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CRCJ 2100 Wk3
Transcript of CRCJ 2100 Wk3
Social learning and control theories
Social learning theory key features
1. Differential association
3. differential reinforcement
Social Learning Research
.> gang membership
Quantitative research and social learning
- break -
1. Differential association
Akers and Jensen: “Definitions favourable or unfavourable to crime and deviance refer to one's own general and specific definitions of the situation, attitudes, meanings, rationalizations,
definitions of the situation, view certain behaviour as right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, justified or unjustified.” (58)
.> through socialization, we define 'goods' and 'bads'
Two distinct ways deviance is studied and explained:
.> criminal subcultures
.> “neutralizing definitions”; particularly w/ consensual crimes
Establishment of public urban police in Canada
.> police forces begin to professionalize in urban areas as early as the beginning of the 19th century.
.> police forces pre-existed but were not permanently staffed. Had powers/authorities; but only w/ full staffage are they considered to be public bodies.
.> Toronto is largely recognized as having the first, full-time, public, civilian police force w/ 6 officers, established in 1835.
.> later you have Quebec City, Montreal, Halifax.
3. differential reinforcement
.> grounded in behaviour models known as classical and operant conditioning; forms of social learning models developed in psychology
.> the balance of anticipated, perceived, or actual rewards (positive, pleasurable, desirable consequences) and punishments (aversive, unpleasant, undesirable consequences) of behavior over time and in given situations.
.> focused on
. Broad spectrum of material and immaterial factors: money, respect, notoriety, sex, success, etc. vs criminalization, physical pain, lack of status, alienation, embarrassment etc.
.> reinforcement is largely social but can have non-social elements
.> studies emphasize how sociality and social engagements animate how we rationalize or become motivated to do things. We are actors that respond to these social factors.
.> accounts for agency, but limited agency
.> observational and vicarious learning.
.> affected by the desirable or undesirable characteristic of the models, the behavior observed, and the observed consequences (vicarious differential reinforcement) of the modeled behavior.
.> greater focus on acquisition, rather than cessation
.> more mixed empirical results
5. American policing style and technologies.
“Three technological innovations in the 20th century radically altered the delivery of policing services: the telephone, the patrol car, and the two-way radio.” (46)
re: patrol cars
“An ongoing question is whether police services have come to rely too heavily on technology to the exclusion of the human dimension of police work” (46)
.> heavily accelerated by data terminals
Social learning and 'countervailing mechanisms'
.> we learn contradictory things
.> means that learning is not deterministic, we can also unlearn, or balance various learned norms/ideals
The RCMP and Political Dissent: The Historical Record
Political policing raises “concerns about the neutrality of the police.” (Pg 7)
“On a number of occasions in the early 1900s, the federal government used the Mounted Police to quell labour unrest and to counter what it perceived as the growing influence of left-wing activists.” (Pg 40)
“Throughout the 20th century, the RCMP carried out extensive surveillance of politicians, university students, and faculty, and maintained confidential files on hundreds of thousands of Canadians.”
.> ProFunc / dirty tricks campaign and McDonald Inquiry
Covert surveillance on university campuses began during the First World War and continued into the late 1990s.”
Policing Morality and the 'fruit machine'
.> 'vice' and morality squads
Griffiths: “This was one of the first instances in modem times that the Canadian government used the notion of"national security" to effectively wage war on its own citizens, in this instance gays and lesbians, and where national security reflected an ideological practice. There are clear parallels between these events and those in the early 21st century wherein the requirements of "national security" have resulted in increasing surveillance of citizens and their activities.” (42)
the fruit machine...
The attempt to devise a machine or a battery of psychological tests that could scientifically detect homosexuals was part of the growing obsession with identifying queers as a national security threat.
.> Frank Robert Wake, the Carleton University psychologist
.> It was directed at finding a scientific way of testing involuntary responses that "demonstrated" sexual orientation.
.> The fruit machine project,.which involved psychiatrists, psychologists, the RCMP, the DND, and the Department of National Health and Welfare for a period of four years, never did work, and the Defence Research Board eventually cut its funding in 1967.
.> policing attached to notions of citizenship, belonging, and good character
[[[[[ BREAK ]]]]]
Contemporary Policing Environment
Griffiths: "Policing as an occupation is often characterized by considerable role ambiguity." (Pg 3)
.> community workers, social workers, psychologists - very high demands on officers
.> also needed for the grittyist work. They do the things we don't want to do. Often requiring the use of force.
