THEORY RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT - Social disorganization...

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Social disorganization theory, social capital theory and collective efficacy theory all possess varied reasons for increased neighborhood crime rates. However, Pattillo-McCoy’s ethnographic analysis indicates that Groveland is not merely a community in social disorganization or a lacking in social capital. Instead, Sampson’s collective efficacy hypothesis indicates that Groveland increased crime rate is a combination of high levels of social disorganization, low levels of social capital and the resulting low levels of collective efficacy. To provide context, I will begin by classifying the level of crime present within Groveland. I will then define each individual theory, their corresponding characteristics and describe how they theoretically affect overall crime rates. Finally, I will provide evidence from Pattillo-McCoy’s Groveland analysis strengthening or weakening each hypothesis. Contrasting differing characteristics provides support for Sampson’s collective efficacy hypothesis. Groveland is best described as a high crime neighborhood evidenced by high instances of serious delinquency within the community. Pattillo-McCoy describes how she, “heard many stories and read obituaries of the teenagers who were killed” during her research study (Pattillo- McCoy 1999: 5). She describes how multiple persons in Groveland were serving time in prison for murder and how these criminal “events were jarring and all to frequent” (Pattillo-McCoy 1999: 5). In addition, she portrays Groveland as a neighborhood wrought with gang activity, drug dealing and the frequency of “drug houses described as drug salons” (Pattillo-McCoy 1999: 86). This pervasive gang related culture is articulated in the control of the Groveland Park Field House by the black mobsters (Pattillo-McCoy 1999: 82). Social disorganization theory is defined as the “inability of a community structure to realize the common values of its residents and to maintain effective social controls” (Morenoff, Sampson and Raudenbush 2008: 217). The hypothesis contends that crime within communities
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with high social disorganization is a result of a loss of informal social control measures. Communities with adequate social control measures are more able to condemn delinquency and promote collective goals through social order. In contrast, communities in social disorganization are unable to enforce collective values and combat crime. Thus crime is dependent on the ability of the neighborhood to form a cohesive, uniform structure. Failure of this cohesive authority results in increased criminal delinquency (Morenoff, Sampson and Raudenbush 2008: 217). Social disorganization theory is characterized by the presence of weak/unlinked institutions, high crime rates, high neighborhood population losses, high proportions of renters or transitional housing, lower income levels, physical deterioration of the community and high percentages of ethnic minorities. These factors result in decreased socioeconomic community
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2008 for the course SOC 371 taught by Professor Matsueda during the Spring '08 term at University of Washington.

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THEORY RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT - Social disorganization...

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