Crimeremains a major challenge both in the earlier and present age. Thedynamism involved in crime approaches has made it problematic for thelaw enforcers to handle the issues amicably. Such dynamism isassociated with technological advancements and the changing nature ofthe crime to include fraud and cyber-attacks. Considering thedefinition of the term criminology according to Tibbetts (2015), itis the study of crime in the scientific context particularly onindividuals who have engaged in the unlawful activities. Whileconducting a criminology study, it is imperative to study the natureof these crimes as well as their extent. Similarly, it is importantto understand the role of the society, complexities, and environmentthat is affiliated with the crimes. This, therefore, introduces theaspect of criminology theories which have been the foundation ofstudying the nature of the crime. Tibbetts (2015) argues that thetheoretical foundation of understanding criminology is guided bythree core concepts which are biology, sociology, and psychology.Behaviour, on the other hand, is understood through activities thatviolate the societal code of laws. Essential to note is that a singletheory cannot be used to understand different crimes empirically.This paper thus aims at understanding the criminology theoriesthrough the book, “Codeof the Street: Decency, Violence, & the Moral Life of the InnerCity by Anderson.”While using social structure, differential association and culturaltransmission theories, the manifestation of crime as the code of thestreets can be explained.
of the Book
Thebook “Codeof the Street: Decency, Violence, & the Moral Life of the InnerCity” isbased on the complex issues that surround the society. Most of thesechallenges in the society revolve around the welfare of the peoplewho live in the city and the difference in the society in regards toclass. Anderson (2000) bases the stories in the Philadelphia’sGermantown Avenue neighborhoods. These areas are characterized bymulticulturalism aspect with the primary issues revolving aroundrespect, family values, and social etiquette. According to the book,it reflects on the economic and social challenges that are present inthe streets which Anderson notes as the main artery of the city.Different from other publications centered on the challengesexperienced in the streets, Anderson takes a different approach wherehe evaluates the black areas based on the phrase “codeof the street.” Amajor focus also is the differences in the societal classes whichinclude the street and the decent families. The difference is broughtout through several aspects among them drug abuse, poverty, diseasesand access to essential resources. This difference according toAnderson is the foundation of the society. Essential to note is thatthe difference between the two types of streets is shaped by thepressures that the different settings are subjected to which formsthe foundation of their goals and choices. In the book is an array ofcriminal activities as well as elements in the different societies,the streets and the able. Essential to note is that Anderson baseshis book on the issues of crime and violence, where they emanate fromand the impact in the society. Some of the important clauses asdepicted in the book include adolescents learning the criminalactivities from their peers through influence and also the societalelements dictating the violence and crimes in the society such aspoverty and limited access to education.
Asindicated above, understanding criminology is best conducted usingtheories that bring together several societal concepts into one.According to Tibbetts (2015), a good theory is characterized byseveral factors among them parsimony and scope. While parsimonyrefers to explaining the act in the simplest but comprehensive mannerpossible, the scope is described by the traits that the given theorytries to explain. Notably, this is related to parsimony to someextent. Another factor is logical consistency which Tibbetts notes asthe extent to which the theory is sensible regarding propositions andconcepts. In regards to Anderson’s book, three theories that willbe evaluated based on the events in the situations will includedifferential association, social structure, and cultural transmissiontheory.
Tibbetts(2015) argues that if individuals are living in a surrounding that ischaracterized by disorganization, transiency, and unemployment, thereare high chances that these aspects could be the cause of crime inthe respective region. In this regard, it would be challenging toemploy the laws and policies that are focused on an individual.Rather, the rectification process is applied to the entire community.The social structure theory is characterized by the aspect of classstruggle between the elite and the poor. This is manifested throughelements such as lack of education, poverty, absence of marketableskills and values that as subcultural. Tibbetts notes that a goodtheory is one that integrates several concepts into one. It isfurther possible to encompass other smaller theories into one. Inthis regard, the social disorganization, strain, culture and conflicttheories are all aspects of the social structure theory (Hagan,2012). Disorganization, for instance, is described as a difference inthe goals and objectives of a society and the hindrance aspectstowards achieving the set aims. Consequently, individuals lack theability to succeed through means that are legitimate. Most of thegoals and objectives of a given premise include the socialrecognition and economic elements. The conflict is brought out inseveral ways which are all based on the behavior of the socializedgroups. Tibbetts (2015) further argues that these theories are thefoundation of intervention strategies. In the case of socialstructure theory, it considers a community or society perspective.This implies that to alleviate the criminal conditions, the bestapproach is to address the social elements that are contributing tothe crimes. Such include establishing the opportunities to enhanceemployment.
Applyingthe social structure theory in the Codeof the Street,there are several aspects resulting in the violence which isaffiliated to the culture being adopted in the streets. Some of theseelements include the patterns of racial inequality, disadvantage, andlimited opportunities. Anderson (2000) argues that the culture of thestreets shapes the values and influences violence among theadolescents. The social structure of the Codeof the streetsis characterized by limited education resulting in a reducedopportunities regarding employment. As a result, the crime levelswhich in this case include violence escalate. Anderson (2000) furtherdiscusses the inner city complexities which are especially applicableto the disadvantaged neighborhoods. These parts of the city which theauthor identifies as the artery are distinguished by high povertylevels, residents mistrusting the police, discrimination based on therace and hopelessness. This culture of the streets is the foundationof disorganization and being disadvantaged which then influence thepublic interaction. As indicated in the analysis of the socialstructure theory, it is defined by the adopted laws and norms in theparticular community. In this regard, the social structural changesto the negative in the disadvantaged communities have resulted in theloss of the values and norms that were once present in the city.Anderson notes that the culture emanates from adapting to theeconomic conditions which are diverse. Further, the desire to achievea status in the streets prompts the violence although the respectaspect is lost.
