) rates of crime. He had to take into account that (1) criminal behavior is not necessarily different from conventional heavier, (2) values are important in determining behavior, and (3) certain locations and people are more crime prone than others.
3. The Theoretical Perspective a. Criminology
i. First version of Sutherland’s box contains discussions of the importance of interaction among people and the conveyance of values from one person to another.
ii. First suggestions of differential association theory came in the second edition.
1. “First any person can be trained to adopt and follow any pattern of behavior which he is able to execute. Second, failure to follow a prescribed pattern of behavior is due to the inconsistences and lack of harmony in the influences which direct the individual. Third, the conflict of cultures is therefore the fundamental principle in the explanation of crime.”
a. Evident that Sutherland viewed cultural conflict as producing social disorganization (the inconsistencies and lack of harmony”) and, thus, crime.
iii. First full versions of the theory published in 1939 (third edition of the book).
1. Referred to systematic criminal behavior and focused equally on cultural conflict and social disorganization and on differential association.
a. When Sutherland used the term “systematic,” he meant either “criminal careers or organized criminal practices.” The references to organized criminal practices seems to have meant those behaviors with supporting definitions readily available in the community and not just organized crime as we think of it today.
b. Differential Association
i. By differential association Sutherland meant that “the contents of the patterns presented in association” with others would differ from individual to individual. Thus, he never meant mere association with criminals would cause criminal behavior. Instead, the content of the communications from others (the “contents of the patterns presented”) was given primary focus.
ii. Sutherland viewed crime as a consequences of conflicting values; that is, the individual followed culturally approved behavior that was disapproved (and set in law) by the larger American society.
iii. “Systematic criminal behavior is due immediately to differential association in a situation in which cultural conflict exist, and ultimately to the social disorganization in that situation.”
iv. As an individual-level explanation, differential association theory is entirely a product of the social environment surrounding individuals and the values gained from important others in that social environment.
c. Differential Social Organization i. Sutherland used the concepts of differential social organization and
culture conflict to offer an explanation of why rates vary from group to group.
1. Believed that culture conflict is rampant in society. This conflict, in part a product of a disorganized society separated into many groups, creates many values an interest among the different societal groups. Inevitably, many of these values comes into conflict, and some of them deal with values about the law. Groups with different values about the law (and lawful behavior) come into conflict with the authorities more often, resulting in higher rates of crime and delinquency.
2. The probability of differential association itself (and thus the learning of conflict definitions) is a “function of differential social organization.”
d. The Final Version of the theory i. Second and final version of the theory proposed in fourth edition of
Principles in 1947. 1. In this version, Sutherland expressly incorporated the notion that
all behavior is leaned and, unlike other theorists of the time, moved away from referring to the varied cultural perspectives as “social disorganization.” He used the term “differential social organization” or “differential group organization” instead. This allowed him to more clearly apply the learning process to a broader range of American society.
2. Nine points a. 1 – Criminal behavior is learned. b. 2 – Learning takes places “in interaction with others in a
process of communication.”
i. This process involves all types of contacts and exchanges – overt/subtle and indirect/direct.
ii. Key is that content of exchange is meaningful for the participants who held shared values.
c. 3 – Teaching/learning takes place in “intimate personal groups.”
d. 4 – Learning process can be simple or complex i. Two things are learned: techniques for committing
criminal behavior and the definitions (values, motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes) supporting such behavior
1. A relationship must exist for skills and values to be transferred.
2. Techniques are the “how” or the content of an act and the definitions are the “why” for doing it.
e. 5 – Criminal mentors provide definitions, drives, and motives favorable to the breaking of the law.
f. 6 – Criminal behavior results when there is an excess of definitions favoring criminal behavior, as opposed to those definitions favoring conventional behavior.
i. Excess of definitions does not refer to quantity but to weight of definitions – determined by the quality and intimacy of interaction (frequency, duration, priority, and intensity).
ii. Resulting behavior often may be determined not only by the persons to whom one is exposed but also by the absence of alternative (criminal or noncriminal) patterns to fall back on.
g. 7 – association that provide the opportunity to learn criminal behavior vary in frequency, duration, and intensity – interaction that are more intense or those that occur more regularly and for longer periods of time are thought to have more of an impact on participants.
h. 8 – The process/mechanisms of criminal behavior learning are the same as any other learning.
i. 9 – Criminal behavior is an expressions of general needs and values, but is not explained by those needs and values, since noncriminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values.
