US Social Structures and Institutions

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place the symbol(picture) attached in the socio-historical/cultural context required to understand U.S. social structure and institutions--including the justice system (i.e., use critical thinking and your sociological imagination). Most of your response can be inferred from your notes thus far. However, some research may be required to give us complete back stories

US Social Structures and Institutions

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MODULE 1 U.S. Social Structure The Sociological Imagination “Race” as a Social Construct Concepts of Crime, Law, and Criminology The Nature and Extent of Crime Victims and Victimization ▪ Social structure ▪ Society is organized into ▪ Institutions ▪ Social groups ▪ Statuses ▪ Roles Social Institutions Social Groups Statuses & Roles ▪ Institution Family ▪ The five traditional institutions are: ▪ Family ▪ Religion ▪ Politics ▪ Economics ▪ Education Religion Education Traditional Social Institutions Economics Politics ▪ A social group is defined as two or more people who have a common identity, interact, and form a social relationship. ▪ Primary groups are characterized by intimate and informal interaction. ▪ Secondary groups are task oriented and characterized by impersonal and formal interaction. ▪ Statuses: A status is a position that a person occupies within a social group. ▪ Statuses can be either ascribed or achieved. ▪ Ascribed Statuses: An ascribed status is one that society assigns to an individual on the basis of factors over which the individual has no control. ▪ Achieved Statuses: An achieved status is assigned on the basis of some characteristic or behavior over which the individual has some control. ▪ Roles: The set of rights, obligations, and expectations associated with a status. ▪ Roles guide our behavior and allow us to predict the behavior of others. ▪ Culture is defined as the meanings and ways of life that characterize a society, including beliefs, values, norms, sanctions, and symbols. ▪ Beliefs are definitions and explanations about what is assumed to be true. ▪ Values are social agreements about what is considered good and bad, right and wrong, desirable and undesirable. ▪ Norms ▪ Socially defined rules of behavior. There are three types of norms. ▪ Folkways – customs, habits, and manners of society. ▪ Laws - formal norms backed by authority. ▪ Mores (pronounced “more-rays”)- norms with a moral basis. ▪ Sanctions ▪ Consequences for conforming to or violating norms. ▪ Symbols ▪ Something that represents something else. ▪ Language, gestures, and objects whose meaning is commonly understood by the members of a society. ▪ A term C. Wright Mills (1959) developed, refers to the ability to see the connections between our personal lives and the social world in which we live ▪ When we use our sociological imagination, SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION we are able to distinguish between “private troubles” and “public issues” and to see connections between the events and conditions of our lives and the social and historical context in which we live. ▪ To have a sociological imagination, a person must be able to pull away from the situation and think from an alternative point of view. ▪ The sociological imagination is stimulated by a willingness to view the social world from the perspective of others. It involves moving away from thinking in terms of the individual and their problems, focusing rather on the social circumstances that produce social problems. an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society the ability to view our own society as an outsider might, rather than from the perspective of our limited experiences and cultural biases the ability to situate personal troubles within an informed framework of larger social processes. the understanding that social outcomes are shaped by social context, actors, and actions SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION Culture Clashes… ACE PBS has an excellent series, Race—The Power of an Illusion, from which much of this info derives. THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF RACE ▪ RACE as a social concept: ▪ The idea that race is socially created is one of the most important lessons in understanding race from a sociological perspective. ▪ The social construction of race means that the actual meaning of race lies not in people’s physical characteristics, but in the historical treatment of different groups and the significance. ▪ People learn to perceive others according to whatever racial classification system exists in their culture. ▪ RACE as a social concept: ▪ Incorporating both biological THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF RACE and social meanings of race, we define race as a category of people who are perceived to share distinct physical characteristics that are deemed socially significant. PERPETUATION OF A NOTION • Antislavery movement • New arguments for defending the institution • Physical differences and “God-given” suitability for slavery. • Only slave system in the world that became exclusively "racial.” • Free blacks • “Race" was thus configured as an autonomous new mechanism of social differentiation that transcended the slave condition and persisted as a form of social