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Discuss-"Crime is a function of ecology"

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Msgana Semere Discuss-"Crime is a function of ecology" Ecology and it's theories in relation to crime and deviance stress that the cause of crime is to be found in the way the physical environment in which people live and socially interact generates the conditions for criminal behaviour. Ecological theories are very much closely connected with functionalist sub cultural theories; they both adopt a positivist approach. As well as ecologists functionalist sub cultural theories tend to emphasise the significance of the physical environment especially on the way various sub-cultural groups develop their own particular norms and values reflecting both their physical and material situation. Ecological theories of crime and deviance developed mainly from the work of "Chicago School" of Human Ecology. ...read more.


Firstly Durkheim's ideas about the way informal social bonds tended to be weakened once societies began to develop in both size and number. Darwin's central focus was on animalistic behaviour and the struggle for space in relation to evolution. Shaw and McKay elaborate on an attempt by ecological theorists to apply Social Darwinist ideas to the explanation of criminal behaviour via "Social Disorganisation theory". Shaw and McKay make a strong linkage between that of the "area" to human behaviour, especially criminal behaviour. They focus on effects such as occupation, stability and community life in reference to people's behaviour and how other people's behaviour has an impact on individuals. So if someone is conditioned by non-criminality this will effect the individual's behaviour, most likely resulting in a law abiding, obedient individual. ...read more.


As a result they argued that something about the fact of living in a particular zone was the root cause of the high levels of crime. This was why according to Shaw and McKay, no settled community could establish itself. In effect this zone resulted in the idea of "social disorganisation". "Social disorganisation- the idea that a lack of clear, moral, guide-lines in a community structure results in a lack of informal social controls and hence a high rate of crime." There are two major problems with can be defined. Firstly with social disorganisation it is difficult to see how the idea of "disorganised human behaviour" can be sustained as no human behaviour can be disorganised. Secondly social disorganisation is both a cause and an effect, which is logically impossible. Social disorganisation creates high rates of crime. High rates of crime create social disorganisation, which comes first? ...read more.

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