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Al Capone Presentation

Al Capone and deviance:
What makes Al Capone deviant?
Reseach Paper Question:
What makes Al Capone deviant?
Gangsterism, in general, was originally sensationalized to
provide the American public in the economic climate of
the Great Depression an entertaining escape from the
harsh realities of everyday experiences.
Al Capone, also known as Scarface, was one of the
gansters of the Chicago mafia during the Prohibition era.
He captured the public imagination, and was admired by
many individuals due to his actions. However, his actions
included illegal activites that led him to be stigmatized as
Deviance and Al Capone
Even though the mobster type of gangster such as Capone was violent, he
successfully managed to bootleg* alcohol with great success, which led much of the
people of America (in 1930s) to embrace him.
He was evaluated positively, meaning that social reactions towards him were mostly
In 1930s, many gangsters, including Al Capone, were worshipped and admired by
many individuals, yet most people would say that these gangsters were deviants.
HOWEVER, just because the majority of a given group regards a behavior (or
condition) as ‘unacceptable’ does not automatically make that behavior (or condition)
* bootlegging: illegal alcohol trade
Why did I choose this topic?
Deviance is an interesting topic to work on.
This topic provides me with certain perspectives about gangsterism, especially Al Capone.
Gangsterism, in general, can directly be associated with our course theme: Deviance.
Gangsterism can be analyzed within the frame of both deviance admiration and negative deviance.
Thesis Statement
Al Capone, as a gangster of 1930s, can be
considered deviant for several reasons. He
revolted against social norms, he used illegal
means which range from bootlegging to
extortion to become stronger for his own good,
and he promoted violence during his reign.
Basic plan of my research paper
Introduction (Al Capone’s background) + Thesis Statement
First of all, I would like to explain what the gangsterism is, how it
evolved in America (where Al Capone lived), its’ correlation with
deviance, and impacts on the society.
Secondly, I would like to introduce how Al Capone was influenced
by other gangsters, including Johnny Torrio, his involvement in
gangs, and his illegal activities that are associated with deviance.
Lastly, I would like to answer such questions in order to analyze
him, and of course his deviance-related actions:
 How did people of 1930s perceive Al Capone and his actions?
 What is the relationship between his actions and deviant
behavior? Were his actions, as a gangster, completely
 What would have been his actions that eliminate the risk of
being labeled as deviant by the society?
Heckert & Heckert
Conflict Theory
Shades of
Virgil W.
Peterson, V. W. (1963). Chicago: Shades of
Capone. The ANNALS of the American
→ Academy of Political and Social Science,
347(1), 30–39.
It mainly talks about the Development of Capone Organization.
It is a promising source for me to analyze his impacts on various areas, and
how he invaded the field of finance, food business, automobile sales, and
the coin-machine industry. While analyzing his impacts on different areas, I
can link his actions with deviant behaviors.
It is a reliable source as it was written by Virgil Peterson, who is the
Operating Director of the Chicago Crime Commission.
The Gangster in
Our Midst: Al
Capone in South
Stephen C.
Bousquet, S. (1998). The Gangster in Our
Midst: Al Capone in South Florida, 1930→
1947. The Florida Historical
Quarterly, 76(3), 297-309. Retrieved from
This source gives historical background about Al Capone. Moreover,
some of the incidents in Al Capone’s life are provided. This source also
compares the modern gangs with the gangs of the Capone era. Thus, it
is a useful source that might help me to give current examples in order
to compare and demonstrate the deviance level of Al Capone (by relying
on his life).
This source is written by Steve Bousquet.
He is a reporter, which makes this publication reliable by relying on his
Al Capone and the
Calder, J.D. (1992). Al Capone and the
Internal Revenue Service: State-sanctioned
Internal Revenue
criminology of organized crime
Service: State→
Reterieved from
criminology of
organized crime
James D. Calder
This is an excellent article demonstating public’s opinion regarding Al Capone’s life
from the government’s perspective. However, in this source, it is highlighted that a
well-documented history of Capone's conflict with the federal government has not
been written. Interestingly, such a history could not be written until all the documents
related to Capone’s records have been gathered and reviewed.
Dr. Calder has been a faculty member at UTSA since 1979, teaching and publishing first
as a member of the Department of Criminal Justice until 2006. His studies on criminal
activities provide accuracy.
The Rise and Fall of
→ a Bad Generation
Marc Mappen
Mappen, M. (2013). Prohibition
gangsters: The rise and fall of a
bad generation. New Brunswick,
N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Based on government files and FBI files, this book provides a narrative of almost all the
activities of 1920s, the Depression of the 1930s, and beyond.
In this book, there are two specific parts that mainly talk about how the Prohibition
generation, Al Capone and others, transformed organized crime from loosely
associated gangs of the pre-Prohibition era into sophisticated, complex ones.
It is a quite understandable book written by Marc Mappen. Dr. Marc Mappen has been
described by the New York Times as ‘the eminent New Jersey historian’, he has seven
books to his credit, including the award-winning Encyclopedia of New Jersey.
Problems that I anticipate
Which order should I follow?
Definition of gangsterism and its evolvement,
following Al Capone’s background
Al Capone’s background and definition of
gangsterism and its evolvement
Which theories should I use?
1. Heckert & Heckert (a new typology of
deviance: integrating normative and
reactivist definitions of deviance)
2. Conflict Theory (by Marx and Weber)