Tibbetts(2015) define this theory as the influence from the role models orthe peer groups. The core implication of this theory is thereplacement of the negative models with the protocol ones. Further,this theory is based on describing where a crime emanates from andthe relationship between the social interaction and the crime.Factors characterizing this theory are based on the criminalactivities being learned through the social interaction with theactual criminals. Essential to note is that the criminals may existin any state or diversity such as race, color, and sociologicalbackground. Other tenets of the theory include communication beingthe foundation of the interaction with other people, small groupsbeing the main areas where the criminal behavior occurs and areadopted, aspects of learning new crime including techniques andattitudes of the crime and one being considered a criminal upon beinga frequent offender of the criminal activities (Akers, 2013). Indifferential association also, the criminal behavior is expressed byvalues and similar needs. In addition, various criminal activitiesdiffer in their duration, priority, and intensity.
Andersonwhile talking about the Codesof the Streets definesviolence as the main aspect of the crimes in the black areas. Furtherdrug abuse and related activities is profound in the areas. In thedisadvantaged setting, some of the cultures that have been adoptedinclude that of violence and loss of respect. The societal aspectsaforementioned highlight the importance of the neighborhoods andsocial institutions being the centers for transcending the violencefrom one person to another. Essential to note is that these crimesare learned from the interactions within the minority communities.According to this author, the behaviors and adopted attributes areobtained and situated in the people’s day to day activities.Anderson further suggests that even though the different youths whocome from the decent families do not necessarily engage in thecriminal activities, they are forced to understand the ways of thestreets which will aid them in navigating the streets. This explainsthe aspect of street efficacy which is obtained through learning fromthe existing individuals. Adolescents from the disadvantagedcommunities are noted to have a profound knowledge of the streetswhich they pass on to the others to aid in operating in theenvironment. For instance, Anderson provides an account of thoseindividuals who are established in the violence through being thekingpins in the streets while discouraging others from the attemptsto gin such positions. Further, these street leaders will discouragetheir followers from learning from them and testing their ‘manhood’(Anderson, 2000).
Thistheory is based on the fact that the criminal attributes are adoptedfrom the exposure to the specific culture. The values in a givensociety are obtained by being repeatedly subjected to the behaviorsand unlawful aspects characterizing the specific society. Accordingto criminologists, they stress on the criminal agents being withinthe normative protocols of the person (Akers, 2013). Further, theiradherence to the legal mandates is the element of the normativecomplex which covers the daily life of the actor. Essential to noteis that the social interaction plays a core role in the complexities.Further description of the theory is that the criminal values areobtained through collectives in the local perspective over a longperiod. Considering the societal surrounding of a person, if they areexposed to a certain type of behavior, they are most likely to adoptit and transcend the same to those surrounding them. Such includeexposure to drug abuse and violent behavior.
Applyingthe cultural transmission theory in the book Codeof the Street: Decency, Violence, & the Moral Life of the InnerCity,it is ascertained that the violence behavior in the inner city isthrough the societal exposure to the behaviors. Essential to note isthat the negative changes in the black streets dictate that everyonewilling to operate in these areas must be conversant with thecriminal ways and activities. The origin of these aspects is based onthe factors characterizing these streets which include poverty andpoor access to the social elements. Although these aspects are mainlyexposed to the disadvantaged communities, the able ones are not leftbehind. They are expected to understand the way of these streetswhich will aid them in operating within the dangerous zones. Anderson(2000) states that the key elements of good society which includedtrust and respect have already been lost and is replaced by streetvalues which are centered on violence and crimes such as drugs abuse.Through exposure to the new cultures and values, the society hasadopted the criminal activities. Further, they are translating themto the children and adolescents thus losing the existence of positivemorals and values. The challenged economic and social elements arealso resulting to adopting of the violent and criminal activitieswhich are aimed at changing the status of the respective individuals
Acore element of the society is that of crime which refers to engagingin unlawful activities. Criminology, on the other hand, is describedas the scientific study of these activities which includeunderstanding the reasons why people engage in the acts and theirimpact on the society. To comprehensively understand the aspect ofcriminology, various theories have been developed which are similarlycentered on the effects of the crimes and where they emanate from. Animportant aspect to note is that the criminal theories are based onthe societal contexts of morals and values. Examples of thesetheories which have been discussed in the above discussion includesocial structure, differential association, and cultural transmissionwhich are based on the behavior, learning and exposure elementsrespectively. According to Tibbetts (2015), a good theory is one thatcovers a wide scope such as the social structure which encompassesbehavior, culture, and values of the society. A description of thesetheories is profoundly done through the book Codeof the Street: Decency, Violence, & the Moral Life of the InnerCity byAnderson (2000) which is based on the violence and crime in a societythat is characterised by social class inequalities, poverty and pooraccess to resources and social amenities. These aspects of thesociety are the origin of the violence and crime in the streets whichAnderson describe as Codeof the Street.
Akers,R. L. (2013). Criminologicaltheories: Introduction and evaluation.Routledge.
Anderson,E. (2000). Codeof the street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the innercity.WW Norton & Company.
Hagan,F. E. (2012). Introductionto criminology: Theories, methods, and criminal behavior.Sage Publications.
Tibbetts,S. G. (2015). Criminologicaltheory: The essentials.SAGE Publications.