3. Theory focuses on definitions provided by associates. Once techniques are learned, values can be learned from anyone. However, definitions provided by close /intimate others are most important weight/determinant.
a. Different social organizations to which individuals belong provide the associations from which a variety of criminal behavior (both opposing/supporting) norms can be learned. Differential association implies individuals are exposed to differing associations that people attach different importance to, and they will learn more from others they spend more time/are more frequently with. Once certain definitions exist, people tend to be more susceptible to those definitions – i.e., people will be more or less likely to view crime in certain ways when confronted with new or different situations.
e. Classification of the theory i. Positivist theory – focuses on criminals and their behavior not law
ii. Microtheory when looking at etiological issues of criminal behavior. iii. Conflict theory – focus on conflicting values though, not groups/classes.
Sutherland realized that a large number of different values/definitions existed in a society.
iv. Theory of process, not structure 1. Focus on the behavior and the process operating to create
criminal behavior rather than conventional behavior. 4. Summary
a. Major points of the theory i. Criminal behavior is learned in the same way as any other behavior
ii. Learning takes place in social setting and through what the people in those settings communicate.
iii. The largest part of learning takes place in communication with those who are more important to us.
iv. The intimate social environment provides a setting for learning two things: the actual way to accomplish a behavior (if necessary) and the values of definitions concerning that behavior.
v. These values about certain behavior may be in opposition to the established legal codes. The extent we receive many statements about values, the weight of those statements (the importance and closeness of those who convey them) is more important than the actual number of statements.
vi. Criminal behavior takes place when the weight of the values concerning a particular behavior is in oppositions to the legal codes.
vii. The great number of groups and cultures in society makes possible the learning of different types of values or definitions. The greater the number of groups and cultures in specific areas, the greater is the likelihood of learning definitions conducive to criminal behavior.
viii. Some groups in society have more values in opposition to the legal codes than others (some are in more conflict); thus, some groups have higher crime rates than others.
W&M Chapter 6: Anomie Theory
1. Introduction a. Anomie is associated with both Emile Durkheim and Robert Merton b. Durkheim
i. Division of labor in society – describes a condition of “deregulation” occurring in society.
1. The general rules of a society (the rules that say how people ought to behave to one another) have broken down and that people do not know what to expect from each other. This deregulation/normlessness leads to deviance.
2. Central thesis in Division of Labor in Society was that societies evolved from a simple, nonspecialized form (mechanical) toward a more complex highly specialized form (organic)
a. Under mechanical solidarity, people think and act the same. They do similar labor, work on group goal-oriented tasks. However, as societies modernize, labor and relations change (e.g., the change from a hunter gather society to a more developed society).
b. Organic societies (modern societies) are characterized by highly interactive relationships in which people specialize in labor and goals. People depend on each other to produce various items/services, but not all of these are equal and the types of relationships between people are not equal. Thus, Durkheim sees these societies are contractual – people are no longer bonded by blood or friendship, but rather because of contractual bonds that can constantly change or dissolve.
i. Problem with these societies is that bonds are continually broken.
