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Social disorganization theory

Developed by researchers at the University of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, social disorganization theory    asserts that crime is most likely to occur in communities with weak social ties and the absence of social control. An individual who grows up in a poor neighborhood with high rates of drug use, violence, teenage delinquency, and deprived parenting is more likely to become a criminal than an individual from a wealthy neighborhood with a good school system and families who are involved positively in the community.

A block of run-down, dirty rowhouses is shown.
Proponents of social disorganization theory believe that individuals who grow up in impoverished areas are more likely to participate in deviant or criminal behaviors. (Photo courtesy of Apollo 1758/Wikimedia Commons)

Social disorganization theory points to broad social factors as the cause of deviance. A person isn’t born a criminal but becomes one over time, often based on factors in his or her social environment. Research into social disorganization theory can greatly influence public policy. For instance, studies have found that children from disadvantaged communities who attend preschool programs that teach basic social skills are significantly less likely to engage in criminal activity.

Clifford shaw and henry mckay: cultural deviance theory

Cultural deviance theory suggests that conformity to the prevailing cultural norms of lower-class society causes crime. Researchers Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay (1942) studied crime patterns in Chicago in the early 1900s. They found that violence and crime were at their worst in the middle of the city and gradually decreased the farther someone traveled from the urban center toward the suburbs. Shaw and McKay noticed that this pattern matched the migration patterns of Chicago citizens. New immigrants, many of them poor and lacking knowledge of the English language, lived in neighborhoods inside the city. As the urban population expanded, wealthier people moved to the suburbs and left behind the less privileged.

Shaw and McKay concluded that socioeconomic status correlated to race and ethnicity resulted in a higher crime rate. The mix of cultures and values created a smaller society with different ideas of deviance, and those values and ideas were transferred from generation to generation.

The theory of Shaw and McKay has been further tested and expounded upon by Robert Sampson and Byron Groves (1989). They found that poverty, ethnic diversity, and family disruption in given localities had a strong positive correlation with social disorganization. They also determined that social disorganization was, in turn, associated with high rates of crime and delinquency—or deviance. Recent studies Sampson conducted with Lydia Bean (2006) revealed similar findings. High rates of poverty and single-parent homes correlated with high rates of juvenile violence.

Conflict theory

Conflict theory looks to social and economic factors as the causes of crime and deviance. Unlike functionalists, conflict theorists don’t see these factors as positive functions of society. They see them as evidence of inequality in the system. They also challenge social disorganization theory and control theory and argue that both ignore racial and socioeconomic issues and oversimplify social trends (Akers 1991). Conflict theorists also look for answers to the correlation of gender and race with wealth and crime.

Questions & Answers

someone kindly help me.. explain 15reasons why business people should study sociology
KURIA Reply
I need the answer
Tsegaye
because business directly concern with people life and so related with sociology
Syed
Sociology is study of society, from economy to symbols it's covers everything Even Goffman's "presentation of self ' is a concept that needs introspection . You don't dive in psyche of an individual but "we" as whole. To understand 'collective consciousness'
supriya
ociology is a youngest science and holds together all the important virtues of philosophy, psychology , anthropology and history. Framing theory , labelling theory are such example to exemplify you in your trait. Globalization and it's impact on both the developed and developing society's .
supriya
How can one gain from the study of sociology
Yussuf Reply
A broad knowledge about society
Mohamed
that's what my heart desire
Balasale
limit of anxiety disorder ?
AMAZING Reply
hi
Pintu
limit of anxiety disorder is a kind of madness that is presented in almost all the human beings...
Pintu
who is the founder of sociology
Ali Reply
Auguste Comte
Yuki
Socialogical prospective_imagination.
Zeina Reply
what is sociology
Rabecca Reply
is study os social interaction and the society
gift
What are the main element of the Strain Theory?
Renee Reply
Examine four factors that undermines the home's ability to socialize the child
Francis Reply
what is a unit of analysis
Gcobani Reply
A unit of analysis could be considered as the subject that you are focusing in a social study. That unit could be also many entities.
Pascal
what role does globalization play in modern slavery?
Kay Reply
Globalization play a great role in modern slavery. Why? because, globalization contributes people as rich to be more powerful and go to new areas in order to put people of these different a horizons to fall in a great slavery.
Pascal
roughly speaking, I think that globalization phenomenon had more inconveniences than advantages even if there are also advantages for people who knows how to take a part for. Globalization could show us a new state of slavery if it's not use appropriately.
Pascal
what are the characteristics of scientific methods?
Brandina Reply
its emirical, systematic
gift
can someone please help me? What is social statistics?
Moses Reply
As I know, I could describe social statistics as a science who use statistics. That science make a study by using quantitative and qualitative numbers. And also make interpretation of these quantitative and qualitative numbers in order to solve a problem and understand all about this.
Pascal
Difference and realtionship between sociology and economivs
Temjensangla Reply
Conclusion for difference and realtionship between sociology and economics
Temjensangla
What is economics
Temjensangla
In conclusion, I could said that sociology it's a study of man and his habits, behaviours and interactions between humans and the environment where he lives.
Pascal
sociology could embrace many domains of the human culture.
Pascal
In a second time, economics could be define as a study economics structures in order create wealth.
Pascal
Nowadays, sociology and economics are completely integrated and linked. Why? Because, sociology try to study economics structures in order to help firms... to develop and conquer markets by understanding attitudes, behaviours of the costumers.
Pascal
In regard on what I had said before. Sociology makes a study of economics and economics takes also advantages of sociology as a tool. economics depends more on sociology even if there are complementary.
Pascal
I just want to know the main sociopolitical and economic factors behind the emergency of sociology.
david
it took too long to understand the subject matter of sociology. So, how could you help on tgis
Mohamed
what is the origin and development of socialogy
Talha Reply
Explain how man harnessed of nature for his own use
Cali
How? I think that man realized that there is natural elements that he could dominate and that he could not. A this moment, man start a reflexion in order to take a full profit of nature by a meticulous study of these different elements. (1)
Pascal
(2) And now we could see that after this meticulous study of the nature man had also observe nature. Man harnessed of nature for example by creating air planes, houses, cars...
Pascal
As I was read, sociology comes from philosophy.
Pascal
sociological reference and examples of each section
Alex Reply
Discuss the following isolated case Anna Case,Isabelle case,Genie case
Alex

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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