US Social Structures and Institutions place the symbol(picture) attached in the socio-historical/cultural context required to understand U.S. social struct

US Social Structures and Institutions place the symbol(picture) attached in the socio-historical/cultural context required to understand U.S. social structure and institutions–including the justice system (i.e., use critical thinking and your sociological imagination). Most of your response can be inferred from your notes thus far. However, some research may be required to give us complete back stories MODULE 1
U.S. Social Structure
The Sociological Imagination
“Race” as a Social Construct
Concepts of Crime, Law, and Criminology
The Nature and Extent of Crime
Victims and Victimization
▪ Social structure
▪ Society is organized into
▪ Institutions
▪ Social groups
▪ Statuses
▪ Roles
Social Institutions
& Roles
▪ Institution
▪ The five traditional
institutions are:
▪ Family
▪ Religion
▪ Politics
▪ Economics
▪ Education
▪ A social group is defined as two or more people
who have a common identity, interact, and form
a social relationship.
▪ Primary groups are characterized by intimate
and informal interaction.
▪ Secondary groups are task oriented and
characterized by impersonal and formal
▪ Statuses: A status is a position that a person
occupies within a social group.
▪ Statuses can be either ascribed or achieved.
▪ Ascribed Statuses: An ascribed status is one that
society assigns to an individual on the basis of
factors over which the individual has no control.
▪ Achieved Statuses: An achieved status is
assigned on the basis of some characteristic or
behavior over which the individual has some
▪ Roles: The set of rights, obligations, and
expectations associated with a status.
▪ Roles guide our behavior and allow us to
predict the behavior of others.
▪ Culture is defined as the meanings and ways of
life that characterize a society, including beliefs,
values, norms, sanctions, and symbols.
▪ Beliefs are definitions and explanations about
what is assumed to be true.
▪ Values are social agreements about what is
considered good and bad, right and wrong,
desirable and undesirable.
▪ Norms
▪ Socially defined rules of behavior. There are
three types of norms.
▪ Folkways – customs, habits, and manners of
▪ Laws – formal norms backed by authority.
▪ Mores (pronounced “more-rays”)- norms
with a moral basis.
▪ Sanctions
▪ Consequences for conforming
to or violating norms.
▪ Symbols
▪ Something that
represents something
▪ Language, gestures,
and objects whose
meaning is commonly
understood by the
members of a society.
▪ A term C. Wright Mills (1959) developed,
refers to the ability to see the connections
between our personal lives and the social
world in which we live
▪ When we use our sociological imagination,
we are able to distinguish between
“private troubles” and “public issues” and
to see connections between the events
and conditions of our lives and the social
and historical context in which we live.
▪ To have a sociological imagination, a
person must be able to pull away from the
situation and think from an alternative
point of view.
▪ The sociological imagination is stimulated
by a willingness to view the social world
from the perspective of others. It involves
moving away from thinking in terms of the
individual and their problems, focusing
rather on the social circumstances that
produce social problems.
an awareness of the relationship
between an individual and the
wider society
the ability to view our own society as
an outsider might, rather than from
the perspective of our limited
experiences and cultural biases
the ability to situate personal
troubles within an informed
framework of larger social
the understanding that social
outcomes are shaped by social
context, actors, and actions
Culture Clashes…
PBS has an excellent series, Race—The Power of an
Illusion, from which much of this info derives.
▪ RACE as a social concept:
▪ The idea that race is socially
created is one of the most
important lessons in
understanding race from a
sociological perspective.
▪ The social construction of race
means that the actual meaning
of race lies not in people’s
physical characteristics, but in
the historical treatment of
different groups and the
▪ People learn to perceive others
according to whatever racial
classification system exists in
their culture.
▪ RACE as a social concept:
▪ Incorporating both biological
and social meanings of race,
we define race as a category
of people who are perceived
to share distinct physical
characteristics that are
deemed socially significant.

Antislavery movement

New arguments for defending
the institution
• Physical differences and
“God-given” suitability for

Only slave system in the world
that became exclusively

Free blacks

“Race” was thus configured as
an autonomous new
mechanism of social
differentiation that
transcended the slave
condition and persisted as a
form of social identity long
after slavery ended.
Socially Constructed Reality: what we individually believe the world to be
1. The combined knowledge of personal experience and symbolic
reality mixes to construct our own “world”
2. Subjective reality differs between individuals or groups
3. Individuals with access to similar knowledge and who frequently
interact with one another tend to negotiate and construct similar
social realities
4. Result is a socially constructed subjective reality that directs social
People behave according to how they believe the world is
The media comprise an important element in
defining reality for most people
Crime and Criminology
▪ An academic discipline that uses the scientific
method to study the nature, extent, cause, and
control of criminal behavior
▪ An interdisciplinary field involving several academic
▪ Criminal Statistics/Crime Measurement
▪ Create valid and reliable measures of criminal
▪ Formulate techniques for collecting and
analyzing official measures of criminal activities
▪ Develop survey instruments to measure
unreported criminal activity
▪ Design methods that make it possible to
investigate the cause of crime
▪ Sociology of Law/Law and Society/Sociolegal Studies
▪ Investigate the role that social forces play in shaping
criminal law
▪ Investigate the role of criminal law in shaping society
▪ Investigate history of legal thought
▪ Suggest legal changes to benefit society
Should sex offenders be registered? Would you
advocate abandoning sex offender registration laws
because they are ineffective? Or might there be other
reasons to keep them active?
▪ Developing Theories of Crime Causation
▪ Psychological
▪ Biological
▪ Sociological
▪ Explaining Criminal Behavior
▪ Victim-precipitated homicide
▪ The victim is a direct, positive precipitator of
the incident
▪ White-collar crime
▪ Illegal acts that capitalize on a person’s status
in the marketplace
▪ Theft, embezzlement, fraud, market
manipulation, restraint of trade, false
▪ Penology: Punishment, Sanctions, and Corrections
▪ Penology: the correction and control of known
criminal offenders
▪ Rehabilitation
▪ Social control
▪ Mandatory sentences
▪ Capital punishment
▪ Victimology
▪ Victim surveys
▪ Victimization risk
▪ Victim culpability
▪ Services for crime victims
▪ Classical Criminology
▪ Theoretical perspective suggesting that people choose to commit crime
▪ Proposes that crime can be controlled if potential criminals fear punishment
▪ Positivist Criminology
▪ Application of the scientific method
▪ Objective
▪ Universal
▪ Culture-free
▪ Predicting and explaining social phenomena in a logical manner
▪ Empirical verification
▪ Value-free
Kevin Wayne Dunlap
RE: Kevin Wayne Dunlap (box 10)
Should Dunlap’s crime be excused on the basis of the
testimony Dr. Nicholas, who suggested that brain
abnormalities may be involved? Why is this an example
of positivist criminology?
▪ Sociological Criminology
▪ Anomie
▪ The Chicago School
▪ Individual’s socialization
▪ Conflict Criminology
▪ Conflict Theory
▪ Karl Marx
▪ Bourgeoisie
▪ Proletariat
▪ Human behavior is shaped by interpersonal conflict
▪ Crime is a product of human conflict
▪ Critical Criminology
▪ Crime is a product of capitalism
▪ Deviance includes a broad spectrum of behaviors, ranging
from the most socially harmful, such as rape and murder, to
the relatively inoffensive, such as joining a religious cult or
▪ A deviant act becomes a crime when it is deemed socially
harmful or dangerous; it then will be specifically defined,
prohibited, and punished under the criminal law
 Deviant acts are criminalized when they become crimes
 Deviant acts are decriminalized when penalties are reduced
 Sometimes previously deviant acts are legalized and no
longer considered crimes
▪ The Concept of Crime
The definition of crime affects how criminologists view the cause and control of
illegal behavior and shapes their research orientation.
Consensus view
• The law defines crime.
• Agreement exists on outlawed behavior.
• Laws apply to all citizens equally.
Conflict view
• The law is a tool of the ruling class.
• Crime is a politically defined concept.
• “Real crimes” such as racism, sexism, and classism are
not outlawed.
• The law is used to control the underclass.
Interactionist view
• Moral entrepreneurs define crime.
• Acts become crimes because society defines them that
• Criminal labels are life-transforming events.
▪ A Definition of Crime
▪ “Crime” is a violation of societal rules of behavior as
interpreted and expressed by the criminal law, which reflects
public opinion, traditional values, and the viewpoint of
people currently holding social and political power
▪ Individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by
state authority, social stigma, and loss of status
What are three behaviors that are deviant but
not criminal, and three behaviors that are
criminal but not deviant? How may behaviors
that you consider non-deviant be seen as deviant
by someone else?