1. Thus, the rules governing people and relations between them are continually in flux, social conditions are constantly in danger of disruption, and when disruption occurs, we have anomie.
c. Anomie refers to the breakdown of norms and a condition in which norms no longer control the societal activity of members. Without clear rules to guide them, individuals cannot find their place in society and have difficulty dealing with changing conditions of life.
ii. Suicide – uses anomie to refer to a morally deregulated condition in which people have inadequate moral controls over their behavior.
a. A society that is anomic may have people who do not know when to quit striving for success or how to treat other people along the way.
iii. Regardless of Durkheim’s use, anomie is a breakdown in either the rules of society or the moral norms – Durkheim was referring to a break down in/disruption of normal social conditions.
iv. Durkheim saw economic crises, forced industrialization, and commercialization as factors producing anomie, and Durkheim believed that Western societies had reached a point of complexity that left them in constant anomic states. Even in these constant states though, periods of social disruption, like war or economic depression, would make matters worse and result in greater anomie and more crime/deviance.
c. Merton (1938) i. Merton did not think that changes and deregulation created anomie, but
the inability of the social system to exercise control in the form of social norms.
1. Merton saw social norms (or values) coming in two forms: societal goals and legitimate means. Anomie is the disjuncture between societal goals and means because of how society is structured (i.e., there is not equal access).
a. Deviance can be seen as a symptom of social structure in which goals and means are separated. Thus, deviance is a product of anomie.
2. Merton was focused on social structure and cultural disparities and how these created anomie. Thus, anomie is a permeant feature of the social structures of a society.
2. The Heritage of the theory a. The social heritage
i. Merton did not see crime as an intrinsic part of a person – rejects the individualistic view of pathology.
ii. Durkheim drew on the Great Depression and sociological insights of the time.
1. Durkheim believed that society coming out of the Great Depression was in a state of deregulation.
a. Ecological data and work from the Chicago school supported this idea – that is that certain segments of a society were in a constant state of deregulation.
b. The intellectual heritage i. Durkheim
1. Drew on Sorokin’s idea on “anomic suicide.” 2. Talcott Parsons ideas on structural functionalism. 3. George Simpson 4. Two strains of psychological/biological positivism – Freudian
psychotherapy and Hooton’s ideas on biological criminals.
ii. Merton 1. Obvious Marxist influence via the American dream and the
capitalist system. 2. Sutherland’s differential association theory is seen as a
complementary theory – anomie was a way to explain the structural components of deviance from differential association.
3. The theoretical perspective a. Merton
i. A theory of deviance that does not focus on criminality. ii. General focus on deviance
1. Emphasizes well-structured goals for its members and equally structured avenues to reach those goals. Deviance becomes any behavior that does not follow accepted values.
iii. Merton explains that certain goals are emphasized throughout society, as well as certain acceptable means (legitimate) to achieve those goals.
1. When goals are too strongly stressed, anomie is more likely, because not every has equal access to legitimate means, and people will search for alternative ways of achieving the same goals.
a. Because of the way in which society is structured, certain groups have more access to the means with which to achieve. Thus, inequality exists because of the way society is structured, even though the goals are said to apply to all.
iv. The U.S. is in a constant state of anomie. There is unequal access to achievement, but there are agreed upon goals, and people are faced with constant strain because they have to reconcile their aspirations with their limited opportunities.
v. Legitimate means are not always that most efficient method of reaching goals.
vi. Success of goals themselves are not necessarily applicable to all social classes at the same time, and each class may have its own version of goals/success, but there are cultural message about what upward striving/mobility look like that are shared – the emphasis on reaching the goals is what is important.
1. According to Merton, Sutherland’s definition from differential association can be interpreted as values related to legal/illegal means. Thus, at the neighborhood level, the presence of values conducive to delinquency or crime essentially tells those who believe there that legitimate opportunities are scarce and encourage illegal means to reach goals. Conversely, conventional values in the neighborhood support legitimate means.
b. The modes of adaptation
i. Merton presents five modes of adapting to strain caused by restricted access the socially approved goals and means.
1. Conformity (most people) – accept both the means and the goals. These people perpetuate the existence of society.
2. Innovation (most common of deviant adaptations) – accept the goals but come up with new means (deviant but may/may not be illegal).
3. Ritualism – accept the means but reject the goals. These people buy into the shared goals/signs of success but don’t care/aren’t invested in the process of achieving them. So, this would be someone who works in an office job that pays well and does not care about the job/wanting to advance in their career.
