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Social structure theories

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Labeling theory. Social ecology theory. Social disorganization theory. William Isaac Thomas and Florian Znaniecki[edit] Thomas and Znaniecki (1918–1920) introduced the idea that a person's thinking processes and attitudes are constructed by the interaction between that person's situation and his or her behavior.

Social disorganization theory

Attitudes are not innate but stem from a process of acculturation. Any proposed action will have social importance to an individual both because it relates to the objective situation within which the subject has to act, and because it has been shaped by attitudes formed through a lifetime of social and cultural experiences. This is based on the "four wishes" of the Thomas theorem, viz., "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences".

These four wishes are the desire for new experiences, the desire for recognition, the desire for domination, and the desire for security. Robert Ezra Park and Ernest W. Strain theory (sociology) Structural: this refers to the processes at the societal level which filter down and affect how the individual perceives his or her needs, i.e. if particular social structures are inherently inadequate or there is inadequate regulation, this may change the individual's perceptions as to means and opportunities; orIndividual: this refers to the frictions and pains experienced by an individual as he or she looks for ways to satisfy his or her needs, i.e. if the goals of a society become significant to an individual, actually achieving them may become more important than the means adopted.

Strain theory (sociology)

Critique of Strain/Anomie theory Although Merton’s Strain theory continues to play a role in the sociological theorization of crime today, there are limitations to this theory of crime that have been identified. Robert Dubin (1959) viewed deviance as a function of society, disputing the assumption that the deviant adaptations to situations of anomie are necessarily harmful to society. O'Grady W. (2011). Anomie. For Durkheim, anomie arises more generally from a mismatch between personal or group standards and wider social standards, or from the lack of a social ethic, which produces moral deregulation and an absence of legitimate aspirations.


This is a nurtured condition: Most sociologists associate the term with Durkheim, who used the concept to speak of the ways in which an individual's actions are matched, or integrated, with a system of social norms and practices… anomie is a mismatch, not simply the absence of norms. Subcultural theory. Frederic M.

Subcultural theory

Thrasher[edit] Frederic M. Thrasher (1927: 46) studied gangs in a systematic way, analyzing gang activity and behavior. He defined gangs by the process they go through to form a group: E. Albert K. Albert K. Differential association. In criminology, Differential Association is a theory developed by Edwin Sutherland proposing that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motives for criminal behavior.

Differential association

Differential association predicts that an individual will choose the criminal path when the balance of definitions for law-breaking exceeds those for law-abiding. This tendency will be reinforced if social association provides active people in the person's life. Earlier in life the individual comes under the influence of those of high status within that group, the more likely the individual to follow in their footsteps. This does not deny that there may be practical motives for crime. Group cohesiveness. When discussing social groups, a group is said to be in a state of cohesion when its members possess bonds linking them to one another and to the group as a whole.

Group cohesiveness

Although cohesion is a multi-faceted process, it can be broken down into four main components: social relations, task relations, perceived unity, and emotions.[1] Members of strongly cohesive groups are more inclined to participate readily and to stay with the group.[2] Definition[edit] There are different ways to define group cohesion, depending on how researchers conceptualize this concept. However, most researchers define cohesion to be task commitment and interpersonal attraction to the group.[3][4] Rational choice theory (criminology) In criminology, the rational choice theory adopts a utilitarian belief that man is a reasoning actor who weighs means and ends, costs and benefits, and makes a rational choice.

Rational choice theory (criminology)

This method was designed by Cornish and Clarke to assist in thinking about situational crime prevention [1] It is assumed, that crime is purposive behavior designed to meet the offender’s commonplace needs for such things as money, status, sex and excitement, and that meeting these needs involves the making of (sometimes quite rudimentary) decisions and choices, constrained as these are by limits, ability, and the availability of relevant information [2] Rational choice is based on numerous assumptions, one of which is individualism [3] The offender sees themselves as an individual. The second is that individuals have to maximize their goals, and the third is that individuals are self-interested[4] Offenders are thinking about themselves and how to advance their personal goals. Neoliberalism. Classical liberalism. Market reduction approach. Described by Marcus Felson as "...a simple idea in an important article"[11] and as classic research,[12] Sutton's MRA has had a significant influence upon theory and practice regarding stolen goods markets and markets for other illicit commodities.

Market reduction approach

Influential criminologists have incorporated Sutton's work on stolen goods markets to explain the issue of offenders’ capacity to commit crimes.[13] The general MRA principles outlined by Sutton have influenced work beyond research into markets for theft of high volume consumer goods, since the MRA is described as underpinning recent research into illicit markets for cultural artefacts[14][15] and as a useful method for tackling the trade in endangered species.[16][17] Based on Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) "rational choice, opportunity reduction" principles, and employing philosophy from routine activity theory (RAT) the MRA is designed to reduce theft through reducing the demand for stolen goods that motivated thieves to steal. Routine activity theory. A graphical model of the Routine activity theory.

Routine activity theory

The theory stipulates three necessary conditions for most crime; a likely offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a capable guardian, coming together in time and space. Symbolic interactionism. Symbolic interactionism is a sociological perspective that is influential in many areas of the sociological discipline.

Symbolic interactionism

It is particularly important in microsociology and social psychology. Symbolic interactionism is derived from American pragmatism and particularly from the work of George Herbert Mead. Social control theory. Direct: by which punishment is threatened or applied for wrongful behavior, and compliance is rewarded by parents, family, and authority figures.Internal: by which a youth refrains from delinquency through the conscience or superego.Indirect: by identification with those who influence behavior, say because his or her delinquent act might cause pain and disappointment to parents and others with whom he or she has close relationships.Control through needs satisfaction, i.e. if all an individual's needs are met, there is no point in criminal activity. Discussion[edit] Albert J. Reiss[edit] The earliest form of the theory (or at least the earliest recorded (Nope Ross, 1901) was proposed by Reiss (1951: 196) who defined delinquency as, "...behavior consequent to the failure of personal and social controls.

" Jackson Toby[edit] F. Direct control = punishments and rewardsindirect control = affectionate identification with non-criminals; andinternal control = conscience or sense of guilt. Jack P. Techniques of neutralization. Techniques of neutralization ("neutralisation" in Commonwealth countries) are a theoretical series of methods by which those who commit illegitimate acts temporarily neutralize certain values within themselves which would normally prohibit them from carrying out such acts, such as morality, obligation to abide by the law, and so on.

In simpler terms, it is a psychological method for people to turn off 'inner protests' when they do, or are about to do something they themselves perceive as wrong. The theory[edit] The idea of such techniques was first postulated by David Matza (born May 1, 1930) and Gresham Sykes (born 1922) during their work on Edwin Sutherland’s Differential Association in the 1950s.

While Matza and Sykes were at the time working on juvenile delinquency, they theorised that the same techniques could be found throughout society and published their ideas in Delinquency and Drift 1964.[1] The techniques[edit] The theory was built up upon four observations: