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Chicago School and Criminology 3



Annotated Bibliography

Phillips, C. & Bowling, B. (2003). Racism, Ethnicity and Criminology: Developing Minority Perspectives. British Journal of Criminology, 43(2), 269-290.

This article details the misconceptions of crime in various neighborhoods and attempts to link such behavior to the environmental conditions that the victims are exposed. In particular, it singles out the objectives of youth to join gangs and evaluates the socioeconomic levels of their areas of residence. Furthermore, it offers insight into the treatment of blacks by other races and the influence that such behavior has on their life choices. In addition, it includes a detailed assessment of the criminal justice system and makes a comparison of the lifestyles of the people under those jurisdictions. As such, it is a well-researched piece of writing that delves into the influence that different communal settings have on the character of the inhabitants. While it offers a multi-dimensional approach to the causes of crime, it does so in a manner that is relatable, especially to minorities.

Hall, S., & Winlow, S. (2012). New Directions in Criminological Theory. Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge.

The above authors offer a psychosocial perspective about crime in general. Consequently, they provide an assessment of the cultural backgrounds and physical orientation of communities to justify the prevalence of criminal behavior. Additionally, the set up of vulnerable populations is evident from the book and a correlation to the subject is made as well. Moreover, Hall and Winlow study the political undertones of various cities, their educational levels and the poverty index in their quest to explore the things that motivate people to break the law. This is done in a concise language with plenty of examples to aid the reader in understanding the concepts put across. In the case studies illustrated, it is evident that the victims are a product of their surroundings. This notion is reinforced by the inclusion of rehabilitated areas and the impact such programs have had on the youths who live there.

Discussion Question Two

The Chicago school theory emphasizes that individuals do not engage in criminal activities because they were born being bad people. Rather, it advocates for the comprehension of the environment as being the primary driver of delinquent behavior. Moreover, it asserts that the socioeconomic mix of an area and the attitudes or actions of various residents combine to influence the opinions and habits of others. As such, it claims that many people have the tendency to acquire the beliefs, values and mannerisms of their immediate environs. Thus, according to these socialists, areas with large unemployment ratios, breakdown in parental guidance, poor educational standards and a rise in peer pressure the ease of committing offenses is very high. In fact, they claim that crime thrives under such circumstances and thus warn that the prevalence of these conditions is disastrous to the moral fabric of any region.

In particular, the Chicago School singled out the gang factor. In it, they alleged that the desire for people to become members is based on their perception of such outfits as places to gain recognition, to participate in shared traditions, to be in solidarity with fellow peers and for cohesive purposes. Significantly, these are the same reasons that the current gang system employs to gain popularity. For example, they capitalize on the youth’s yearning for extra money, their craving for an identity and the allure of a certain status in the society to recruit others. By so doing, their actions expose the weaknesses of the community such as a lack of job opportunities, the presence of low self-esteem emanating from the bleak outlook of the area and the absence of strong, positive role models either in the family or in the society.