Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Social disorganization theory - pt. 2

Just a run down of the citations for my own benefit. There are 12 in total:

Burgess (1925) -- Presents the concentric circles idea, wherein crime is the result of expansion and located in areas close to industry will have the highest crime. These areas are characterized by high rates of mobility, which makes it impossible to establish and/or enforce norms, which results in crime.

Thomas and Znaniecki (1927) -- Study of polish peasants. Generational value dissonance results in socially disorganized communities because there is no longer an agreement on norms and values and a decrease in social solidarity among the older generation due in part to the rise in situations/conflicts which the old rules/norms did not forsee. These happen simultaneously in many instances.

Shaw and McKay (1942) -- The authors test Burgess' (1925) concept of concentric circles. They find high rates of crime in areas characterized by economic disadvantage, residential mobility, and ethnic heterogeneity. They also argue that the lack of social institutions in these neighborhoods helps to perpetuate the problems in the neighborhood.

Stark (1987) -- Revisits propositions of social disorganization theory, reconceptualizes the field into five concepts that address four areas: These concepts are (1) population density, (2) poverty, (3) mixed use neighborhoods, (4) transcience, and (5) dilapidation. His areas of interest are how these concepts impact: (1) moral cyncism among residents, (2) increased opportunities for crime and deviance, (3) increased motivation to deviate, and (4) diminished social control. Stark offers 30 propositions of this revised theory of ecology that he feels can explain both how crime rates remain high in spite of population turnover as well as group differences (race, gender, region) in crime.

Bursik (1988) -- Bursik discusses 5 major criticisms of social disorganization theory: (1) aggregate data do not explain individual behavior, (2) cross sectional data assumes stability, (3) the theory assumes closed social networks, (4) official data may be biased, and (5) the theory assumes consensus of norms is achievable and fails to explain other types of crime (i.e., white collar). Argues that individual data should be integrated with aggregate data and that victimization surveys should be used as well as official data.

Sampson and Groves (1994) -- Test Shaw and McKay's (1942) conceptualization of social disorganization theory and extend it to include friendship networks, unsupervised teen peer groups, and low organizational participation as variables that may potentially mediate the relationship between low SES, ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility, family disruption and urbanization on crime. They do mediate this relationship. With some measurement caveats, the authors note the power of Shaw and McKay's original work because the present study is conducted on a British sample.

Morenoff and Sampson (1997) -- Neighborhoods with a high level of crime lost both black and white population over time. Changes in the levels of homicide, homicide diffusion, and economic disadvantage was associated with a decrease in white population but an increase in black population. Authors suggest that this is due to blacks inability to escape spatial proximity to violence.

Sampson, Raudenbush and Earls (1997) -- Collective efficacy mediates the relationship between concentrated disadvantage & residential instability and violence.

Sampson and Raudenbush (1999) -- Collective efficacy explains lower crime rates and observed disorder. It also accounts for lower rates of violence once the reciprocal effects of violence are controlled for. It also shows that the broken windows hypothesis is spurious; the authors find no link between public disorder and crime with the exception of robbery.

Kubrin and Weitzer (2003) -- Suggest social disorganization theory is flawed because it acts as if neighborhoods exist in a bubble; argue for the inclusion of culture (that is, do these neighborhoods embrace oppositional culture? Or have they become moral cynics?), the role of formal social control, and the impact of the greater urban political economy (i.e., what happens outside of the neighborhood politically, socially, and economically can have an impact on the actions in the neighborhood).

Griffiths and Chavez (2004) -- Examine spatial and temporal changes in neighborhood violence, with a focus on gun violence. By using this approach, the authors identify a type of neighborhood characterized by mid-range levels of violence that serve as a buffer between the small percentage of neighborhoods that were characterized by high levels of violence and those communities with low levels of violence. There are no instances where a high-level area borders a low-level area. The authors also identify what they call a "weapon substitution" effect, whereby increases in gun homicides are associated in a decrease of other types of violence, and a "defense diffusion" effect, where gun violence in mid-range and low-level communities increases as residents in those areas purchase guns for defensive purposes (likely to defend themselves from those residents in neighboring mid-range or high-level violence areas).

Mears and Bhati (2006) -- "No Community is an Island", suggest that violence in one community has an effect on those neighborhoods that are spatially and socially proximate to them. Greater levels of resource deprivation was associated with higher levels of violence; both hypotheses about spatial and social effects were supported, though social proximity had a larger effect than spatial proximity.

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