identity long after slavery ended. Socially Constructed Reality: what we individually believe the world to be 1. The combined knowledge of personal experience and symbolic reality mixes to construct our own “world” 2. Subjective reality differs between individuals or groups 3. Individuals with access to similar knowledge and who frequently interact with one another tend to negotiate and construct similar social realities 4. Result is a socially constructed subjective reality that directs social behavior People behave according to how they believe the world is The media comprise an important element in defining reality for most people Crime and Criminology THE FIELD OF CRIMINOLOGY ▪ An academic discipline that uses the scientific method to study the nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behavior ▪ An interdisciplinary field involving several academic disciplines ▪ Criminal Statistics/Crime Measurement ▪ Create valid and reliable measures of criminal behavior: ▪ Formulate techniques for collecting and analyzing official measures of criminal activities ▪ Develop survey instruments to measure unreported criminal activity ▪ Design methods that make it possible to investigate the cause of crime ▪ Sociology of Law/Law and Society/Sociolegal Studies ▪ Investigate the role that social forces play in shaping criminal law ▪ Investigate the role of criminal law in shaping society ▪ Investigate history of legal thought ▪ Suggest legal changes to benefit society Should sex offenders be registered? Would you advocate abandoning sex offender registration laws because they are ineffective? Or might there be other reasons to keep them active? ▪ Developing Theories of Crime Causation ▪ Psychological ▪ Biological ▪ Sociological ▪ Explaining Criminal Behavior ▪ Victim-precipitated homicide ▪ The victim is a direct, positive precipitator of the incident ▪ White-collar crime ▪ Illegal acts that capitalize on a person’s status in the marketplace ▪ Theft, embezzlement, fraud, market manipulation, restraint of trade, false advertising ▪ Penology: Punishment, Sanctions, and Corrections ▪ Penology: the correction and control of known criminal offenders ▪ Rehabilitation ▪ Social control ▪ Mandatory sentences ▪ Capital punishment ▪ Victimology ▪ Victim surveys ▪ Victimization risk ▪ Victim culpability ▪ Services for crime victims ▪ Classical Criminology ▪ Theoretical perspective suggesting that people choose to commit crime ▪ Proposes that crime can be controlled if potential criminals fear punishment ▪ Positivist Criminology ▪ Application of the scientific method ▪ Objective ▪ Universal ▪ Culture-free ▪ Predicting and explaining social phenomena in a logical manner ▪ Empirical verification ▪ Value-free Kevin Wayne Dunlap RE: Kevin Wayne Dunlap (box 10) Should Dunlap’s crime be excused on the basis of the testimony Dr. Nicholas, who suggested that brain abnormalities may be involved? Why is this an example of positivist criminology? ▪ Sociological Criminology ▪ Anomie ▪ The Chicago School ▪ Individual’s socialization ▪ Conflict Criminology ▪ Conflict Theory ▪ Karl Marx ▪ Bourgeoisie ▪ Proletariat ▪ Human behavior is shaped by interpersonal conflict ▪ Crime is a product of human conflict ▪ Critical Criminology ▪ Crime is a product of capitalism ▪ Deviance includes a broad spectrum of behaviors, ranging from the most socially harmful, such as rape and murder, to the relatively inoffensive, such as joining a religious cult or cross-dressing ▪ A deviant act becomes a crime when it is deemed socially harmful or dangerous; it then will be specifically defined, prohibited, and punished under the criminal law  Deviant acts are criminalized when they become crimes  Deviant acts are decriminalized when penalties are reduced  Sometimes previously deviant acts are legalized and no longer considered crimes DEVIANT OR CRIMINAL? HOW CRIMINOLOGISTS DEFINE CRIME ▪ The Concept of Crime The definition of crime affects how criminologists view the cause and control of illegal behavior and shapes their research orientation. Consensus view • The law defines crime. • Agreement exists on outlawed behavior. • Laws apply to all citizens equally. Conflict view • The law is a tool of the ruling class. • Crime is a politically defined concept. • "Real crimes" such as racism, sexism, and classism are not outlawed. • The law is used to control the underclass. Interactionist view • Moral entrepreneurs define crime. • Acts become crimes because society defines them that way. • Criminal labels are life-transforming events. ▪ A Definition of Crime ▪ “Crime” is a violation of societal rules of behavior as interpreted and expressed by the criminal law, which reflects public opinion, traditional values, and the viewpoint of people currently holding social and political power ▪ Individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by state authority, social stigma, and loss of status What are three behaviors that are deviant but not criminal, and three behaviors that are criminal but not deviant? How may behaviors that you consider non-deviant be seen as deviant by someone else? ▪ Code of Hammurabi ▪ Mosaic Code ▪ Common Law ▪ Precedent ▪ Mala in se ▪ Mala prohibitum ▪ Contemporary Criminal Law ▪ Felony ▪ Misdemeanor ▪ The Evolution of Criminal Law Criminal justice refers to the study of the agencies of social control—police, courts, and