A Jeanne Site
Criminology Class, Fall 1999
Web Reading Assignments
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: September 10, 1999
Adler's Overview: Chapter 1
Readings Corresponding to Adler et al., Chapter 1, pp. 3 -17. Good intro. Very simple to read.
- Cost of various kinds of crime. Street crime costs considerably less in damage inflicted on the social group that white-collar crime costs. New approach: cost of ecological damage. Most publicized spill produced least of oil spills. pp.3-4.
- Note the connection between sociology, deviance, crime, and correction. Adler et al. cover this topic on pp. 8. The study of the human within his/her social setting leads us to discover normative behavior. Deviance leads us into discussions of what constitutes normative behavior, what departs from that norm, and how we, as a social group, are going to handle that departure from the norm. In time, the social group, or some privileged sub-group decides on laws, which define deviance as a crime and define some form of punishment. Note the many social situations we pass along the way to explaining this connectedness. Start with who decides what your appropriate social setting is, long before you get to who decides on what shall be called a crime, and how such "crimes" shall be punished. (Consider how race, class, gender enter the definition of the "appropriate" social setting.)
- Note that Adler et al. emphasize the two schools of theoretical thought, consensus and conflict. One group suggests that laws, crime, and the social settings in which they occur and in which we cope with them are factors on which we generally agree. They quote Durkheim: "We can . . . say that an act is criminal when it offends strong and defined states of the collective conscience." (Cited on p. 9) It's that "collective" that suggests consensus. Conflict theory, on the other hand, suggests that there are "class" differences and power struggles, and that those with power make the decisions by virtue of their dominance. A long way from the concept of consensus.
We will cover a broad variety of theoretical positions this semester, always with an eye to how they affect the policy and practice of the "rules" of society.
- Society's reaction and policy. Adler et al. emphasize the important factor of public reaction to crime and violence. We will consider the wide range of reactions, motivations and media which shape them, and the constraints in which what started as a liberating force becomes a constricting force: shades of postmodernism. (pp. 11 - 17)
- Fairy tales. Adler et al. cover fairy tales very well. (p.10) We will supplement that with material from Louise Bernikow's Among Women and Howard Schwartz' Lilith's Cave.
Marina Warner addresses the issue of children's stories in a review, "Gods and Monsters," of Ellen Handler Spitz' Inside Picture Books, Yale University Press, 1999.
for more information on Spitz's Inside Picture Books
- Thomas on theViolent Crimes Act References
Use the query "Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994", entered into the search box for words/phrases right under the Thomas banner. Then go explore on your own. Link added August 25, 1999.
The Adler text suggests that you try the Bureau of Justice Assistance Site