.> while also being placed under constant scrutiny.
Defining policing and police work
Griffiths: "the activities of any individual or organization acting legally on behalf of public or private organizations or persons to maintain security or social control" (Pg 4).
.> policing is broad, includes forms of legal regulation.
.> includes private entities.
Definition of public police
Egon Bittner (1970) on public police: ability to legally impose non-negotiated solutions backed by the use of force.
.> public police no longer have a monopoly on policing, though they do have a monopoly on the use of force (with a few exceptions).
APPLYING SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY TO THE MACRO LEVEL
.> the “micro-macro link”
.> Akers & Sutherland
.> social learning explains individual processes, but also cultural processes
Akers ( 1998) Social Structure and Social Learning
.> Social Structure Social Learning Model
“cognitive/behavioural processes and variables specified in social learning theory substantially mediate the main effects of macro- or meso-level structural factors related to crime rates.” (63)
.> mediation of structural effects by social learning processes.
The main dimensions of social structure were identified in the SSSL model as:
(1) differential social organization (society, community, culture); (2) differential location in the social structure (age, gender, class, race, and other); (3) theoretically defined structural variables; (4) differential social location in groups (primary, secondary, and reference groups)
Griffiths: "The police mandate is at its heart contradictory: the police are expected to protect both public order and individual rights. There are natural tensions between the power and authority of the police and their legal mandate to maintain order, on the one hand, and the values and processes that exist in a democratic society, on the other.
This tension is inevitable and, generally, irreconcilable
." (Pg 8).
Case study: Carding (aka street check) practices
Police: carding is a legal, voluntary tool that helps officers with investigations and crime control
Civil rights advocates: carding qualifies as an arbitrary search (S.8). It should not be considered 'voluntary'. It disproportionately targets non-white men.
Desmond Cole on street checks in Toronto:
“Untold thousands of innocent people have their names and info put a carding database. Even though carding documents non-criminal interactions, the info police collect sometimes shows up on a criminal background checks for a job or school placement. It can literally ruin someone’s future. People who exercise their legal right not to talk to police, like Mutaz Elmardy, or the four black boys detained by police on Neptune Dr., have been beaten up by police. Black residents, who get carded far more than anyone else, are stigmatized, and once you’re in the system the police can justify carding you repeatedly.”
.> discussion groups next week
.> no update on books, yet
.> nxt wk readings x2
Except from The Stickup Kids
CH 6: Control Theories
By Ray Paternoster and Ronet Bachman
Strain theory (week 6) asks:
"If human beings are adequately socialized and under normal circumstances they will comply with norms and laws, why do they sometimes commit crimes?"
.> assumes its normal to conform to rules, not engage in violence; rule breaking needs/can be explained by ‘strains’ (e.g pressures, stresses, triggers)
Control theories, on the other hand, begin with a very different assumption of
.> individuals are self-interested; and pro-social socialization is always partial to self-interests
.> deviance or rule breaking is not problematic and needs no explanation.
.> Question is not ‘why do people do crimes’, but ‘why don’t people do crimes? Or ‘Why do people follow rules’?
1. Control theory at the neighborhood or community level (a control theory of crime rates)
Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay,
Social ecologists like Shaw and Mackey were influenced by Darwinian notions of competition and ‘survivalist’ self-interests.
.> culture and social norms produce control by restraining natural drives and competition over scarce resources.
.> “invasions” of neighbourhoods weakens controls (family, school, associations, established businesses); often brings in new people (different cultural norms), and social ills (drugs, illness, organized crime).
.> weakened controls also means more freedom, which also invites more crime
2. Control theory at the individual level (a control theory of individual offending)
Individual-level control theory borrows from social disorganization tenets, but is focussed on explaining specific mechanisms of individual control that respond to structural disorganization.
“Where mobility is the greatest, and where in consequence primary controls break down completely, as in the zone of deterioration in the modem city, there develop areas of demoralization, of promiscuity, and of vice.”
(Burgess, 1967: 59)
Travis Hirschi (1969) Causes of Delinquency
Social Bond Theory
.> "delinquent acts result when an individual's bond to society is weak or broken" (Hirschi, 1969: 16).
Vs. Learning and Strain theories
.> strain and cultural deviance theories could not easily account for periods when delinquent acts were not being committed (what happened to the motivation?).
.> strain and cultural deviance theories could not easily account for aging-out
A General Theory of Crime (Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990).
