Social Control Integration of Knowledge of the Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Social Control

Integration of Knowledge of the Essay 'The City' with the Four Neighborhoods Described in 'There Goes the Neighborhood'

The objective of this study is to integrate the knowledge of the essay entitled "The City" with the four neighborhoods described in "There Goes the Neighborhood." This work will develop an analysis of how and why the features of the area chosen produce or lead to crime and disorder. This work will choose two of the four areas or neighborhoods described and summarize the main features including income, location, population, and race/ethnic composition and will discuss the salient factors in the location that lead to stability and the salient factors that produce change or instability. This work will identify the primary threats perceived or identified by the residents and how these threats are related to ideas such as invasion, succession, or the cycle of conflict, competition, accommodation, and assimilation. This work will answer as to where the location of the two neighborhoods are in relationship to these processes. This work will answer as to how the social organization make up the locations chosen shape or affect the crime and disorder of concern and will finally, answer as to what belief system is predominant in the areas chosen for analysis.


The work of Sampson and Wilson (1995) entitled "Toward a Theory of Race, Crime, and Urban Equality" reports that many people "engage in subterfuge, denying race-related differentials in violence and focusing instead on police bias and the alleged invalidity of official crime statistics" and that this is despite the plethora of evidence including death records, surveys and statistical information that demonstrates clearly that "blacks are disproportionately victimized by, and involved in, criminal violence." (p.1) Sampson and Wilson report that the evidence is clear that African-Americans are up against "dismal and worsening odds when it comes to crime in the streets and the risk of incarceration." (p.1) The work of Pattillo (1998) states that social organization "is goal oriented. Social disorganization is defined as the 'inability of community structure to realize the common values of its residents and maintain effective social controls." (p.748) Therefore, social organization is a term that makes reference to the 'effective efforts of neighborhood actors toward common ends." (Pattillo, 1998, p. 748)

I. Beltway -- A Chicago Neighborhood

Beltway, a Chicago neighborhood is characterized by what is referred to as "the new parochialism, where diminished private and traditionally parochial forms of social control are replaced by a combination of parochial and public controls." (Carr, 2003, p.1) Carr reports that this new parochialism is such that is "occasioned by wider societal and local changes, and the concept is shown to have theoretical and empirical implications." (Carr, 2003, p.1) Pattillo reports that stable low-income areas are likely to develop "organized criminal subcultures where the 'neighborhood milieu [is] characterized by close bonds between different age-levels of offenders, and between criminal and conventional elements." (p.749) Pattillo additionally notes that in these types of locations that neighborhood stability may serve to enable the "formation of an alternative opportunity structure based on organized crime, which benefits from both criminal and law abiding residents" and that the relationships that extend across the law formulate the framework for organized crime "among Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants alike." (1998, p.750) In poor neighborhoods, individuals on the wrong side of the law are reported to make provision of social and economic resources that are important to their relations, friends, and neighbors alike. (Patillo,1998, paraphrased)

II. Groveland -- South Side Chicago Neighborhood

Groveland is a neighborhood on Chicago's South Side that is a black neighborhood with approximately 12,000 residents and 95% of these being African-American. This neighborhood is reported to be comprised of 91 square blocks. A six-lane thoroughfare, Ridge Lake Avenue, serve to separate gang territories and serves as a neighborhood boundary. The median family income in Groveland is reported at approximately $40,000 annually while most of Chicago is stated at approximately $30,000 with more than 60% of those in Groveland being white-collar workers. There are two public grammar schools in Groveland as well as a Catholic grammar school and one public high school. Groveland has eleven Churches and a total of ten Christian denominations. Groveland has a park and three commercial streets. (Pattillo, 1998, paraphrased)

Groveland is described as a middle-class neighborhood. All except one of the neighborhoods on the edges of Groveland are lower median family income households with a high poverty rate in four of the six neighborhoods bordering these areas. The dangers of living in a middle-class neighborhood that is a black neighborhood is highlighted in the work of Pattillo who states that "all but two of the adjacent neighborhoods have a higher homicide rate. Groveland's proximity to neighborhoods that are less stable and poorer is reported by Pattillo to underscore "the importance of the spatial context of black middle-class areas nearby" since these are daily reminders of what might occur if the residents of Groveland and their "efforts at social control fail." (1998, p.750)

