Criminological Theories Independent Study

Introduction, and Sequence of Topics and Readings for 4+1 Students Spring 2016

Course Home

DATE OF LAST UPDATE: 4/8/2016 - uploaded the revised final project assignment and proposed grading rubric
 For details on books go to books listed page

This page describes the sequence of topics and readings for the Spring 2016 Graduate Course in Theories of Crime and Deviance for 4+1 MA Students.

This page is online at www.rbtaylor.net/406_sp16_sequence.html

WHAT APPLIES

You should assume that all the policies and procedures described for the Fall 2014 graduate course in theories of crime and deviance apply to this independent study.

All of those policies and procedures can be found at http://www.rbtaylor.net/406_fa14_main.html

The above link will take your there. You want to read all of that text with great care, since all of it, except what counts for the course grade, applies here. Make special note of issues of academic misconduct and the definition of a seminar.

ANYTHING ON BLACKBOARD? NOTE - CHANGED ON 1/28/2016

I have put the two chapters to read for Friday up on Blackboard.

I have switched everything to a Blackboard COURSE that is linked to the independent study in which you are enrolled.

The course is called sp2016 theory

WHAT WILL I BE GRADED ON?

We are evolving the course requirements through a more participatory process than usual.

I am building a page with the course requirements:CLICK HERE

WHERE ARE THE QUESTIONS?

Each week, except the first week when you read two different chapters from two different undergraduate criminological theory textbooks, you are going to read most of a book. There are questions that you want to think about as you go through each book.

You can find those questions here:

http://www.rbtaylor.net/406_fa14_questions_readings.html

You will see that the question pages also have links to introductory comments about the theory at the top, and, at the bottom, takeaway comments.

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE QUESTIONS?

You do the readings with the questions printed out beside you. You make notes when you come to material in the reading that seems relevant to the question posed.

You should try and make notes about all the questions in the question list that are highlighted as important, either because they are in bold, or because I say they are important questions.

WHAT WILL HELP ME PROCESS THE MATERIAL BETTER BEFORE CLASS?

You will write thoughtful answers to one or two important questions about each week's reading(s). You will write at least 200 words but no more than 400 words. You will type up what you are saying, double spaced, and will come to class with three copies of what you have written. You will distribute copies of what you have written to the rest of the class at the beginning of each class.

WHAT WILL HELP ME PROCESS THE MATERIAL BETTER AFTER CLASS?

You will re-read and more importantly re-write the notes that you take during class. This will help you better gauge what material you understood and what material remains elusive.

DO THE WEEKLY WRITING ASSIGNMENTS COUNT AS PART OF MY SEMESTER GRADE?

Yes they do. Although we will figure out what all the pieces are that make up your grade for the semester, you should plan on about 25 - 40 percent of your grade being based on your weekly writings.

The weekly writings will be graded as follows. Each weekly writing receives a grade from me of "pass" or "fail." We can talk more about what is needed for a pass. Most importantly, I am looking for thoughtful reflection on something important in the theory, or its application, or its implications. Each fail gets a chance to be revised once. If you get a fail, I will tell you why. You will need to accumulate a yet-to-be-specified number of passes on weekly writing to earn full credit for this part of the course.

CAN WE COME SEE YOU FOR OFFICE HOURS?

Of course!. As it now stands office hours are Fridays 2-6 pm. They may be shifted depending on monthly department faculty meeting times. All are welcome, and it is a FIFO system. If those times do not work, let's set up something else.

WHERE AND WHEN DO WE MEET?

We meet 9:30 AM to 12:00 noon in the 5th floor conference room. There may be occiasions when that room is needed for other activities, in which case we will shift to my office, 537 Gladfelter.

AND HERE IS THE SEQUENCE OF READINGS

 

Date

Topic and Readings (readings are to be done BY that week)
(Bb) means reading can be found on Blackboard site
If individual chapters or page numbers are NOT listed, that means read the entire volume.

1/15

There is reading that needs to be done by this first class.
Either:
Paternoster, R., & Bachman, R. (Eds.). (2001). Explaining criminals and crime. Los Angeles: Roxbury. Chapter 1
Or:
Akers, R. L., & Sellers, C. S. (2012). Criminological Theories. (6th Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 1

WHAT TO WRITE ON IN RESPONSE TO THESE MATERIALS.