4. Retreatists – reject both the goals and the means. 5. Rebels – come up with new goals and new means. These may be
able to alter the social structure. ii. Merton’s theory explains how social structure contributes the creation of
deviance at all levels. However, the lower class is most likely to be deviant or adapt with non-legitimate ways of achieving success, because of how society is structured.
1. Real conformity would be found in those individuals for whom there is no problem in accessing the means for achieving goals: primarily the rich and elite.
2. It is in the interest of those for whom the social structure works best (the real conformists) to keep a large share of the population believing in the system and with some small degree of access to legitimate means.
3. Merton believed that the increasing degree of deviance precipitated by a class-structured anomic society would, ultimately, result in a feedback effect. This effect would essentially subvert the original norms justifying the institutionally approved means resulting in more anomie and more deviance.
4. Classification of the theory a. Positivist theory – locates pathology within the social structure.
i. The undue emphasis on goals in society without access to avenues for success for all serves to create a strain in certain segments of society, and, ultimately, a push toward deviance.
b. Consensus theory – believes that there is an agreement on what society values. i. Society imposes on us right/wrong and there are agreed upon general
goals. c. Structural theory – focuses on the way in which society is structured and how
structure serves to create deviance. d. Macrotheory – Merton wants to explain variations in rates of deviance across
e. Functionalist – Merton uses the concepts of cultural goals and norms to explain how they serve to produce both conformity and deviance within the social structure.
W&M Chapter 7: Subculture Theories
1. Introduction a. Criminological theories of the 1950s/60s focused on juvenile delinquency. Many
of the theorists set out to explain what they believed to be the most common form of delinquency: gangs.
i. Culture studies at the Chicago School began to be referred to using the new sociological term “subcultures.”
ii. Sociologists and criminologists combined these topics and began studying gang delinquency and theorizing about delinquent subcultures.
iii. The works of the Chicago School were combined with Sutherland and Anomie.
2. The heritage of the theories a. The social heritage
i. 1950s was a prosperous time in the U.S. and lead to a rise in consumerism. We also see a rise in the middle class, and the middle class is seen as “normal.”
ii. Education and the right to education was also emphasized, and college enrollment expanded significantly.
iii. Urbanization creates deteriorated center cities and the first suburbs become popular.
1. The problems of the city are now seen as lower-class issues that middle America was above – the middle class was seen as superior to the lower class.
2. Poverty is seen as an individual level problem and these people were seen as responsible for their own predicaments (i.e., did not work hard enough).
b. The intellectual heritage i. Both the Chicago School and the Mertonian concept of anomie.
ii. Solomon Korbin – found strong ties between political hierarchy in a neighborhood and organized crime.
1. Integrated community – the degree of social control present within a community is dependent on how well the criminal element is organized as well as on the character of it’s relationship with the community’s official leadership. A community that is organized and integrated has greater social control over the behavior of juveniles than a community where integration is lacking. Control exists because organized crime members reside in the community with their families. Thus, they have an interest in controlling and preventing violence in the community. Because they have power and participate in the political arena, organized crime is able to use that political power to have the police keep the streets in their neighborhood safe.
3. Cohen’s subculture of delinquency
a. Cohen’s The Culture of the Gang (1955) was the first attempt at solving the problem of how a delinquent subculture could begin.
b. Cohen found that delinquent behavior was most often found among lower-class males and that gang delinquency was the most common form.
i. Cohen determined that gang subcultures are characterized by behavior that is nonutilitarian, malicious, and negativistic. So, there was no rationale for stealing or doing other crime other than taking a delight in the discomfort of others/knowingly violating middle class values.
1. Research characterized gangs as engaged in various forms of delinquent acts (versatility), interested mainly in the present (short-run hedonism) as opposed to the future, and hostile to outsiders (group autonomy). These factors had to be explained by a theory of delinquent subculture.
c. Cohen believed that all children (all individuals really) seek social status. However, not all children can compete equally for social status.
i. Because of lower-class children’s position in the social structure, they tend to lack both material and symbolic advantages. This becomes most obvious in competitions with children from the middle class.
