Explaining Crime, Parts 1 & 2, Lecture Outline

Explaining Crime, Parts 1 & 2, Lecture Outline
Issues to consider for Group Discussion of Explanations for Crime, Part 1– All from Barkan chs. 5 & 6,
unless otherwise noted
Emphasis on the Individual (Barkan Ch. 5) –
Rational Choice Theory & Deterrence Theory
How is harsh punishment associated with this theory, & does it deter crime?
Biological Explanations – note key idea & overall evidence for each
Early explanations (head shapes, etc.)
Genetic Explanations -- Twins studies & adopted siblings study (how strong?)
Neurochemical factors : Hormones & Testosterone (how strong?)
Any ethical problems with Bio. Explanations?
Psychological Explanations -- Discuss a couple ideas from each & an example.
Psychoanalytic explanations (Freud)
-- Moral development & crime (Piaget)
Intelligence (IQ) (& problems with this explanation)
Personality & crime (esp. temperament)
Are most criminals psychologically abnormal or normal?
Emphasis on Social Structural (Barkan Ch. 6) –
Social Disorganization (& Social Ecology)
What is about the some places (as opposed to people) that produce crime? Less Social Institutions, Social
Bonds and Social Control? Role of Poverty?
Does Robert Taylor Chicago Housing Project suffer from Social Disorganization (Venkatesh, Ch,. 3)? Do
conditions in Johnson web rdg. fit this?
Anomie / Strain Theory
What causes strain (consider economic factors & non-economic [esp. for youth] factors)? How do
individuals respond to strain (5 ways)? How does that lead to crime? What sort of immediate goals do
adolescents have, and do they increase strain?
How does Strain Theory fit or not with Robt. Taylor Housing Project and activities of BK’s & residents?
(Venkatesh, ch. 3) Do conditions in Johnson web rdg. fit this?
Sub-Cultural Theories
How is Subculture related to Strain & Social Disorganization? What sort of sub-cultures among lower-class
youth lead to crime (what sort of values – are they unique to lower-class youth?)? What is role of
“Status frustration” & middle-class culture? Why do lower-class youth join delinquent subcultures?
What is the role of “differential opportunity”? Subculture of violence & Code of the streets?
Do Subcultural theories fit or not with Robt. Taylor Housing Project and activities of BK’s & residents?
(Venkatesh, ch. 3) Do conditions in Johnson web rdg. fit this?
Overview of Explanations/Theories:
Focus on Individual – Rational Choice & Deterrence Theories; Bio. Expalns., Psychological Explans., (BArkan, ch.
Focus on Social
Structural Theories (Macro View) – Social Disorganization theory & Strain/Anomie Theory (Barkan Ch. 6);
Subcultural Theories (Barkan, Ch. 6); Conflict & Radical Theories (Barkan Ch. 8), Some Feminist
theories (on Patriarchy & inequality & Masculinity)
Process/ Learning/Socialization theories (more Micro level) -- Learning Theories, sep. Differential Association
(Barkan Ch. 7) closely related to Subcultural theories; Control Theories esp. Social Bonding Theory (Barkan
Ch 7), Life Course theories (Barkan Ch 7); Labeling Theory (Barkan Ch. 8); some Feminist theories (on
gender socialization & masculinity) (Barkan Ch. 8)
More detailed Lecture (& some overlap with Group Discussion report-in):
Individual Focus:
Rational Choice Theory & Deterrence Theory (Ch. 5)
Psychological explanations --Psychoanalytic Freudian explanation – 3 parts of personality & link to crime,
Social Focus:
Social Disorganization (review from group discussion) –Ch. 6
Role of institutions & conditions in neighborhoods, Importance of place not people,
How Venkatesh ch. 3 fits and not fit with this theory… contradictory role of BK gang in
neighborhood, role (or lack of) of other institutions, vacuum filled by gang, etc.
[Dopes Johnson web rdg. fit here at all?]
Strain Theory (review from group discussion)—Ch. 6
Sources of strain between cultural Goals & legitimate institutionalized Means
5 Responses to strain (conformist, etc.)
Subcultural Theory – Ch. 6
Link to strain & Social Disorganization theories (context for development of deviant sub-culture). Lowerclass youth and lack of success in mainstream institutions, frustration, move toward alternative subculture
& crime (& alternative values conducive to crime), subculture of violence & Code of the Streets example.
Johnson web rdg. might fit here quite well…
Leaning Theories – esp. Differential Association Theory—Ch. 7
Link to Subcultural theory
Role of learning, from those you associate with… & what you learn (that is conducive to crime),
techniques, rationalizations, etc…
Social Bonding Theory – Ch. 7
Main Idea –what keeps people out of deviance and crime (role of mainstream institutions)
4 parts of theory (Attachment, etc…)
Labeling Theory (Ch. 8) – Societal reaction to deviance. Importance of labeling in Self-fulfilling prophesy.
Primary Deviance vs. Secondary Deviance.
The Double Standard in how deviance by some groups is labeled as crime and same activity by other
groups is not so labeled.
-- Missouri example of how to reduce secondary deviance among juveniles , putting labeling theory into
Also, be aware of :
Be aware that 1 long essay Q on Test 2 will be on Social Theories / Explanations (chs. 6-8)– you should know 3-4
main ideas from 3-4 different theories, and be able to figure out how Venkatesh ch. 3 and Johnson web rdg. fit or
not with each.
We did some of this in class, but not enough for exam; you have to do more on your own.
Feminist Theories (Ch. 8) – New attention to Rape & Domestic Violence. Role of Prior Victimization among female
offenders. Masculinity in crime & role of gender Socialization.
Conflict & Radical Theories (Barkan Ch. 8) – How law helps capitalism’s ruling class (private property, use of
vagrancy laws) Econ. Inequality & Poverty cause crime; Class inequality in criminal defense; how white
collar crime is treated (double standard)
How Venkatesh ch. 3 and Johnson web rdg. fit or not with each social theory / explanation.
Intelligence & Crime link & flaws in this explanation (Barkan Ch. 5)
Diet, Nutrition & Pregnancy & Birth complications explanations (Brakan Ch. 5)
Strain theory; Broader definitions of / sources of strain (revisions to strain theory), esp. among adolescents. (Barkan
Ch. 6)
Study TIP: See the Chapter summaries for decent, brief overview of all of the theories
noted above.
& See group discussion points
Related flashcards
Visual arts

14 Cards

Political systems

21 Cards

Cultural studies

21 Cards


20 Cards

Create flashcards