Street Corner Society

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Street Corner Society
Community is seen as “complex system of friendship and kinship networks, and formal and informal associations’ ties rooted in family and ongoing socialization process” (Class notes, Soci. 421.15, Sept 23rd/2010). This paper discusses how Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory applies to “Street Corner Society”, and through this theory a strong association between social ties and crime rates will be examined. Essentially disorganization is seen as is the absence of social ties, which therefore leads to crime. “Street Corner Society” by William Foote Whyte looks at social ties that the corner boys of “Cornerville” share, even though social inequality is the main cause of failure in this community, social ties prevents large scale crime from occurring. I would say that the characterization of lower class neighbourhoods as being disorganized is false. While from an outsider’s view, things may appear chaotic and disordered, upon close inspection there is a finely designed composition among the groups involved in the area. Individuals find themselves grouping together with others who have related ambitions and desires; in Street Corner Society, this is seen as the “corner boys” and “college boys”. Corner boys grew up, not in schools, but with each other on the street corners. Doc was the general leader of the corner boys. College boys on the other hand grew up and moved into the college life. The college boys had aspirations that needed refining; while the corner boys were seen as simple rednecks. Moving into the second part of the book, the racketeers and those involved in politics were a grown up version of the two groups. Tony played Doc’s role in the racketeering groups known as the Cornerville S&A Club, while Mike, Dom and Carlos struggled with leadership positions. In politics candidates played a very careful game involving the corner boys because they were essential to their campaigns. However corner boys examined closely...
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