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Crime and Social Groups. Tonight Quiz review Crime in the news 3 Major theories on crime Types of crimes Types of groups Power of Groups. Quiz results. Class average 89\%. Sociological Imagination/ Perspective.

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crime and social groups

Crime and Social Groups


Quiz review

Crime in the news

3 Major theories on crime

Types of crimes

Types of groups

Power of Groups

quiz results
Quiz results

Class average 89%

sociological imagination perspective
Sociological Imagination/ Perspective
  • Helps us see general social patterns in the behavior of particular individuals
  • Encourages us to realize that society guides our thoughts and deeds
How do sociologists think?Psychologists vs. Sociologists

Any behavior

Sociologist’s Perspective

Psychologist’s Perspective

Focus on the bigger picture, the time, place, and culture the individual lives in, and how these factors might influence their beliefs

Focus on the individual

Or the individual immediate influences such as work and family

3 Types of Norms: Folkways, Mores, Taboo
Steps in the research process
  • Select a topic, create a research question: refine the topic, identify,specific aims, purpose, betterment of society?
  • Literature review: useful because it helps you refine your question, state what you will add to current research
  • Research designs/methods: carefully design research methods steps to ensure high reliability, ethical methods (consider sampling strategy and type of questions)
  • Collect data: ethical, organized manner, may need IRB approval
  • Code data:organize your data and look for themes or create charts/graphs
  • Interpret:analyze, interpret, and discuss your results, include a discussion of any shortcomings in your methods
  • Inform:share conclusions and recommendations
crime in the news what s going on around the world extra credit
Crime in the newsWhat’s going on around the world? (Extra credit)
  • Tell us your name
  • Tell us about a recent crime that was in the news.
  • Would this be considered a crime in all societies, why or why not?
  • What type of solution would work well to combat crimes of this type?
how do we get info about crime major types of crime statistics
How do we get info about crime?Major Types of Crime Statistics
  • Official statistics
  • Victimization surveys
  • Self-report offender surveys
problems with official statistics
Problems With Official Statistics
  • Many crimes are not reported
  • Some reported crimes are not recorded by police.
  • Some rates may be exaggerated.
Structural functionalists emphasize how deviants are products of society
  • Deviance occurs because the structure of society makes it impossible for some people to achieve success in legitimate ways
robert k merton strain theory and theory of anomie
Robert K. Merton Strain Theory and Theory of Anomie
  • Merton (a functionalist) made an important contribution to the understanding of how deviant behavior is produced by different social structures.
  • Strain theory: when individuals believe that a particular goal is important (ex: financial success) +
  • but do not have legitimate means to attain it
  • = they experience strain, and are likely to feel anomie-a sense of normlessness
  • Theory of Anomie: Merton developed a list of themodes of adaptation that can be seen when an individual is confronted with a state of anomie.
merton theory of anomie
Merton-Theory of Anomie

1.Innovation-accept the cultural goal but reject the institutional means of attaining it

Example: a person who rejects the idea of going to college to get a high paying job, and instead makes their money through drug dealing; seeking financial success but not following norms of society to achieve the success

merton theory of anomie1
Merton-Theory of Anomie

2.Ritualism-does not buy into the goals of society but follow the routines

Example:a high school student who goes through the motion of going to class, does the assignments, and studies for exams, but has abandoned the goal of financial success and has no desire to go to college and get a high paying job

merton theory of anomie2
Merton-Theory of Anomie

3. . Retreatism- individuals have rejected both the goals of culture and retreated from society

Example:drug addicts divorce themselves from society- They would not seek the goals or rewards of society, they would only seek access to the drug they are addicted to, and be willing to break the law to obtain those drugs

merton theory of anomie3
Merton-Theory of Anomie

4. Rebellion-rejecting the values and institutions of one’s culture and substituting them a new set of values.


Rejecting the goal of financial success and deciding to focus on giving to others instead

A woman rejecting the goal of attaining physical beauty and deciding to focus on animal rights instead

merton theory of anomie those who don t feel strain anomie conform
Merton-Theory of AnomieThose who don’t feel strain/anomie conform:

5. Conformity-individuals who accept the cultural goals of society as well as the institutionalized means of attaining these goals. They work hard in legitimate ways to achieve success.

