Strain Theories

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Strain Theories

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1. Strain Theories Social structure theories Blocked opportunities for legitimate success leads to criminal behavior 3 classic strain theories Anomie theory Theory of delinquent subcultures Differential opportunity theory

2. Anomie Emil Durkheim Anomie = “normlessness” Anomie most likely to occur in societies that are moving from mechanical to organic solidarity Anomie undermines society’s control functions

3. Theory of Anomie (1938) Robert Merton Found 2 elements of culture that interact to produce potentially anomic conditions culturally defined goals Socially approved means for obtaining them Disjunction between goals and means causes strain which causes anomie

4. Individual Modes of Adaptation Goals Means Conformity + + Innovation + - Ritualism - + Retreatism - - Rebellion +/- +/-

5. Limitations to Anomie Theory Assumes consensus concerning goals and values Does not explain all types of crime Does not explain the choices that are made Does not explain aging out Overprediction

6. Theory of Delinquent Subcultures (1955) Albert Cohen Strain is the result of an inability to achieve status among peers by socially acceptable means Middle-class measuring rods Status frustration

7. Cohen’s Subcultures Corner boy subculture College boy subculture Delinquent boy subculture

8. Differential Opportunity Theory Cloward and Ohlin Disjunction between goals and the means causes strain Crime is the result of differential opportunity structures

9. Subculture Formations Criminal gangs Conflict gangs Retreatist gangs

10. Policy Implications for Strain Theories Expand legitimate opportunities Rehabilitation programs for prisoners Reduce material aspirations

11. Mobilization for Youth Based on Cloward and Ohlin’s work Set up educational and employment support Supported community self-help Worked to change political structure

12. General Strain Theory Robert Agnew (1992) Strain inducing stimuli Failure to achieve goals The removal of positively valued stimuli The presence of negatively valued stimuli Stress causes individual to take corrective action

13. General Strain Theory Cognitive coping strategies Minimize the importance of goals Minimize negative outcomes Accepting responsibility

14. Cultural Deviance Theories Social structure theories Social and economic deprivation lead to the creation of an independent culture Cultural norms can clash with conventional values

15. Culture Conflict Theory (1938) Thorsten Sellin Different groups maintain their own set of conduct norms Criminal law expresses the rules of the dominant culture Conflict and crime occur when following the norms of one’s own culture causes a person to break the legislated conduct norms of the dominant culture

16. Focal Concerns (1958) Walter Miller Values evolve specifically to fit the conditions of impoverished areas Conformance to these focal concerns dominates life among the lower class

17. Focal Concerns Trouble Toughness Smartness Excitement Fate Autonomy

18. Policy Implications of Cultural Deviance Theories Assimilation Cultural Socialization Develop laws that are clear and simple

19. Social Contexts of the 1960s Protests over discrimination Development of a youth counterculture Reaction to the Vietnam war Lack of social consensus

20. The 1960s Impact on Criminology Social Control Theories concerned with the loss of self-control and the breakdown of traditional sources of social control Labeling Theory examines the role of the state in creating the crime problem Conflict Theories examines the role of power differentials in creating the crime problem

21. Social Control Theories Asks: Why don’t people commit crimes? What differentiates non-criminals from criminals is effective socialization self-control commitment to conformity People’s behavior is controlled by people’s attachment and commitment to conventional institutions, individuals, and processes

22. 2 General Kinds of Control Theory Broken Bond Theory Failed to Bond Theory

23. “Stake in Conformity” (1957) Jackson Toby How much a person has to lose by breaking the law

24. Social Bonding Theory (1969) Travis Hirschi A failed to bond theory All people would break the law if they did not fear the consequences of getting caught Ties or bonds to conventional parents, schools, friends, employers etc. make crime too much of a risk for most people

25. Components of the Bond Attachment Commitment Involvement Belief

26. Self-Control Theory (1990) Gottfredson and Hirschi Self-control Surveillance Labeling Punishment

27. Policy Implications of Control Theories Target families Supervision, surveillance, and control Better child rearing practices Parent training and family therapy reduce abuse and neglect Surrogate families and group homes Target at risk youths Counseling and special supervision Problem-solving and social skills

28. Limitations of Social Control Theories Causal direction of bonding is unclear Rejects the idea of delinquent motivation Underemphasizes the role of delinquent associates Does not address aging out Assumes a consensus concerning moral values Ignores the criminalization process

29. Labeling Theory Criminalization Process Attempts to explain the continuation of criminal behavior Based on symbolic interaction

30. Symbolic Interactionism George Herbert Mead The study of how people communicate and interact through the use of agreed upon symbols and gestures

31. 3 Main Points of Interactionism People respond to their interpretation of reality W.I. Thomas We learn how to respond to situations based on the meanings of those situations that we get from people We re-evaluate our behavior based on the responses of other people Charles Cooley

32. Labeling Theory Crime is socially constructed Labeling theory attempts to answer 3 questions: What types of behaviors acquire the label of crime Who acquires the label of criminal What are the consequences of acquiring such a label

33. Acts that Acquire the Criminal Label There is nothing inherently criminal about any act Crime is defined by the societal reaction to behavior Moral entrepreneurs are responsible for defining behaviors as criminal

34. Who is Likely to Acquire the Label Labeling theorists suggest behavior is not always the most important factor Other important factors include: Race Social Class Sex Organizational goals and available resources of the police Political demands

35. Consequences of the Label Responses to crime may be criminogenic CJ system labels individuals as deviant or criminal Criminal label increases delinquency It is consistent with the idea that our self-definitions are developed and maintained in interaction with each others

