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Social Disorganization Theory: the Formulation of Crime - Term Paper Example

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This paper presents one of the most important theories of crime and directly relates it to the legendary White Family based on the information from the documentary film. The Wild White family showcased in the documentary film “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia”…
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Social Disorganization Theory: the Formulation of Crime
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Download file to see previous pages One popular and influential theory of crime is the Social disorganization theory, as embraced by Shaw and McKay (1969). This theory rejects the notion of individualism and instead explores the possibility that the social environment, or context external to the environment, must be the other cause – beyond the soul, mind and biological makeup of a person – to take part in the crime. This theory, therefore, assumes that a person’s physical and social environment influences the choices of behaviour that a person manifests (Lilly, Cullen, & Ball, 2011). This extends the thought that the emanation of crime or manifestation of criminal behaviour must be outside the context of individual factors. Shaw and McKay found that the following conditions led to susceptibility to generate social disorganization. These include factors and observations such as residential instability, high racial and ethnic heterogeneity, high poverty level, and the positive correlation of social disorganization between crime and delinquency (Maddan & Walker, 2010; Jeffery, 1977). However, it was on the latter observation that Shaw and McKay (1969) were unable to successfully measure the effects of social disorganization on crime and delinquency that prevents it from fully accepted. For this reason, the empirical status of the theory remains open to various relevant research studies, and in need of even more profound observations of cases to substantially support the theory in general. To support this theory further in line with its stated limitation, one can take the special case of the White family. The White family might be considered a perfect breed of outlaw that preserves something that is trying to preserve its genetics from generation to generation. However, another interesting aspect about this family is that they have also retained the ability to tap dance that was remarkably passed on from their forefather. This relates to defending the theory of social disorganization assuming that the environment has an influential force on the individual’s behaviour. Though this might not be directly related to the theory of social disorganization, in this case, parents have a substantial influence on moulding their children’s cultural background and showing them great things of interest to learn in the future. As a result, the Whites retain their remarkable talent in every generation to tap dance as depicted in the documentary film. While this might sound like a good side of the Whites, the dark side substantially prevails and it cannot be eliminated from the minds of the people in West Virginia that this family are outlaws. If this is based on the point of view of the social disorganization theory, it must consider the issues of corruption, poverty and eventually the prevailing cultural background as potential explanations (Corbin, 1981). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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