Social Disorganization Term Paper

Submitted By razor1313
Words: 3005
Pages: 13

Social Disorganization: A Community-Level Solution to Disorganized Society
Rae Schulman Dupuis
SOC4010: Violence and Society
Professor Reza Barmaki
Friday, April 3, 2015

Social Disorganization, founded in Chicago by Shaw and McKay is a relatively young theory, yet it has gained strength and foothold within the criminological community because of its lack of biological reliance. Developed in the early 1900s it was based on the fact that Shaw and McKay had been working in and researching juvenile court records and realized certain similarities. The two go on to suggest, as their theory does, that high crime rates are continuous in certain neighborhoods; particularly poor neighborhoods (Sampson 1989). Once these certainties were figured out it could be assumed that crime wasn’t necessarily a biological factor alone; more important was the structure of the neighborhood and the social structure of that neighborhood. A crucial factor of the neighborhood’s in question was their levels of interaction of individuals in the neighborhood along with the neighborhood’s ability to regulate those individuals within the community (Sampson 1997). The theory of social disorganization itself is the disruption or collapse of the structure of relationships within a social circle and the values of that circle; which results in the loss of social controls over its individuals and groups and therefore their behaviours (Shoemaker 2010). As a result of the lack on control society, or neighborhood’s, hold over said members and groups a sense of social isolation and conflict arise because of the feeling of estrangement or alienation from one’s mainstreamed cultural values. Those that feel alienated therefore turn to other groups for guidance and support which leads to a state or condition of anomie within the society — or in other words a state of normlessness (Shoemaker 2010). There are several factors that really determine social disorganization within communities. These include low socioeconomic status, high rates of residential mobility, and increased diversity within the community and family status in the household. Through these factors not only can you recognize a social disorganized community but also you can attempt to make it better to avoid such criminal opportunities. One of the most important factors that are more frequently pointed out in having an effect on social disorganization within a community is residential mobility. Residential mobility is the frequent change from one residence to another (Bursik 1988). It can be to different cities; towns or even states but it can also be just a change in neighborhood or community. The important point about residential mobility is its ability to socially disorganize a community. When people within neighborhoods notice a problem, instead of attempting to fix said problems families are more likely than not merely going to pick up and move. More often than not this constant slate of new faces puts a strain on the ability for people to form a bond with one another and create friendships with others who reside in their communities (Bursik 1988). The lack of community that goes in hand with residential mobility is the lack of collective efficacy. Collective efficacy refers to the ability of member of the community to control the behaviour of individuals and groups within the community. Increased and cohesive collective efficacy allows residents to feel safe and create an orderly environment that doesn’t involve “gangs” or kids who act out — it encourages confrontation to those who threaten the order (Gau 2014). However, low collective efficacy can result in kids and teens roaming the neighborhood free to do as they please which usually leads to the formation of gangs and the creation of criminal opportunities. According to studies, those that live in structurally disadvantaged and low collective efficacy neighborhood’s lack the resources to effectively monitor