Social Disorginization theory Essay

Social Disorginization theory Essay

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Shaw and McKay (1942) focused their research on the rapidly expanding city of Chicago Illinois in the early 1900’s. Cullen and Agnew (2011) stated that the population of Chicago expanded from 1 million people in 1890 to double that size within 20 years. According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) it was in this era of rapid expansion that researches begin to think differently about crime. Cullen and Agnew (2011) stated that the researchers began to think that the understanding of crime may not be found in the studying of an individual criminal traits but the study of the traits of the environment in which a criminal lives and interacts. According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) this led to a question in which researchers thought a possible solution of controlling and explain crime would be found in changing environments and neighborhoods rather than changing people.
According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) the Social Disorganization theory was developed in the mid 1940’s by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay while they were researchers studying at the Institute for Social Research in Chicago. Shaw and McKay (1942) based their research of the study of crime in Chicago off of the work that Ernest Burgess theorized in how urban areas grow through a process of continual expansion from their inner core toward outlying areas. According to Cullen and Agnew (20011) one of the primary arguments in the social disorganization theory is the idea that there are settlement patterns in the development of cities, and how these patterns impact neighborhood characteristics and corresponding crime levels. Shaw and McKay developed a theory based off the settlement pattern research that Ernest Burgess conducted. According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) Ernest Burgess stated ...


... middle of paper ...


...any other city that was built off of the auto industry and to see if the “zones of transition” shift to areas in which new employment opportunities arise after the major employer was lost.



Works Cited

Cullen, T.F., Agnew, R. Criminological Theory: Past to Present. New York, Oxford: Oxford
University Press. (Intro, Chapters III, 7, 8)
Feldmeyer, B. Seminar in Criminology. Lecture notes 2/26/2014.
Park, Ezra, R., Burgess, E.W., and McKenzie, R.D. (1967). The City. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press. (Pp.105-110)
Sampson, R., and Groves, W. ( 1989). Community Structure and Crime: Testing Social-
Disorganization Theory. American Journal of Sociology 94: 774-802.
Shaw, C., and McKay, H. (1942) “Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas”. Pp 98-104 in
Criminological Theory: Past to Present, edited by Cullen, T.F., Agnew, R. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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