1. In your own words, how does theory "work"? What is it made of?
2. How do we evaluate the adequacy of a specific theory?
3. In what ways do theories have validity?
4. In what ways do theories have utility?

In your written responses, try to put ideas completely into your own words. That requires more active learning than just putting something into quotes. Further, try and think about implications.

NOTE: Over the course of the semester, you probably want to work through one of these books. Here is the main difference. Paternoster is descriptive. Akers is descriptive and critical. The critical part you may find helpful.

TOPICS. Course introduction. Purpose. Requirements. What is a seminar? Why this approach. How to succeed in this course. How to fail. What is crime theory? Varieties of crime theory. Approaching theory with your own predliections. How to code and decode theory. Some meta-theory basics. Evaluating Theory

1/22 MACRO-LEVEL - INTERNATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN SERIOUS CRIME
TOPIC: How do cultural variations and institutional differences explain international serious crime differences? IAT
READING: Messner, S. F., & Rosenfeld, R. (2000). Crime and the American dream (Third ed.). Monterey: Wadsworth.
1/29

MACRO-LEVEL - COMMUNITY CRIME DIFFERENCES - CULTURE
TOPIC: Collective efficacy, crime, the neighborhood effect, and selection
READING: Sampson,Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect
READ ONLY chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 15
<< LIST OF CHAPTERS CHANGED

2/5

MACRO-LEVEL - COMMUNITY CRIME DIFFERENCES - STRUCTURE
TOPIC: The racial spatial divide and community crime differences: What are the sources of community crime rate differences between White and African-American urban neighborhoods?
READING: Peterson & Krivo,Divergent Social Wworlds

2/12

CRIME IN CONTEXT: WHITE COLLAR CRIME
Sutherland, E. H. (1983). White Collar Crime: The Uncut Version. New Haven: Yale University Press.
READ ONLY: Preface, chapters 1,2,3,4,14,15

2/19

CRIME IN CONTEXT, AN INTERACTIONIST VIEW: SITUATIONAL ACTION THEORY - PART I
Wikstrom, P.-O. H., Oberwittler, D., Treiber, K., & Hardie, B. (2012). Breaking Rules: The Social and Situational Dynamics of Young People's Urban Crime.  Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. (chapters 1, 2, 3, 7, 9)
RECOMMEND - Chapter 4 - skim to get a sense of the spatial patterning of land use and criminal activity

2/26

 

CRIME IN CONTEXT, AN INTERACTIONIST VIEW: SITUATIONAL ACTION THEORY - PART II
Skype class with Professor Per-Olof Wikstrom, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University - WILL BE READING ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS
REVIEW SESSION

3/4 SPRING BREAK
3/11

INDIVIDUAL LEVEL: THE BONDS
TOPIC: Bonds and control theory and delinquent acts
READ: Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of delinquency (Transaction Publishers 2002 edition ed.). Berkeley: Unversity of California Press.
Chapters 1-12

3/18

INDIVIDUAL LEVEL: OVER TIME
TOPIC: Individuals and personal history: The Life course perspective
READ: Laub, J., & Sampson, R. J. (2003). Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

3/25

INDIVIDUAL LEVEL: CRIMINOGENIC TENDENCIES
TOPIC: General Theory of Crime
READING:
Gottfredson, M., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A General Theory of Crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Chs. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12

4/1

BENEATH THE INDIVIDUAL: BIOCRIMINOLOGY
Raine, A. (2013). The Anatomy of Violence. New York City: Pantheon Books. READ INTRO AND CHAPTERS 1-9

4/8

REACTIONS TO THE BREAKING OF LAWS
Garland, D. (2002). The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

4/15 THE CULTURE OF CONTROL INTERSECTS WITH REAL LIVES
Fader, J. J. (2013). Falling Back: Incarceration and Transitions to Adulthood among Urban Youth. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
CHAPTERS 1-6
4/22

Goffman, A. (2014). On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

LAST DAY OF CLASSES: 4/25; STUDY DAYS 4/26-4/27; EXAMS START 4/28

4/29

IF WE WERE TO HAVE A FINAL SOMETHING, IT WOULD BE ON THIS DATE, REGULAR CLASS TIME. SO JUST KEEP THIS DATE AND TIME OPEN