1. First major status problem facing lower-class children are in the school system. Lower-class children have to compete with middle class children, but they are also evaluated using middle class standards that are different than what they are exposed to in the places in which they live/exist (i.e., schools and teachers use these middle class standards and expect others to be aware/abide by them).
a. Standards include sharing, delaying gratification, setting long-range goals, and respecting other’s property. All of these things intrinsically relate to being brought up with property of one’s own and to having parents who know that hard work now pays off in the future. None of these standards are necessarily obvious or self-evident to lower- class parents and are not transmitted to lower-class children.
i. In this competitive framework, lower-class children lose ground in the search for status, among both other students and teachers. Those who most strongly feel this suffer status-frustration. Cohen speculated a hostile reaction to middle-class values may occur.
d. Because many lower-class children are trapped in this status-frustration, various adaptations to the middle class take place.
i. For some, adjustments to the middle-class standard results in a collective solution to the problem of status. That is, status is achieved in a new way outside of middle class standards – new norms and criteria for achieving
status is created – a new cultural form, a delinquent subculture is created.
1. It is this delinquent subculture that provides the nonutilitarian, malicious, and negativistic character of gang delinquency. Abandoning and inverting the middle-class value system, gang members can achieve status simply by doing those things they do well, such as showing toughness or standing up for themselves. As long as the need for status exists, the delinquent subculture will exist as an available solution for lower-class, male youths.
4. Classification of the theory a. Usually referred to as a strain or structural theory – the source of the delinquent
subculture is strain and the theory focuses on the process by which the subculture is created.
b. Bridging theory – Cohen borrows from strain theory an explanation of social structure and proceeds to describe how delinquent subcultures come about.
c. Consensus – society emphasizes reaching goals in the accepted middle-class way. It is only after frustration develops from an inability to reach status goals that lower class children find a need for alternative means.
d. Sociological positivism e. Major points of the theory
i. Members of society share a common value system that emphasizes certain values over others (in the U.S., the middle-class).
ii. Most of these common values stress goals that result in the gaining of status; therefore, status itself becomes a generally approved goal.
iii. Opportunities to reach these goals are more often available to the middle class than to the lower class.
iv. Social institution, especially schools, reflect middle-class value goals and use them to evaluate those who come in contact with the institution.
v. Because of their limited opportunities, lower-class youth are often evaluated unfavorably by the school system, leading to frustration in their pursuit of status.
vi. Unable to gain status through the use of conventional school opportunities (grades, social standing), lower-class youths rebel (reaction-formation) against middle-class values while still keeping status as a goal.
vii. Over a period of time, lower-class youths collectively create a new value system in opposition to middle-class values. The standards of this new value system are mostly anticonventional and afford the youths opportunities for gaining status.
viii. This “delinquent solution” is passed on through the transmission of values from youth to youth and generation to generation, fostering an ongoing delinquent subculture that provides status for behavior that is negativistic, malicious, and nonutilitarian.
5. Cloward and Ohlin’s Differential Opportunity Theory
a. Both legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures exist and can be used to achieve cultural goals.
i. One’s position in society dictates the access that they have to either legitimate or illegitimate avenues for success (i.e., people who occupy different social positions and statuses have different access to both normative and deviant ways of achieving culturally agreed upon goals).
ii. Cloward and Ohlin argue that the form of delinquent subculture depends on the degree of integration present in the community.
1. In a community without a stable criminal structure, lower-class juveniles would have no greater opportunity to success in life through criminal avenues than they would through conventional means. There would be no criminal “business” to join and to work one’s way up through the ranks, no way to learn properly a criminal trade and no way to become a “professional.”
iii. Cloward and Ohlin suggest that there would be three ideal types of delinquent gang subcultures: criminal, conflict, and retreatist.
1. When communities are fully integrated, gangs act almost as an apprenticeships group for the adult, organized criminal concerns. In this criminal subculture, the primary focus would be on profit- making activities, and violence would be minimal. These subcultural gangs would practice the criminal “trades” under th
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