Example:someone who believes in the goals of personal financial achievement and subsequently studies business administration in college, earns an M.B.A and then begins their own online company

other structural functionalist viewpoints
Other structural functionalist viewpoints

Crime is functional for society

  • Strengthens group cohesion: people develop solidarity when they come together to express outrage over a criminal violation.
  • Punishment reiterates boundaries of what is considered right or wrong
  • May be a catalyst for social change
other structural functionalist viewpoints1
Other structural functionalist viewpoints

Sub-cultural theories argue that certain groups or subcultures in society have values and attitudes that are conducive to crime and violence.

other structural functionalist viewpoints2
Other structural functionalist viewpoints

Control theory (by Hirschi):

  • A strong social bond between individuals and society constrains some individuals from violating social norms.
  • Elements of the social bond: (a) Attachment to significant others

(b) Commitment to conventional goals

(c) Involvement in conventional activities

(d) Belief in the moral standards of society








Can you match the labels to the photograph?


sex offender









sex offender




labeling theory
Labeling Theory
  • One of the most influential approaches to understanding and explaining crime
  • Society creates deviants by labeling those who have been apprehended as different
  • “Self-fulfilling prophecy”
symbolic interactionists emphasize the importance of labels as a cause of repeated deviant behavior
Symbolic interactionistsemphasize the importance of labels as a cause of repeated deviant behavior
  • Deviance (actions that violate cultural norms) is learned through the groups we interact with and the labels (names/reputations) we acquire
other symbolic interactionist views
Other symbolic interactionist views
  • Through interaction with others, individuals learn the values and attitudes associated with crime as well as the techniques and motivations for criminal behavior.
  • Individuals exposed to more definitions favorable to law violation are more likely to engage in criminal behavior
  • What do you think? Can video games or violence in movies increase criminal behavior?
Conflict theory emphasizes how the criminal justice system is controlled by a small group of people who have power
  • Sees the law as an instrument of oppression
  • The law punishes the working class because they have the potential to rebel and overthrow the current social order
conflict theory
Conflict Theory
  • Social inequality leads to crimes as means of economic survival.
  • Those in power define what is criminal.
  • Law enforcement penalizes those without power and benefits those with power.
Black men in the United States are 6.6 times more likely than white men to be incarcerated. More than 10 percent of all Black males ages 25 to 39 were in prison or jail as of June 30, 2008. ( April 09)


Whites, Latinos, and Blacks arrested for Marijuana Possession in New York City

Marijuana use among races in the United States

The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that white youths are more likely to use marijuana than Hispanic, Black, or Asian youth

Source: NHSDA 2000

Types of Crime

Types of Crime

1) Index crimes (street crimes) 2 types:

types of crime
Types of Crime

2) Vice crimes (non-violent)

  • Drug use
  • Prostitution
  • Gambling

3) White collar crime

4) Organized crime

5) Computer crime

6) Juvenile delinquency

white collar crime
White Collar Crime
  • Crimes committed in course of employment or by corporations in the interest of maximizing profit.
  • Occupational - individuals commit crimes in the course of their employment.
  • Corporate - corporations violate law to maximize profit.
Corporate Crime a form of white-collar crime

In 2002, Firestone executives let faulty tires remain on US vehicles, even though they were recalling the tires in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

More than 200 Americans died from accidents

The fault may be Firestone’s for manufacturing defective tires, or Ford, for equipping vehicles with tires that were too small, or perhaps both companies were at fault

No Firestone or Ford Executive went to jail (Henslin, 2006)

Corporate Crime a form of white-collar crime

Hughes Electronics

Boeing Satellite Systems

In 2003, two leading US aerospace companies, were accused of illegally exporting missile technology to China. The technology allowed China to improve its delivery system for nuclear weapons, therefore placing the United States at risk.