▪ Code of Hammurabi
▪ Mosaic Code
▪ Common Law
▪ Precedent
▪ Mala in se
▪ Mala prohibitum
▪ Contemporary Criminal Law
▪ Felony
▪ Misdemeanor
▪ The Evolution of Criminal Law
Criminal justice refers to the study of the agencies of social
control—police, courts, and corrections
▪ The Criminal Justice System
▪ Consists of government agencies charged with enforcing
law, adjudicating crime, and correcting criminal behavior
▪ The Process of Justice
▪ Structured and legal process from initial contact, through
arrest, trial, and post-release
▪ What to Study
▪ Keep research be independent of outside interference
▪ Whom to Study
▪ Do not ignore middle-class white-collar crime, organized
crime, and government crime
▪ How to Study
▪ Fully inform research subjects and maintain
Milgram’s Obedience Study
Crime Group Selection
▪The willful, malicious burning of a
home, public building, vehicle, or
commercial building.
▪Occurs when someone who is trusted
with someone else’s personal property
fraudulently converts it—i.e., keeps it
for her/his own use of for the use of
▪Domestic (“American”) groups who
engage in premeditated, politically
motivated violence perpetrated
against noncombatant targets.
POLITICAL—Domestic Terrorism [full]
▪Illegal interference with the process of
an election.
POLITICAL—Election Fraud
▪An act of disloyalty to one’s nation-
▪Sexually explicit books, magazines,
films, and DVDs intended to provide
sexual titillation and excitement for
paying customers.
PUBLIC ORDER—Pornography
▪A patterned use of an illicit drug in
which the user consumes the
substance in amounts or with methods
which are harmful to her-/himself or
PUBLIC ORDER—Substance Abuse
▪A: Either attempted battery or
intentionally frightening the victim by
word or deed (physical touching not
▪B: Offensive touching .
▪M: The unlawful killing of a human
being with malice aforethought.
▪H: Either attempted battery or
intentionally frightening the victim by
word or deed (physical touching not
required) .
VIOLENT—Murder/Homicide [full]
▪A course of conduct that is directed at
a specific person and involves
repeated physical or visual proximity;
nonconsensual communication; or
verbal, written, or implied threats
sufficient to cause fear in a reasonable
VIOLENT—Stalking [full]
We interrupt our regularly
scheduled programming…
▪Violent act directed toward a
particular person or members of a
group merely because the targets
share a discernible racial, ethnic,
religious, or gender characteristic.
HATE CRIME (a.k.a., bias crime)
Jesse Smollet
Hate Crimes
The Nature and Extent of Crime
▪ Official Records: The Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
▪ Part I Crimes
▪ Part II Crimes
▪ Compiling the UCR
▪ Validity of the UCR
▪ National Incident-Based Reporting System
(NIBRS): The Future of the Uniform Crime Report
▪ Improvement over UCR
▪ 46 specific offenses
▪ 11 lesser offenses
▪ Incident, victim, and offender information
▪ 6,250 law enforcement agencies submit data
▪ Read the section of your text on UCR and NIBRS
▪ What are the shortcomings of the UCR?
▪ What advantages does NIBRS have compared to
the UCR?
▪ Survey Research
▪ People asked about attitudes, beliefs, values,
characteristics, and experiences with crime and
▪ Sampling
▪ Population
▪ The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
▪ An annual survey of victims
▪ Addresses the nonreporting issue
▪ Contains information regarding victims, offenders,
and crimes
▪ What is the validity of the NCVS?
▪ Self-Report Surveys
▪ Given in groups
▪ Anonymous
▪ Asks people to describe recent and lifetime
participation in criminal activity
▪ Validity of self-reports
▪ Honesty of self-reporting participants
▪ Monitoring the Future
▪ Consistency
▪ Longitudinal
TABLE 2.1 Monitoring the Future Survey of Criminal Activity of High School Seniors
Type of Delinquency
Committed at Least Once
Committed More than Once
Set fire on purpose
Damaged school property
Damaged work property
Auto theft
Break and enter
Theft, less than $50
Theft, more than $50
Gang or group fight
Hurt someone badly enough to require
medical care
Used force or a weapon to steal
Hit teacher or supervisor
Participated in serious fight
Auto part theft
Source: Data provided by Monitoring the Future, 2015 (Ann Arbor. MI: Institute for Social Research. 2017).