corrections ▪ The Criminal Justice System ▪ Consists of government agencies charged with enforcing law, adjudicating crime, and correcting criminal behavior ▪ The Process of Justice ▪ Structured and legal process from initial contact, through arrest, trial, and post-release ▪ What to Study ▪ Keep research be independent of outside interference ▪ Whom to Study ▪ Do not ignore middle-class white-collar crime, organized crime, and government crime ▪ How to Study ▪ Fully inform research subjects and maintain confidentiality Milgram’s Obedience Study Crime Group Selection ▪The willful, malicious burning of a home, public building, vehicle, or commercial building. ECONOMIC—Arson ▪Occurs when someone who is trusted with someone else’s personal property fraudulently converts it—i.e., keeps it for her/his own use of for the use of others. ECONOMIC—Embezzlement ▪Domestic (“American”) groups who engage in premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets. POLITICAL—Domestic Terrorism [full] ▪Illegal interference with the process of an election. POLITICAL—Election Fraud ▪An act of disloyalty to one’s nation- state. POLITICAL—Treason ▪Sexually explicit books, magazines, films, and DVDs intended to provide sexual titillation and excitement for paying customers. PUBLIC ORDER—Pornography ▪A patterned use of an illicit drug in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to her-/himself or others. PUBLIC ORDER—Substance Abuse ▪A: Either attempted battery or intentionally frightening the victim by word or deed (physical touching not required). ▪B: Offensive touching . VIOLENT—Assault/Battery ▪M: The unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. ▪H: Either attempted battery or intentionally frightening the victim by word or deed (physical touching not required) . VIOLENT—Murder/Homicide [full] ▪A course of conduct that is directed at a specific person and involves repeated physical or visual proximity; nonconsensual communication; or verbal, written, or implied threats sufficient to cause fear in a reasonable person. VIOLENT—Stalking [full] We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming… ▪Violent act directed toward a particular person or members of a group merely because the targets share a discernible racial, ethnic, religious, or gender characteristic. HATE CRIME (a.k.a., bias crime) Jesse Smollet Hate Crimes The Nature and Extent of Crime ▪ Official Records: The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) ▪ Part I Crimes ▪ Part II Crimes ▪ Compiling the UCR ▪ Validity of the UCR ▪ National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS): The Future of the Uniform Crime Report ▪ Improvement over UCR ▪ 46 specific offenses ▪ 11 lesser offenses ▪ Incident, victim, and offender information ▪ 6,250 law enforcement agencies submit data FOR CONSIDERATION… ▪ Read the section of your text on UCR and NIBRS ▪ What are the shortcomings of the UCR? ▪ What advantages does NIBRS have compared to the UCR? ▪ Survey Research ▪ People asked about attitudes, beliefs, values, characteristics, and experiences with crime and victimization ▪ Sampling ▪ Population ▪ The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) ▪ An annual survey of victims ▪ Addresses the nonreporting issue ▪ Contains information regarding victims, offenders, and crimes ▪ What is the validity of the NCVS? ▪ Self-Report Surveys ▪ Given in groups ▪ Anonymous ▪ Asks people to describe recent and lifetime participation in criminal activity ▪ Validity of self-reports ▪ Honesty of self-reporting participants ▪ Monitoring the Future ▪ Consistency ▪ Longitudinal PRIMARY SOURCES OF CRIME DATA TABLE 2.1 Monitoring the Future Survey of Criminal Activity of High School Seniors Type of Delinquency Committed at Least Once Committed More than Once Set fire on purpose 1% 2% Damaged school property 4% 4% Damaged work property 1% 2% Auto theft 2% 2% 2% 2% Break and enter 8% 12% Theft, less than $50 12% 9% Theft, more than $50 3% 4% Shoplift 10% 12% Gang or group fight 7% 7% Hurt someone badly enough to require medical care 6% 5% Used force or a weapon to steal 1% 2% Hit teacher or supervisor 1% 2% Participated in serious fight 6% 5% Auto part theft Source: Data provided by Monitoring the Future, 2015 (Ann Arbor. MI: Institute for Social Research. 2017). ▪ Evaluating Crime Data ▪ Strengths ▪ UCR ▪ Offender data ▪ Particular crimes that surveys cannot measure ▪ NCVS ▪ Unreported crime ▪ Information on personal characteristics of victims ▪ Self-report surveys ▪ Personal characteristics of offenders ▪ Evaluating Crime Data ▪ Weaknesses ▪ UCR ▪ Does not include unreported crimes ▪ Subject to reporting caprices of police departments ▪ NCVS ▪ Estimates from limited samples of population ▪ Personal recollections ▪ Does not include homicide, drug abuse crimes ▪ Self-report surveys ▪ Relies on honesty of offenders PRIMARY SOURCES OF CRIME DATA Concept Summary 2.1 Data Collection methods Uniform Crime Report • Data are collected from records from police departments across the nation, crimes reported to police, and arrests. • Strengths of the UCR are that it measures homicides and arrests and is a consistent national sample. • Weaknesses of the UCR are that it omits crimes not reported to police, omits most drug usage, and contains reporting errors. National Incident-Based Reporting System • NIBRS data