Criminological Theory: Rejecting Individualism example

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Criminological Theory: Rejecting Individualism


The paper aims at exploring and understanding the theory of Social Disorganization that is used for explaining crimes. The paper also suggests additional modern factors that influence crime rates and prove that society is not the only factor that provokes people to commit crimes.

Criminological Theory: Rejecting Individualism

The theory of Social Disorganization created by Clifford Shaw states that society is the main factor that causes high crime rates. In the modern world the theory should not be used as the sole explanation of crime rates since there are such factors as individual’s psychological state and genetics that contribute greatly to the increase of crime rates.

The theory presented by Shaw that is based on rejecting individualism explains the latter as an element that cannot be the only reason of frequent crimes. While criminologists used to consider individual peculiarities of offenders as the main reason of their committing crimes, the theory of Social Disorganization created by Clifford Shaw rejects individualism. Chicago, as a rapidly developing city, is presented in such light that the place encourages criminals to break the law. As a result, crime is considered to be a “social product” and not a problem of personal moral issues (Lilly et al. 36-37). Therefore, the theory of Social Disorganization rejects the concept of individualism that is aimed at explaining crimes based on personal moral principles and values of offenders.

The significant facts the study that developed the Social Disorganization theory reveals are that poverty and challenging living conditions are often found to be in the core of crime issues. When exploring the history of expansion and evolution of Chicago, the Chicago School of Criminology found that over the time of a century the city gave shelter to millions of immigrants. With the latter carrying little when immigrating, it was often the case that residents of poor neighborhoods increased crime rates within the city. From such a perspective, it is Chicago and its society that provided immigrants with little conveniences and ensured their being doomed to live in poverty. As a result of such conditions, the society became the reason of increased crime rates (Lilly et al. 37). Thus, the Social Disorganization theory imposes the blame on the society that provokes its people to commit crimes by being forced to endure poor living conditions.

Despite the popularity and value given to the influence of society on potential offenders, there are many other factors that have to be considered when explaining a crime in the modern world. According to the current society trends, it is not only the society that is responsible for frequent crimes, but individual characteristics as well as genetics. Tuvblad and Beaver state that according to the recent research, the relation of genetics to the probability of someone being prone to commit crimes is essential. The results of the research state that around 50% of antisocial behavior can be referred to certain genetic influences (273). Furthermore, it is …

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