▪ Evaluating Crime Data
▪ Strengths
▪ Offender data
▪ Particular crimes that surveys cannot measure
▪ Unreported crime
▪ Information on personal characteristics of
▪ Self-report surveys
▪ Personal characteristics of offenders
▪ Evaluating Crime Data
▪ Weaknesses
▪ Does not include unreported crimes
▪ Subject to reporting caprices of police departments
▪ Estimates from limited samples of population
▪ Personal recollections
▪ Does not include homicide, drug abuse crimes
▪ Self-report surveys
▪ Relies on honesty of offenders
Concept Summary 2.1 Data Collection methods
Uniform Crime
• Data are collected from records from police departments across the nation, crimes reported to police, and
• Strengths of the UCR are that it measures homicides and arrests and is a consistent national sample.
• Weaknesses of the UCR are that it omits crimes not reported to police, omits most drug usage, and
contains reporting errors.
• NIBRS data are collected on every incident and arrest in 49 specified offenses. Facts about these crimes,
Including offense, victim, offender, property, and arrestee data, are gathered and reported.
• Strength of NIBRS is that it provides much more detailed information than the UCR.
• Weakness is that currently not all law enforcement agencies are engaged in the program.
National Crime
• Data are collected from a large national survey.
• Strengths of the NCVS are that it includes crimes not reported to the police, uses careful sampling
techniques, and is a yearly survey.
• Weaknesses of the NCVS are that it relies on victims’ memory and honesty and that it omits substance
• Data are collected from local surveys.
• Strengths of self-report surveys are that they include non-reported crimes, substance abuse, and
offenders’ personal information.
• Weaknesses of self-report surveys are that they rely on the honesty of offenders and omit offenders who
refuse or are unable, as a consequence of incarceration, to participate (and who therefore may be the
most delinquent and/or criminal).
▪ Look at Table 2.1 in your text and analyze the information in the
▪ Which types of delinquency are committed the most often?
▪ Which type of delinquency has the highest probability of having
been committed more than once?
▪ Which type of delinquency is committed the least often?
▪ Why do you think some types of delinquency are more likely to be
committed repeatedly?
▪ Contemporary Trends
▪ Crime rates are declining from the peak in 1991.
▪ Violent crimes and thefts have declined.
▪ Trends in Victimization
▪ Decrease in victimization across all age groups
▪ Significant decrease in serious violent crime
against youth ages 12 to 17
▪ Predicting Future Crime Trends
▪ Increase in numbers of elementary school-aged
children may lead to future increase in crime as
children reach teenage and young adult age.
▪ Rising number of senior citizens could lead to
lower crime rate.
▪ Age structure
▪ Immigration
▪ Economy/Jobs
▪ Abortion
▪ Gun availability
▪ Gang membership
▪ Drug use
▪ Internet
▪ Media
▪ Medical technology
▪ Aggressive law enforcement
▪ Incarceration
▪ Cultural change
▪ Internet
▪ Ecology of Crime
▪ Day, season, and climate
▪ Most reported crimes occur during summer
▪ Temperature
▪ Weather effects may have an impact on violent
crime rates.
▪ Regional differences
▪ Large urban areas have higher rates of violence.
▪ Co-Offending and Crime
▪ Tends to be a group activity
▪ More prevalent in neighborhoods that are less
disadvantaged, more stable, and contain more
people who can be trusted
▪ Gender and Crime
▪ Trait differences
▪ Socialization differences
▪ Cognitive differences
▪ Social/political differences
▪ Liberal feminist theory
▪ Race and Crime
▪ Institutional bias
▪ Racial profiling
▪ Racial threat hypothesis
▪ Structural racism
▪ Use of Firearms
▪ According to the NCVS, firearms are typically
involved in more than 280,000 nonfatal
victimizations each year.
▪ About 70% of murders involve a firearm
▪ On-going debate about gun control
▪ Social Class and Crime
▪ Instrumental crimes
▪ Expressive crimes
▪ Unemployment and Crime
▪ Weak association
▪ Young people earning money are more likely to
engage in antisocial behavior such as drinking
and drugs.
▪ Age and Crime
▪ Age is inversely related to crime.
▪ Aging out of crime
▪ Age and biology
▪ Neurotransmitters
▪ Gap between adult and teen official crime rates is
starting to even out
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