are collected on every incident and arrest in 49 specified offenses. Facts about these crimes, Including offense, victim, offender, property, and arrestee data, are gathered and reported. • Strength of NIBRS is that it provides much more detailed information than the UCR. • Weakness is that currently not all law enforcement agencies are engaged in the program. National Crime Victimization Survey • Data are collected from a large national survey. • Strengths of the NCVS are that it includes crimes not reported to the police, uses careful sampling techniques, and is a yearly survey. • Weaknesses of the NCVS are that it relies on victims' memory and honesty and that it omits substance abuse. Self-Report Surveys • Data are collected from local surveys. • Strengths of self-report surveys are that they include non-reported crimes, substance abuse, and offenders' personal information. • Weaknesses of self-report surveys are that they rely on the honesty of offenders and omit offenders who refuse or are unable, as a consequence of incarceration, to participate (and who therefore may be the most delinquent and/or criminal). FOR CONSIDERATION… ▪ Look at Table 2.1 in your text and analyze the information in the table ▪ Which types of delinquency are committed the most often? ▪ Which type of delinquency has the highest probability of having been committed more than once? ▪ Which type of delinquency is committed the least often? ▪ Why do you think some types of delinquency are more likely to be committed repeatedly? ▪ Contemporary Trends ▪ Crime rates are declining from the peak in 1991. ▪ Violent crimes and thefts have declined. ▪ Trends in Victimization ▪ Decrease in victimization across all age groups ▪ Significant decrease in serious violent crime against youth ages 12 to 17 ▪ Predicting Future Crime Trends ▪ Increase in numbers of elementary school-aged children may lead to future increase in crime as children reach teenage and young adult age. ▪ Rising number of senior citizens could lead to lower crime rate. ▪ Age structure ▪ Immigration ▪ Economy/Jobs ▪ Abortion ▪ Gun availability ▪ Gang membership ▪ Drug use ▪ Internet ▪ Media ▪ Medical technology ▪ Aggressive law enforcement ▪ Incarceration ▪ Cultural change ▪ Internet ▪ Ecology of Crime ▪ Day, season, and climate ▪ Most reported crimes occur during summer months. ▪ Temperature ▪ Weather effects may have an impact on violent crime rates. ▪ Regional differences ▪ Large urban areas have higher rates of violence. ▪ Co-Offending and Crime ▪ Tends to be a group activity ▪ More prevalent in neighborhoods that are less disadvantaged, more stable, and contain more people who can be trusted ▪ Gender and Crime ▪ Trait differences ▪ Socialization differences ▪ Cognitive differences ▪ Social/political differences ▪ Liberal feminist theory ▪ Race and Crime ▪ Institutional bias ▪ Racial profiling ▪ Racial threat hypothesis ▪ Structural racism ▪ Use of Firearms ▪ According to the NCVS, firearms are typically involved in more than 280,000 nonfatal victimizations each year. ▪ About 70% of murders involve a firearm ▪ On-going debate about gun control ▪ Social Class and Crime ▪ Instrumental crimes ▪ Expressive crimes ▪ Unemployment and Crime ▪ Weak association ▪ Young people earning money are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior such as drinking and drugs. ▪ Age and Crime ▪ Age is inversely related to crime. ▪ Aging out of crime ▪ Age and biology ▪ Neurotransmitters ▪ Gap between adult and teen official crime rates is starting to even out FO ...
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U.S. Social Structures and Institutions
One of the biggest problems in the United States that began even before independence is
issues of racism and social inequality. Racism and social injustice or unequal treatment of people
have caused a lot of deaths and enmity in United Stets for many years. There has been a huge
change in racial discrimination in term of health access, human rights, access to public services,
and equality in the justice system among many other issues. However, Americans are still very
sensitive when it comes to issues of social structures and institutions especially when it deals
with racial discriminations. For example, the picture of Mitch McConnell in Ralph Northam
medical school yearbook standing in front of a Confederate flag taken in the 1990s has brought
McConnell a lot of problems with the United States citizens. The picture relates to the traditional
institution of informal negative politics and social construction of race. The reason is that the
photo emerged in social media after McConnell who the Senate Majority Leader is saying racist
comments and it has a symbol of the Confederate flag which according to the justice system is a
bias crime. It falls under the social-historical context of the civil war era which led to massive
résistance by the African Americans thus causing major changes in U.S. social structures and
institutions, especially the justice system.
The Confederate flag was used by the Southern States during the civil war and is believed
to celebrate racism. The Southern States were against the abolishment of slaves and did
everything possible to make sure that even after the end of slavery the African Americans had
limited rights li...

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