Paternoster and Bachman: “Their general theory was not only a theory of crime and delinquency, but a theoretical explanation of criminal offending at all ages, in all places, as well as an explanation of non-criminal acts that were thought to share important conceptual ground with crime and delinquency (smoking, drinking, accidents, obesity, gambling).” (126)
is a relatively time-stable trait of persons that consists of the inability to resist immediate gratification and avoid the long-term costs of one's behavior
.> high emphasis on agency: self-control is something that has to be created. Relatively stable over time.
.> focus on family, school
Social learning & control
Ontario Court of Appeal defined racial profiling as involving "the targeting of individual members of a particular racial group, on the basis of the supposed criminal propensity of the entire group."
Two police practices that are associated with racial profiling are
occurs when the police focus disproportionately
on a racialized population or neighbourhood, while
is wherein "the ostensibly detain or investigate an individual for one reason when, in reality, there is a secondary purpose or ulterior reason to the interaction."
.> Most police services have operational policies that explicitly prohibit racial profiling by their officers.
Akers, Ronald and Gary Jensen, “Chapter 3: Social Learning Theory: Process and Structure in Criminal and Deviant Behaviour.” Pgs 40-55.
Peternoster, Ray and Ronet Bachman, “Chapter 6: Control Theories.”Pgs 114-138.
Kelling, G. & Wilson, J.Q. 1982. “Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety.” The Atlantic Magazine.
From last week
.> biological and individual difference theories
.> focused on individuals; high degree of agency and/or individualization of theory
.> heavily influenced by natural sciences and psychology
.> strong reliance on offender/non-offender binaries
.> most theories view the distribution of crime as limited
.> calculated probabilities; probabilistic outlook
.> more reliant on quantitative methods
.> this week: social learning & control
Ch3: Social learning Theory: Process and Structure in Criminal and Deviant Behavior
By Ronald Akers and Gary Jensen
Social learning theory offers a general social psychological explanation of individual variations in criminal and deviant behavior.
.> provides social, cognitive, and behavioural analysis in probabilistic terms
.> the theory focuses on four major explanatory concepts that depict central features of that process relevant to criminal or conforming behavior.
1. Differential association
3. differential reinforcement
.> first developed by Edwin Sutherland
.> a theory of socialization, learning
.> Four modalities of learning: intensity, frequency, priority, duration.
Akers and Jensen: “These associations have a normative or cultural dimension in the sense that they mutually expose one to the values, beliefs, and attitudes of others and an interactional or behavioral dimension, with effects beyond or in addition to the normative dimension, in the sense that they provide behavioral models and a context in which certain behavior is differentially encouraged or discouraged.” (57)
.> society has a plurality of norms / normative influences
.> we learn our values/norms through exposure/learning and differentiating 'good' and 'bad' feelings, associations, actions.
.> we are shaped by strong social forces. Limited agency.
Probability of deviance increases when:
Differential association w/ intimate influences
definitional and normative acceptance
perception of rewards outweighing punishments
.> note that imitation plays into all three factors
.> can be used single or in combination
Social Learning Research
Has been applied to a wide range of criminal and deviant behaviours:
.> violence by or against juveniles
.> sibling violence
.> drug use
.> attacks on abortion clinic property and personnel (Silverman)
Islamic and other radical terrorist violence (Akers and Silverman, 2004; Akins eta/., 2006)
.> The effects of peer and friendship groups on delinquency as predicted by the theory's principle of differential association have been studied most frequently.
.> "No characteristic of individuals known to criminologists is a better predictor of criminal behaviour than the number of delinquent friends an individual has .... Few, if any, empirical regularities in criminology have been documented as often or over as long a period as the association between delinquency and delinquent friends. (Warr, 2002: 40)
Research on gang membership
.> Jensen (2004) and the use of survey data
.> examines rates of offences (self-reported) to measurements of social systems
.> survey data are used to assess variations by region, size of community, or among socio-demographic categories (e.g., gender, race, class, single-parent households, levels of education, marital status), the focus is on variation in central tendencies among differentiated categories of respondents.
Social learning re-cap
"Although much work need's to be done to make the theoretical transitions from one level to the other, there is an underlying shared logic."
.> learning is social; shaped by dominant and intimate social relations
.> crime is 'learned'. It is not genetic or biological. Not comfortable with a theory of 'human nature'; we exist in plural, dynamic societies.
.> The evidence is accumulating that the theory works well at the individual, meso, and macro levels.
