Social Structure Theories

Theories of social structure avert that the main source of crime in the society is the presence of individuals who are disadvantaged economically. The theories continue point out that having individuals on the neighborhoods who are termed as being the 'low class' tends to create a strain, frustrations and a lot of ineptitude that results in crime.

There are a number of social structure theories. All have their own props and cons. One major social structure theories is the social disorganization theories. The major proponent of this theory is Henry McKay and Clifford R. Shaw. Both of them are from the Chicago school. According to this theory, having poverty ridden neighborhoods and ones that are deprived economically tend to have high turnover as pertains to population. Other than these they also have a high heterogeneity of population. As a result of the high population the informal structures fail which in turn makes maintaining of social order in that kind of community impossibility.

However, the theory has a number of pitfalls. (Baron, 2004). For example an intent look at the theory you realise that the strains might not be neccesarily coming from frustrations as a result of wanting to acquire the American Dream, but there are a number of other strains such as being homeless, when an individual is abused. This asserts to the fact that there is more than one factor that influences an individual go in to crime. An individual may be going through all these but not fall to the peer pressure and make ends meet bu using legally justifiable means. Means that are legal.

Another pitfall is the fact that there are a number of fact that are postulated by the theory but to a very large extent may be considerred as outdated. These may for example that today there are a numerous initiatives that are being undertake by communities to promote pride in their culture which to a very large extent are not being accounted for. They are also not taking in to account the many forces that are countering the situations that tend to inspire crime such as gangs and drug trafficking. The conditions that are stated the ones of neighbourhoods that are of low class can be said to be a little bit diverse.

The second social structure theories is the ssocial control theories. These theories tend to look for the factors that are making not to become criminals. Travis Hirschi who is the main proponent of this theory identified a number of charecteristcs. On being the attachment to others, the belief that people have on moral validity,the commitment to achieve and finally involvement in conventional activities. A person having more of these features tends to be less involved in crime. However if these charecteristsics are not available then chances are high that these person is bound to become criminal.

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One good example is an individual who has always dreamt of having a big yacht and unfortunately has no means of owning one. If that kind of individual is not able to impose self control on him/herself then the only means that he/she might view of getting the yacht is by getting it through illegal means. Whereas an individual capable of exercing self control may be ready to wait. Theorist such as Matza and Sykes argue that criminals have the capacity of exercising temporary neutralisation of internal moral and social behavoural constraints through neutralisation techniques.

There's the Rational choice theory. This theory is based on the utalitarian aspect. Its main proponents are the philosepers from the classical school of though such as Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham. They argued that if you give a punishment that was swift, a punishment that was certain and one that is proportianate to the crime. It ended up dettering crime and the risk that would be involved outweigh the benefits that would be involved to the offender. Beccaria (1764) advocated for the rational.

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This theory to a very large extent is very positive but has a number of pitfalls. These incude the fact that the punishement rendered may be the one that ends up making the individual want to venture more and more in to crime and thus not detterent to crime. In conclusion the social structure tends to point out that the main reasons for crime is the results of existence of individuals who may be socially disadvanatged. Crime is as a result of disorganaization and frustration as a result of poverty.

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