Society Level Factors and Crime

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Levels of Analysis. . . . . . . Cell. Organ. Organism. Group. Community/Organization. Society. . . . . Behavior in the context of societies. The final level of analysisSocieties are made up of all levels of analysis below.Each society represents a country (

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Society Level Factors and Crime

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1. Society Level Factors and Crime Dr. Matthew Robinson CJ 3400 “Theories of Crime” Appalachian State University

3. Behavior in the context of societies The final level of analysis Societies are made up of all levels of analysis below. Each society represents a country (“a collective of people with common traditions, institutions, and activities and interests”). Our concern is how American society produces crime.

4. Behavior in the context of societies Each society contains: Social structure -- the main, permanent, interrelated features of the society that determine how the society as a whole functions. … contains institutions -- the significant practices and organizations in a society, including economic, political, educational, and moral institutions

5. Behavior in the context of societies Each society also contains: Culture -- “the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations; the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a …social group.” Subcultures – smaller cultures within the dominant culture that significant differ …

6. What is it about America? Is our culture criminogenic? Nationalism / arrogance Sex / aggression Guns / freedom Consumerism / Capitalism Role models

7. The “Clinton Effect”??

8. The “Clinton Effect”??

9. What about Bush?

10. The “Bush Effect”??

11. The “Bush Effect”??

12. The “Bush Effect”??

13. Total Fatalities in Drunk-Driving Crashes

14. Possible criminogenic factors Social disorganization Anomie / strain ** Culture conflict “Criminal” Subcultures Demographics: Race, Class, Gender **

15. Social disorganization Recall social disorganization implies some inability of inhabitants to control behavior of residents Societal sources? (What makes urbanization, residential mobility, family disruption, poverty, unemployment, income inequality?) Downsizing, outsourcing, tax cuts, others???

16. Anomie / Strain Anomie – state of normlessness, breakdown of norms in society “collective conscience” (shared beliefs) of society threatened Can occur during large-scale societal changes Can occur during growth from small town to thriving city

17. Anomie / Strain Anomie – threat to integration and regulation Less effective informal social control Greater need for formal social control Crime rates higher in conditions of anomie???

18. Anomie / Strain Structural strain – disjunction between culturally prescribed goals and legitimate means We all have same goals, but not all have means to achieve them Goals are learned from families and other societal sources (e.g., advertising) What are your goals? What do you want?

19. Anomie / Strain The primary goal is the “American Dream.” When people cannot achieve this legally, they create new means to achieve them (“innovation”) Innovation is adaptation to strain most likely to lead to crime

20. Modes of Adaptation Cultural Institutional Goals Means Conformity Accept Accept Innovation Accept Reject Ritualism Reject Accept Retreatism Reject Reject Rebellion Reject/ Reject/ Replace Replace

21. Anomie / Strain Strain is not the only source of crime. When goals take precedence over means, crime can also result. The American Dream itself may be criminogenic. Capitalism itself may be criminogenic.

22. Anomie / Strain In America, people can never have enough. No matter how much you have, you want 25% more. Perhaps pursuing wealth is criminogenic.

23. Anomie / Strain Institutional anomie – allegiance to the “American Dream” promotes crime “American Dream” is more about goal of achieving wealth and less about means to achieve those goals Criminality is more likely when economy takes precedence over other institutions (e.g., family, schools, places of worship)

24. Anomie / Strain Three ways economy takes precedence: Devaluation of noneconomic institutional functions and roles Accommodation to economic requirements by other social institutions Penetration of economic norms into other institutional domains

25. Anomie / Strain Primary role of family, schools, places of worship to “inculcate beliefs, values, and commitments other than those of the marketplace.” Would we have less crime if we put our families, schools, and places of worship first?

26. Anomie / Strain Contextual anomie/strain – combines previous theories into new theory Strain and pursuing American Dream produce crime Economy dominates other institutions) All of us are under pressure to be “greedy” Some contexts add additional pressures to be “greedy” In some contexts, it is possible to conform and innovate at same time

27. Modes of Adaptation Cultural Institutional Goals Means Conformity Accept Accept Innovation Accept Reject Ritualism Reject Accept Retreatism Reject Reject Rebellion Reject/ Reject/ Replace Replace

28. Anomie / Strain Maximizer – “people working in big business -- the corporation -- have additional pressures to achieve wealth that emanate from the subcultures of their workplace. “In big business, individuals are exposed to additional pressures to achieve wealth through any means, to ‘maximize wealth’ by whatever means necessary, including greed.” Anomie/strain theory most used to explain street crime Contextual anomie/strain theory explains corporate crime

29. Anomie / Strain Examples: Fraud False advertising Defective products “Cutting corners” in constrution Hazardous working conditions

30. Financial strain is not only source of strain There is also general strain. It occurs when a person: Is prevented from achieving goals Loses something of value Experiences some undesirable stimulus / negative experience Anomie / Strain

31. Such negative experiences may lead to … anger, guilt, fear, anxiety, and depression (negative emotionality) … which can lead to aggression General strain most likely to lead to crime when seen as unjust, high in magnitude, and difficult to correct Anticipated and vicarious strain can also lead to crime Anomie / Strain

32. Urbanization and industrialization related to higher property crime Income inequality related to higher murder, violent street crimes Poverty related to depression, joblessness, family disruption, community instability Poverty and street crime related (duh) Economic factors and crime

33. Unemployment related to higher property crime within neighborhoods Structural strain related to higher street crime General strain related to higher deviance / antisocial behavior / delinquency / criminality Economic factors and crime

34. What is race? What is class? What is gender? Criminal justice system disproportionately catches poor, minority, men More crimes or more focus on them?

35. Relative to Caucasians, minorities have … Lower income Less wealth Higher unemployment So, more criminal? (see UCR, NCVS, self-report studies)

36. Cultural explanations put blame on the values, beliefs and attitudes of the people … Structural explanations put blame on enduring features of societal institutions … Which do you think is most logical?

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