.> works with qualitative and quantitative research
.> rich history, starting w/ Thrasher (1927) of gang socialization
.> Sudhir Venkatesh, Gang Leader for a Day (2008)
.> gang membership fosters a range of normative goals; masculinity, friendship, money, respect; includes definitions favourable to violence
.> Lee (2016) peer groups can also be counter-veilling forces of socialization; ethnography of underground hip-hop culture in LA.
Strain vs control: “strain theorists would contend that there are differences across persons in criminal motivation, while control theorists would argue that there are differences in restraint, or controls.”
two basic assumptions of control theory (pg 115):
(1) human beings are imperfectly socialized and are motivated by self-interest, and (2) self-interest must be restrained by a source of control than is external to the individual.
.> Variation across individuals in their vulnerability to rule breaking, control theorists would contend, can be explained by variation in the strength of these internal/external and direct/indirect
1. Control theory at the neighborhood level
2. Control theory at the individual level
.> Ricky Atkinson
.> Dirty tricks gang
Social Organization / Disorganization
Shaw and Mackey: theorized that cities change and grow; when growth happens settle spaces become unsettled, and often those that ‘can’t keep up’ are forced into more precarious areas. In Chicago, they called this the “zone of transition”. Zones that collect less upwardly mobile populations were labelled under the term “social disorganization”.
.> most neighbourhoods change (transition) into more organized neighborhoods. Often dependent on economics, strength of community ties, social controls.
.> key assumption: “organization” implies the successful adoption of social control norms.
.> some neighbourhoods remain “disorganized”.
.> key assumption: “disorganization” implies the unsuccessful adoption of social control norms.
Broken Windows Theory
“Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety”
.> published in popular press, 1982, The Atlantic.
.> analysis of foot patrol programs in NJ. Police beats informal social control; enforcement of informal rules between ‘regulars’ (business people) and ‘strangers’ (e.g. poor people).
.> based on Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford psychologist, reported in 1969 on some experiments testing the broken-window theory.
.> palo alto vs bronx
Kelling and Wilson “... at the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing.”
.> Contemporary neighbourhood control theory: Broken Windows
Informal controls and behavioural inducements
.> “We suggest that 'untended' behavior also leads to the breakdown of community controls.”
.> “At this point it is not inevitable that serious crime will flourish or violent attacks on strangers will occur. But many residents will think that crime, especially violent crime, is on the rise, and they will modify their behavior accordingly.”
.> “Such an area is vulnerable to criminal invasion. Though it is not inevitable, it is more likely that here, rather than in places where people are confident they can regulate public behavior by informal controls, drugs will change hands, prostitutes will solicit, and cars will be stripped. That the drunks will be robbed by boys who do it as a lark, and the prostitutes' customers will be robbed by men who do it purposefully and perhaps violently. That muggings will occur.”
“This wish to "decriminalize" disreputable behavior that "harms no one"- and thus remove the ultimate sanction the police can employ to maintain neighborhood order—is, we think, a mistake. Arresting a single drunk or a single vagrant who has harmed no identifiable person seems unjust, and in a sense it is. But failing to do anything about a score of drunks or a hundred vagrants may destroy an entire community.”
.> strong law enforcement needed, even towards petty crimes, in order to avoid crisis.
“Just as physicians now recognize the importance of fostering health rather than simply treating illness, so the police—and the rest of us—ought to recognize the importance of maintaining, intact, communities without broken windows.”
.> legacy of situational crime prevention; crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED); aim of 'designing' out crime
Gentrification and broken windows
Examples of individual control theory
.> individual control theory developed by Albert
(1951) as a “failure of restraint”: “Delinquency may be defined as the behavior consequent to the failure of personal and social controls to produce behavior in conformity with the norms of the social system to which
legal penalties are attached.”
.> early emphasis on family & community institutions
.> saw delinquent peer groups as consequences of poor individual controls; morally weak people naturally select each other as peers; “social selection”.
( 1957) “Stakes in conformity”
.> variance in offending cannot be explained b/c of motivations; “impulses to steal and murder and rape are universal”. Variance can only be explained by the extent to which people have something to lose.
.> vs. social disorganization: “... the social disorganization approach can explain why community 'A' has a higher crime rate than community 'B' but not why Joe becomes a hoodlum and Jim does not.” (Toby 1957).
Paternoster and Bachman (pg 122): “Reiss and Toby break control theory away from its macro origins in the social disorganization perspective of the Chicago urban sociologists and begin to develop a theory at the level of the individual.”