Black middle class residents face an ongoing fight to "remain in the majority and define the norms of public conduct and social order. The larger community is reported to be representative of "a dangerous training ground for Groveland's youth who are not confined to the small area of the neighborhood." (Pattillo, 1998, p. 751) Pattillo reports that the "ecological patterns" noted in Groveland are pretty much the status quo for African-Americans since those of practically every economic status reside in "qualitatively different kinds of neighborhoods than do their counterparts." (1998, p.751) Additionally reported is that Blacks, do not, in any U.S. city over 100,000 "live in ecological equality with whites." (Pattillo, 1998, p.752) In fact, Pattillo reports that the "worst urban contexts in which whites reside are considerably better than the average context of black communities." (1998, p.752) Pattillo states this is emphasized in the act that for a college educated white family "the probability for neighborhood contact with a family on welfare was only 8% however, for the educated black family the chance of the same contact was 22%. Exposure to crime in black neighborhoods is heightened since "even the most affluent blacks are not able to escape from crime, for they reside in communities as crime-prone as those housing the poorest whites." (1998, p.752)

III. Theories and Research on Crime in Neighborhoods

The work of Shaw and McKay (1942) was the first to postulate that "regulatory activities carried on by neighborhood residents can impede criminal and delinquent behavior, and indeed a recent reformulation of the notion of social disorganization has emphasized the 'systemic' nature of these internal controls." (Carr, 2003, p.2) The systemic model holds that "the structure of relational networks, or density of social ties, determines the extent to which a neighborhood can engage in self-regulation. Sampson and Wilson report that it is supported by one theory that the "scarcity of employed black males relative to black females was directly related to the prevalence of families headed by women in black communities." (1996) In addition, disruption in black families is directly related "to rates of black murder and robbery, especially by juveniles." (Sampson and Wilson, 1996, p. 149) This specific research theory is that of Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay at the Chicago School, which was a community level approach of "modern American studies of ecology and crime." (Sampson and Wilson, 1996, p.150)

The classic work of Shaw and McKay entitled "Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas" (1942) holds that three structural factors result in disruption of local community social organization and resulted in crime variations and delinquency rates. Those three are stated as: (1) low economic status; (2) ethnic heterogeneity; and (3) residential mobility. (Sampson and Wilson, 1996, p. 150) Research studies show that family disruption affects juvenile violence more than adult violence and family structural effects are linked to "macrolevel patterns of social control and guardianship, especially for youth and their peers." (Sampson and Wilson, 1996, p.151)

Joblessness and poverty are found to have a great deal of indirect influence on disruption of the family. Furthermore, it is reported that the "sources of violent crime appear to be remarkably invariant across race and rooted instead in the structural differences among communities, cities, and states in economic and family organization." (Sampson and Wilson, 1996, p.151) Two elements that result in community acceptance of organized crime are reported to be those of: (1) poverty; and (2) powerlessness. (Pattillo, 1998, p.752) In other words, barriers that exist to success-oriented goals that are legitimate in nature serve to foster acceptance of organized crime.

Carr (2003) writes that the Beltway studies serve to demonstrate how even in a neighborhood not characterized by dense social ties that informal social control can work through organizations in the community and the links that these organizations have with public agencies outside of the neighborhood. According to Carr, "The salience of informal social control for self-regulation generally, and for the control of crime specifically, is evident on the theoretical level. It is…

Sources Used in Document:


Carr, PJ (2003) The New Parochialism: The Implications of the Beltway Case for Arguments Concerning Informal Social Control. AJS Vol. 108. No. 6 May 2003. Pp. 1249-1291.

Pattillo, ME (1998) Sweet Mothers and Gangbangers: Managing Crime in a Black Middle-Class Neighborhood. Social Forces. Vol. 76 No. 3 Mar 1998. Pp.747-774.

Sampson, RJ and Wilson, WJ (1995) Toward Unified Theory of Race, Crime and Urban Inequality. Crime and Inequality. Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. 1995. University Press.

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