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Ethical Issue in a Rape Case

By giggerman May 12, 2010 1210 Words
Chicago School
Agnita Henry 08050506
London Metropolitan University UK
In this essay the main focus would be surrounding the Chicago School, how it has made such a significant contribution to criminological theory and method, and in what ways has this been achieved. Some of the contributions to criminological theory and method came from the Chicago School. The work done by some of the most important sociologist, such as Robert Park and Ernest Burgess (1864-1944), looked into the developing communities around them, and within the surrounding area’s to understand within these communities the social factors which contributed to criminal behaviour. The research looked into criminal behaviour, and took into consideration the social factors such as neighbourhoods and would class them in to high class and low area of crime, and they found that in the low area of the neighbourhoods, there were higher crime levels. It is understood from the research undertaken from the Chicago school that has lead to a better understanding of criminal behaviour. This research gave the meaning that criminal behaviour has been learned through people’s social environment, and this negative effect could be changed by people changing their surroundings. Overall the sociologist from the Chicago school had a great influence on the background of criminal behaviour which deprived from individual backgrounds and where people grew up as being their social factors behind their criminal behaviour. Thus the research undertaken by the Chicago School was to look at not why individuals commit crime but the social and physical factors which influence criminal behaviour as well. It was also suggested that “growing up and living in such negative conditions, influence people’s lives”. (Burke, 2005:p116). Firstly it was suggested that crime was an ecological system where individual people would share, live and depend on one another, in the sense of how communities developed. Another factor taken into consideration was the fact the bigger cities had more immigrants moving into poorer areas, and replacing previous individuals who had lived there, and these social factors have had a big impact on individual’s criminal behaviour. The sociologist Ernest Burgess went on to develop an understanding for the social roots of crime by producing a model of the city in which was built upon the notion of that the city grows in concentric zones. The further away from the city centre the more criminality would happen, but when moved to other zones criminal behaviour was less likely. These zones and the disorganisation of these zone lead to “social disorganisation” (Burke, 2005:p117) and this resulted in high levels of criminal behaviour. Contributions to criminological process also had some input by sociologist Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay whose research looked into Juvenile delinquency and urban area’s to find some common ground between crime and the various zones, however much of this research was undertaken near the city centres, in which was found that within these area’s there was an acceptance of non-conventional norms. “Young people born and brought up in the socially disorganised zone of transition are particularly vulnerable to the temptations of crime... and are more likely to become the next generation of carriers of the area’s criminal tradition.”(Burke, 2005:p118) Shaw and McKay concluded from their research that overall from the disorganisation of the neighbourhoods, lead to individuals having more involvement in crime, and this in turn lead to a generation of career criminals. The American criminologist Edwin H Sutherland (1853-1950) research which put environmental focus on criminal behaviour has had made some contributions towards criminological theory in the sense that Sutherland’s “emphasis was more on the forces that define crime and the types of environment in which crime occurs most frequently”. (Maguire, 2007:p49) Sutherland’s research also looked at the criminal behaviour as being learned, and this learning experience comes from within the social group, and that criminal behaviour is learnt through these groups. “Sutherland made the critical statement that as a learned behaviour, criminal behaviour is no different in nature to any other learned behaviour.” (Maguire, 2007:P49) Overall the Chicago school theories made significant contributions to the study of criminology. The theories changed the way we think in the terms of that crime was not caused only by individual factors, but that crime can result from social factors. Robert Park and Ernest Burgess ecological theory, made a contribution as it demonstrated how these social factors can influence crime. The theory regarding the concentric zones showed where certain social groups lived, and where individuals living nearer the city were more likely to be poorer and individuals of wealth would live further away. This theory has contributed to criminology in the terms that it showed the divide for the social ecology, class and crime, which showed the impact social changes have on crime. Shaw and McKay made contributions to criminology by explaining how these social factors had an impact on criminal behaviour. In their social disorganisation theory, it demonstrated the link between social disorganisation and crime, which it also goes to show and explain why there has been an increase in delinquency within certain areas and within certain groups. It also looked at what happens if there is a breakdown of social control in society, and this is what is believed to have lead to disorganization. There have been some criticisms with this theory from Shaw and McKay disorganisation theory in the terms of that not all individuals who live within these social disorganized communities, engage in criminal activities, it also does not also explain why there are criminal activities still present within the low disorganized areas. The work undertaken by Edwin Sutherland made contributions to criminology, in his theory, that the causes of crime where related to learning and criminal norms. The theory went onto suggest that criminal behaviour is a learning process, and can be transferred through certain groups, which individuals shared the same attitudes. However Sutherland’s theory does not explain that not all individuals who are influenced by criminal or deviant, do not become deviant or criminals. This theory does not take into account the pressures individuals’ face, when society puts pressure on individuals to achieve their goals. On one final note the Chicago schools influence went even further in which Clifford Shaw went on to set up the ‘Chicago Area Project’ (CAP). This was set up to give residents the chance to fight back on crime, and to take care, and have pride in their communities. It also went about putting people into employment and back into education in an attempt to re-educate individuals that it was in their own best interest. It has been successful in that it has some effect in reducing crime rates amongst young individuals. References

Burke, R H (2005, 2009) Introduction to Criminology Theory: Cullompton:Willan Maguire, M et al (eds) (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 4th edition, Oxford: Oxford Uni Press. Bibliography

Burke, R. H. (2005,2009) Introduction to Criminological Theory, Cullompton:Willan Maguire, M et al (eds) (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 4th edition, Oxford: Oxford Uni Press. Newburn, T, (2005) Criminology, Willan Publishing

The British Journal of Criminology: (1976) Vol 16:No 1, Clifford R Shaw and Henry D McKay: Chicago Criminologists

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