The two companies pleaded guilty and paid fines.

No executives went to jail. (Henslin, 2006)

computer crimes
Computer Crimes
  • Any law violation in which a computer is the target or means of criminal activity.
  • One of the fastest growing crimes in U.S.
  • Hacking - unauthorized computer intrusion.
  • Identity theft - stealing of someone else’s identification to obtain credit.
explosion in the number of u s prisoners
Explosion in the number of U.S. prisoners
  • Between 1970 and 2000 the US population grew 38% while the US prison population grew 16 times as fast (605%).
  • The number of prisoners has continued to increase despite a decline in crime (Henslin, 2006)
  • With 2.2 million inmates, America has more prisoners behind bars than any other country on earth. We now have 25 percent of the world's incarcerated, with just five percent of the population.(National Geographic, 2008)

National Geographic: Prison Nation

possible solutions
Possible Solutions
  • Governors, legislators and prison officials across the nation are considering policy changes that will likely remove tens of thousands of inmates from prison
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to eliminate parole for all offenders not convicted of violent or sex-related crimes, reducing the parole population by about 70,000.
  • He also wants to divert more petty criminals to county jails and grant early release to more inmates — steps that could trim the prison population by 15,000 over the next 18 months.
  • Michigan spends an average of $32,491 per year to house, feed and otherwise take care of a single inmate. That's four and a half times more than the state spends to educate a child.
  • What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with this solution?
a group two or more individuals who 1 interact 2 share goals and or norms 3 have an awareness of we
A group. Two or more individuals who:1. Interact2. Share goals and/or norms3. Have an awareness of “we”
levels of analysis
Levels of analysis:
  • Micro level: small scale, face to face interaction
  • Macro level: large scale analysis of institutions
Types of groups:George Simmel interested in the effects of size on groups. Found that the difference between 2-3 people in a group creates very different group dynamic
  • Dyad: group of exactly 2 people
  • Triad: group of exactly 3 people

(less stable than a dyad)

triadic segregation
Triadic Segregation:
  • Tendency in a group of 3 for 2 people to form a coalition
  • This transforms the group into a dyad and isolate because only 2 members of the group can interact at a time
  • The isolate often has power to choose which of the 2 others to form a coalition with
reference groups
Reference Groups
  • Groups that you don’t necessarily belong to but use a standard for evaluation your values, attitudes, and behaviors
  • Generalized role models: actors, athletes, models
  • Can have positive or negative effects: Model U.N., youth basketball teams, music groups
  • Reference groups influence self-evaluation, and therefore self-esteem

Pussycat Dolls“When I Grow Up”

in group vs out group us vs them
In group vs. Out groupUs vs. Them
  • W.I. Thomas
  • Attribution Theory: Whether we see someone is part of our in or out groups can distort our perceptions of their motives, capabilities, and actions
  • We tend to see people in our group in a positive light and those out of our groups in a negative light regardless of their personal characteristics
  • Attributions errors: wrong assumptions we make about a group (thinking all republicans are only concerned with money, thinking all white cops actions have racist motives)
  • Attributions errors often occurs across racial and gender lines
social networks
Social Networks
  • A set of links between individuals or institutions
power and influence of groups
Power and Influence of Groups
  • The groups in which we participate can exert tremendous influence on us
  • However, most of us believe that we can withstand group pressure and would not confirm
  • Psychologist Philip Zimbardo calls this not me syndrome: the response that people give saying “some people might conform in that situation, but not me”
  • Many psychological and sociological experiments have revealed that the majority of people do indeed conform
asch s conformity experiment
Asch’s conformity experiment
  • Soloman Asch showed that even obvious objective facts can not withstand influence and pressure of the desire to conform (1950 and 1955)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 of participants make a judgment contrary to what their senses tell them
  • Illustrates the power of peer pressure
  • View experiment
Stanley MilgramMilgram Obedience Studies(conducted 1960-1974)Experimenter used a series of responses to urge participants to continue in an experiment if the subject tried to quit:“Please continue”“The experiment requires that you continue”“It is absolutely essential that you continue”“You have no other choice, you must go on”Illustrates the power of authority figures
  • View study reenactment
power and influence of social groups
Power and influence of social groups
  • Millons of people who were Jewish, mentally or physically challenged, and suspected homosexuals or communists were murdered between 1939 and 1945 by the Nazi party
Power and influence of social groups