36. Criminalization Process Frank Tannenbaum “The Dramatization of Evil” Edwin Lemert Primary deviance Secondary deviance Harold Garfinkel Status degradation ceremonies

37. Criminal as Master Status Howard Becker “Criminal” becomes a master status Retrospective interpretation Deviance amplification Become unattached to conventional others and activities Criminal associations increase Criminality increases

38. Reintegrative Shaming (1989) John Braithwaite Shaming expresses disapproval which invokes remorse in the offender Two types of shaming: Disintegrative Reintegrative

39. Criticisms of the Labeling Perspective Does not explain initiation into criminality Does not go far enough in explaining how society’s power structure defines crime Does not explain why some do develop stable criminal careers without ever being labeled Research support as been limited

40. Policy Implications Reduce contact with criminal justice system Decriminalization Diversion Due Process Deinstitutionalization

41. Conflict and Radical Theories Examine structural causes of crime Crime and law enforcement are often political acts rooted in group or class conflict Causes of crime are seen as rooted in conflict that stems from inequality

42. Conflict vs. Radical Theories Conflict theories Max Weber Georg Simmel Inequality based on differences in wealth, status, ideas, religious beliefs etc. Differences result in formation of interest groups that struggle with each other for power Conflict is pluralistic

43. Conflict vs. Radical Theories Radical theories Karl Marx Fundamental conflict is economic capitalist vs. laborers Lower classes are exploited by those in the upper classes Economic inequality is at the root of all conflicts

44. Conflict vs. Radical Theories Shared Assumptions Crime is the result of the organization of society Macro-level perspective Possession of power is important Examine law making, interpretation and enforcement Reject legal definitions of crime

45. Class, Status and Party (1922) Max Weber Dimensions of inequality Power Wealth Prestige Conflict is most likely when these 3 kinds of stratification coincide Conflict is also likely when access to these positions are highly restricted

46. The Social Reality of Crime (1970) Richard Quinney Criminalization maintains the current balance of power or increases a group’s power Some meanings of crime have social reality Behaviors that are most threatening to the powerful are most likely to be criminalized

47. Limitations to Conflict Theory Overly pluralistic Does not identify the source of power Conflict theory is reformist

48. Policy Implications Broad strategy of reform and transformation Minimize human casualties Change structural relationships Field controls rather than punishment Aim for a more viable rather than docile society

49. Marxist Theory Historical Materialism- Stages of social history are distinguished by different modes of production Mode of production- economic structure Means of production- technology, tools, resources, knowledge, etc. Relations of production- determines class and social wealth

50. Marxist Theory Capitalism creates class conflict Capitalist- maximize profits Laborers- fair wages and working conditions Surplus Value- the difference between what a laborer is paid and the value that he/she actually produces Surplus Population- a ready pool of unemployed laborers

51. Criminality and Economic Conditions (1905) Willem Bonger Crimes are simply the acting out of a “criminal thought” Criminal thoughts are more likely to occur in societies that promote egoism over altruism Capitalism promotes egoism

52. Contemporary Radical Criminology A product of the 1960s Reject individual-level theories of crime Reject theories that inadequately account for the criminogenic nature of capitalism

53. Contemporary Radical Criminology Capitalism shapes social institutions, social identities and social action Capitalism creates class conflict Crime is a response to capitalism results from surplus population education individualistic competition crimes of accommodation and resistance

54. Contemporary Radical Criminology Capitalist law facilitates and conceals crimes of domination and repression Capitalism shapes society’s response to crime by shaping law

55. Instrumental Marxism The state is a tool used to protect the interest of the capitalists The law and CJ system are coercive instruments used to control the lower classes Tends to suggest a “conspiracy” Capitalist are seen as a unified, monolithic group

56. Structural Marxism The state acts on behalf of the long-term interest of capitalism The capitalist system is protected through laws and the criminal justice system Must enact and enforce laws that benefit the economically less powerful to prevent revolt Capitalist are not seen as a unified, monolithic group

57. Limitations to Radical Theory If capitalism is criminogenic, why do other capitalist countries have low crime rates Overly deterministic conception of class structure

58. Policy Implications Change the social structure Change the economic structure Raise consciousness Decriminalize non-violent crimes

59. Critical Theory Attempts to expose systems of domination and oppression (capitalism, racism and sexism) Attempts to deconstruct socially constructed inequalities

60. Critical Criminology Reject legal definitions of crime Reject causal analysis Oppose existing social structures based on inequality Criticizes the existing criminal justice system Critical policies require radical transformations

61. Feminist Theories Sex- refers to biological differences Gender- refers to differences in socialization Socially constructed conceptions of women 4 types of feminist theory Liberal Feminism Radical Feminism Marxist Feminism Socialist Feminism

62. Liberal Feminism Women’s lesser involvement in crime results from differences in socialization and available opportunities Emancipation Thesis Policy implication: Grant equal access and increase opportunities for women

63. Radical Feminism Crime is men’s behavior, not women’s Men are biologically aggressive and dominant Focuses on patriarchy-- “rule by men” or male domination Men control the reproductive forces of women

64. Policy Implications for Radical Feminism Liberation from men’s control and domination Matriarchy Birth control Lesbianism as political action

65. Marxist Feminism Oppression of women is due to capitalism Women’s role is to reproduce and socialize compliant workers Women's criminal behavior is a reflection of dependency and oppression

66. Policy Implications Change the capitalist class structure Pay for housework Provide house care and child care

67. Socialist Feminism Dual system of oppression patriarchy and capitalism Policy implications replace capitalism expose and eliminate male dominated hierarchies reproductive and sexual freedom

68. The Future of Criminology Integrated theories? Integrating different theories within the same discipline Integrating theories from different disciplines Life course theories Holistic theories

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