Social Structure Theory

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Social Structure Theory Sue Benitez CJA/314 April 1, 2013 Renee Grengs Social Structure Theory Social Structure Theory is “a theory that explains crime by reference to the economic and social arrangements in society. This type of theory emphasizes relationships among social institutions and describes the types of behavior that tend to characterize groups of people rather than individuals” (Schmalleger, p. 151). Julio Rivera’s murder in the video “Senseless Hate Crime” can be acknowledged and studied using a social structure theoretical application. The following will explain how the video supports the theory, will explain what social issues were raised, and will show what some of the possible ramifications will be for social policy change. There are three major types of Social Structure Theory; Social Disorganization, Strain Theory, and Culture Conflict Theory. The one that is going to be focused on is the Culture Conflict Theory. This theory “sees root cause of crime in a clash of values between variously socialized groups over what is acceptable or proper behavior” (Schmalleger, p. 153). “Senseless Hate Crime” discusses the fact that there were several social groups involved in this case. These different groups consisted of: the skin heads, the police department, the social group the victim belonged to, and the majority of the social society in the Jackson Heights neighborhoods. These groups had strong feelings and strong beliefs about what was acceptable behavior. The perpetrators belonged to a skinhead gang called DMS that believed gays, homeless people, Blacks and Hispanics were worthless individuals who deserved to be beat. Community fought back. The average person even the conservative individuals in the community would not tolerate this type of crime. Community groups and gay organizations pressured the police department to reinvestigate the
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