Criminology Lecture Notes

Coming from problems in the culture and people try to

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Coming from problems in the culture and people try to deal with these problems . Rebellion . Rejects cultural goals of society and rejects institutionalized means to those goals . Rebels substitute new goals and new means for the old ones . Rebels create a new culture and create a new society . Any other cult is a form of rebellion – Ex. Political party . Emphasis on NORMAL – merton is saying that there is nothing wrong with criminals (biologically, psychologically, constitutionally) – they commit crimes because they are just trying to deal with society and circumstances – trying to adapt to bad situation – it’s society that’s messed up Lecture 2/6/2012
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. Messner and Rosenfeld . Institutional Anomie Theory . Compare crime rates in the US to other western industrial nations – compare US to other nations that have economies that are similar to the US (capitalist economies) . US murder rate is many times higher than every other nation – Finland is 2 nd but US is 3 times Finland’s . Overall, US murder rate is 6.5 times higher than the other 15 industrial nations . US robbery rate is 186.1 (2.5 times higher than the average of the other 15 nations) . WHY does the US have higher crime rates than other western industrial nations? . First explanation: cultural explanation . Tautology – circular reasoning (says same thing twice) . Ex. Reason why US has a lot of violent crime is because we have a violent culture. We have violent crime . Must get out of this tautological circle . Messner and Rosenfeld find that American culture is defined by the pursuit of the American Dream – think we are privileged for pursuing the American Dream . Messner and Rosenfeld’s American dream “The American Dream refers to a commitment to the goal of material success , to be pursued by everyone in society, under conditions of open individual competition.” . 4 dimensions to the American Dream . Achievement – Person’s value in American society is defined entirely by their success . Someone who has not achieved status is looked down upon as being useless – regarded as making no real contribution to society . Individualism . Everybody else in society is perceived as a rival – they’re competitors – many often feel that families are burdens preventing them from achieving individual success . Universalism . Assumes that everyone has a chance to pursue the American Dream – level playing field . The “Fetishism” of Money . Worshipping of money – worry about having enough money – money in American society is used to measure people of a person’s worth . Institutional Anomie and Crime (see diagram) . Economy – looms over and supersedes all other institutions (more important than education, polity, family, and religion . Capitalist economy in America had a head start because when colonized, they established a capitalist economy – had opportunity to grow and become dominant over all other institutions in society . 3 effects of a dominant capitalist economy on other social institutions: . Devaluation
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. Admire those who want to be a business person over teaching . Education is devaluated among students . People go to school just to get a job, not to learn .
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