Home » Criminology » Social Disorganization Theory Essay

Social Disorganization Theory Essay

Social disorganization theory is a criminological theory that suggests that crime and deviance are the result of a lack of strong social bonds between people in a community. This theory was first developed by sociologists Robert Park and Ernest Burgess in the 1920s, who argued that cities were places of social disorder because of their large populations and diverse cultures.

The theory has since been expanded upon by other criminologists, who have suggested that social disorganization can also occur in smaller communities and even within families. It is believed that when the bonds between people are weak, there is an increased likelihood of criminal and deviant behavior.

There are a number of factors that are thought to contribute to social disorganization, including poverty, residential mobility, and racial and ethnic diversity. These factors can lead to a lack of trust and cooperation between residents, which can make it difficult for residents to work together to improve their community.

Social disorganization theory has been used to explain a variety of criminological phenomena, including juvenile delinquency, gang activity, and violent crime. It is also thought to play a role in the development of organized crime. While the theory is not without its critics, it remains an important part of criminological research and continues to be used by sociologists and criminologists alike.

In the realm of criminal justice, societal disorganization might have an impact on the pattern of a crime. The principle of social disorganization is broken down into effective social control, group isolation, conflicting attitudes and personnel maladjustment (Merriam-Webster 2013). What is social disorganization? Organized crime has grown in response to social disorganization.

Social disorganization is the “failure of a community structure to realize the common value of its members and maintain effective social control” (Shaw & McKay, 1969, p. ix). In other words, it is when the informal and formal controls that normally keep people from committing crime break down. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including poverty, poor housing, racial segregation, and high rates of immigration. When social disorganization occurs, it creates an environment in which crime can flourish.

Organized crime has always been present in societies with weak governments and little social cohesion. In such societies, criminal organizations can fill the void left by the lack of strong institutions. They can provide protection for businesses and individuals, control key resources, and even offer basic services such as loans and gambling.

As society has become more globalized and interconnected, organized crime has evolved to take advantage of these new opportunities. One example is the rise of cybercrime, which takes advantage of the fact that businesses and individuals are increasingly reliant on technology. Another is the growth of human trafficking, which exploits the fact that people are often desperate to leave their home countries in search of a better life.

The criteria for social disorganization are: lack of effective social control, lack of integration between groups, conflicting attitudes and personnel maladjustment. Effective social control is when members of a community feel a sense of obligation to obey the law and conform to societal norms.

Social disorganization is a social condition that emerged during Western industrialization, as people moved from rural areas into cities. This transition changed social coherence and integration from mechanical to organic (Park, Burgess, & McKenzie 1967). Social disorganization has both domestic and international forms; it appears in families, schools, workplaces, and entire communities. The effects of social disorganization can be extensive and destructive; they often lead to crime and violence.

The theory of social disorganization contends that it is the structural characteristics of a community that lead to crime and delinquency, not individual pathologies. Social disorganization theory has its roots in ecological theories of crime developed by sociologists such as William I. Thomas and Frederic M. Thrasher. Social disorganization theory was formalized by University of Chicago criminologists Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay in their 1929 book, Juvenile Delinquency in Metropolitan Areas.

In their work, Shaw and McKay found that rates of juvenile delinquency were highest in poor, inner-city neighborhoods with high rates of residential turnover, poverty, and ethnic diversity. These neighborhoods, they argued, lacked the social cohesion and organization necessary to effectively socialize residents and control deviant behavior.

Over the years, social disorganization theory has been expanded and refined by other criminologists. It is now generally accepted that crime is a function of both individual-level factors (e.g., age, gender, race) and community-level factors (e.g., poverty, unemployment, residential stability).

While social disorganization theory has been successful in explaining patterns of crime and delinquency, it has been less successful in identifying specific interventions that can reduce crime in disadvantaged communities. Nonetheless, the theory continues to be an important framework for understanding crime and deviance.

The basic idea of social disorganization was developed at the University of Chicago in the 1920s. Because of the quick industrialization and widespread urbanization, this was built because times were changing. In order to understand why the United States was transforming in terms of landscaping and population, Chicago sociologists conducted research on why America was changing. W.I Thomas and Florian Znanieck studied some Polish immigrants who were living in America and then looked into their family back in Poland.

They wanted to know how these changes in the family structure, community, and country affected the individuals. From this research, they were able to develop the social disorganization theory.

The idea behind social disorganization is that there is a relationship between crime and place. Places that are considered to be “disorganized” have high rates of crime and vice versa. There are four main characteristics of social disorganization: residential mobility, ethnic heterogeneity, family disruption, and poverty.

Residential mobility is when people are constantly moving in and out of a neighborhood. This can be for a variety of reasons such as housing instability or gentrification. When people are constantly moving, it’s harder for them to form relationships with their neighbors. They’re also more likely to live in poverty.

Ethnic heterogeneity is when a neighborhood has a mix of different ethnic groups. This can lead to tensions between groups and can make it difficult for people to communicate with each other.

Family disruption occurs when there is a high rate of divorce, single-parent households, or domestic violence. This can lead to children being raised in unstable environments which can in turn lead to them becoming involved in crime.

Poverty is another factor that contributes to social disorganization. Neighborhoods that are considered “disorganized” tend to have high rates of poverty. This can cause a number of problems such as poor housing, lack of resources, and limited opportunities.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.