In the Spring of 2004 it was revealed that American soldiers who were military guards in Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib engaged in severe torture of prisoners of war

The torture included:

  • sexual abuse
  • forcing male prisoners to simulate sex with other male prisoners
  • positioning their mouths next to the genitals of other male prisoners
  • Other forms of sexual abuse and humiliation
  • Physical abuse and beatings that resulted in deaths of some prisoners
Power and influence of social groups

In both Nazi Germany in the 1940’s as well as Iraq in 2004 the soldiers responded similarly when asked why they engaged in these acts…

…they were only following orders

Power and influence of social groups

Stanford Prison Experiment

  • 1973, Haney, Banks, and Zimbardo experiment

simulating a prison environment

  • Stanford students were paid to be enter a dungeon-like basement and pretend to be guards and prisoners
  • After only 3 days the “guards”, on their own began to act sadistically and brutally towards the other students: having them strip, simulate sex, clean toilet bowls with their own hands
  • After 6 days the researchers had to terminate the study because the results were too scary
  • View experiment
  • What does this experiment illustrate?
social influence in groups
Social Influence in Groups

Group think: tendency for a members to reach a consensus at all costs

Risky shift: the tendency to engage in riskier behavior in a group then one would individually

Deindividuation: the feeling that one’s self has merged with the group. Results in decrease or loss of individual responsibility for an action

possible solutions1
Possible Solutions

Which of the following proposed solutions do you would be MOST or LEAST effective at reducing crime among youth and adults?

  • Youth programs (boys and girls clubs, after-school activities, high quality pre-school)
  • Community programs (neighborhood watch)
  • Legislative action (increase gun control)
  • Reducing poverty (better education, on the job-training)
  • Alternatives to prison (probation, psychological treatment, house arrest, group therapy)
  • Prison reform (increase occupational training programs)
  • Parental responsibility laws (making parents responsible for delinquent behavior of their children)
  • Better law enforcement (strictly enforced curfews or focus on combating street gangs)
  • Juvenile boot camps (scared straight approach)
  • Parenting Training (parenting classes, resources, counseling)
  • Decriminalization of some laws for adults (drug use, gambling, prostitution)
paper 1 due next week
Paper 1 due next week
  • All papers must be typed, double-spaced, size 12 font.
  • Proofread your work
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Include an introduction and conclusion
  • Your personal analysis is the most important part
  • Include a bibliography if you use sources outside of the class text
  • No cover page needed
  • Paper must be turned in at the beginning of class
  • Late assignments: Assignments that are turned in one day late will earn half possible points. Assignments will not be accepted any later.
  • Use the text book as wellResourcestab of class website
paper 1 due next week1
Paper 1 due next week
  • Choice A: Dramaturgy is a form of micro sociology. Use dramaturgy to analyze a situation that you are very familiar with such as interaction with your family, friends, classmates, significant other, or co-workers. Analyze impression management, role conflict, and role strain in one or more of these relationships.
  • Choice B: Literature Review. Choose a topic of interest and use the library to find a scholarly article (on the course website under resources) about the topic. Discuss the important components of the study including the author’s hypothesis, research methods, and findings. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the study.
  • Choice C: Agents of Socialization. Which of these agents of socialization do you feel has the strongest effect on a person’s beliefs and values: schooling, peers, family, religion, media? Why? Provide 3 detailed examples.