Scott Briar and Irving Piliavin (1965)
.> strong argument against “motivational theories”
.> “commitment to conformity”
.> suggests that there is no difference between offenders and non-offenders; we all want to engage in illicit activity
.> our “commitment” to conformity is variable, changing over time (temporal) and situational. We change our beliefs, motives, personalities, and “commitments to conformity”
.> Hirschi rejects any theories that begin w/ the assumption off moral communion. For Hirschi: why should we assume that people are moral animals?
“Control theories assume that delinquent acts result when an individual’s tie to society is weak or broken.”
Hirschi: Social bond theory
Four elements of social bonds:
1. Attachment: The ties of affection and respect to significant others in one’s life, and more generally a sensitivity to the opinions of others
2. Commitment: The investment of time and energy to activities such as school and various conventional means and goals. A "
rational component in conformity";
has a ‘common sense’ calculus, relatable to the ego.
3. Involvement: The patterns of living that shape immediate and long-term opportunities; for example, the idea that keeping busy doing conventional things will reduce the exposure of young people to illegal opportunities.
4. Belief: The degree to which young people agree with the rightness of legal rules, which are seen to reflect a general moral consensus in society.
Hirschi: “Unlike the cultural deviance theory, the control theory assumes the existence of
a common value system
within the society or group whose norms are being violated. If the deviant is committed to a value system different from that of conventional society, there is, within the context of the theory, nothing to explain. The question is: "Why does a man violate the rules in which he believes?" It is not, "Why do men differ in their beliefs about what constitutes good and desirable conduct?" (1969: 23).
.> variations over time are a result of bonding, not age or learned norms. Hirschi: Accounts for age-decline variation as bonds build over time and accounts for offenders that ‘start’ crime later in life.
.> Major distinction w/ social bonds on the issue of aging-out. General Theory suggested that aging-out is invariable, happens as part of nature progressions of life.
.> in some ways, Hirschi moves out of social control as a structure-agent dynamic and into individualized traits (maintaining elements of the assumptions of social bonds) but his analysis is about individuals.
.> 1990 just claims that everyone goes down equally. Bad self-control still leads to criminality, just less in parallel with ppl that have self-control.
Emphasis on community and environmental forces
Crime is an outgrowth of an individuals interactions with social and cultural forces
Unlike many of the Wk2 theories, SLT and control theories see crime as being a dynamic part of complex urban society. Much more sociological.
More qualitative approach. Less reliant on mathematical probabilities but qualitative probabilities.
Less clear distinction between criminals/non-criminals.
Focus on pro-social factors is largely the same: emphasis on social institutions, social welfare systems, family supports, education, neighbourhood and civil society organisations, religious organizations.
Social learning & control
Social learning focussed on norms of motives and pro-crime norms
vs Control focussed on constraints
Social learning sees a society of competing, plural, diverse normative systems (e.g. a society of societies).
vs. Control sees a homogenous "society" with a master set of values.
Social learning places more emphasis on the power of structure
vs Control theories tend to place more agency on the individual.
Social learning tends to emphasize a much larger role for social welfare and community supports as a mechanism for reducing crime
vs social control tends to emphasize enforcement combined with community supports as a mechanism for reducing crime
Social learning has a liberal orientation towards society; assumes ppl want to improve, integrate, be social, have progressive values
.> also assumes that people have to be socialized into crime; are not naturally inclined to engage in rule breaking
vs Control theory has a conservative orientation towards society; everyone wants to commit crime. People are naturally inclined towards self-interested violence.
Week 4 (Oct 1) Social disorganization, subcultures, violence
Hallsworth, Simon and Tara Young, “Chapter 4: Street Collectives and Group Delinquency: Social Disorganization, Subcultures, and Beyond.” In The Sage Handbook of Criminological Theory. Pgs 72-95.
Contreras, Randol. 2013. “Drug robbery torture.” In The Stickup Kids: Race, drugs, violence, and the American dream. Univ of California Press. Pgs 151- 175.
.> Crime was neither randomly nor uniformly distributed throughout the city of Chicago
.> Crime rates relatively stable over time
.> Crime and delinquency rates were consistent
regardless of the ethnic composition
.> Rates diminished in relation to distance
from high-crime spaces
.> Neighborhoods characterized by high crime
and delinquency also had high rates of a
host of other social problems
1. Neighbourhood level control;
2. Individual level control
Development of theories (Reiss; Toby; Briar and Piliavin)
General Theory of Crime
Social learning and Control
Similarities & differences