Community control and crime: an ecological analysis
The goal of this dissertation is to improve upon the ecological analysis of deviance by proposing and testing a more theoretically based ecology of deviance. The ecological analysis of crime and other deviant behaviors has a long history and spans several academic disciplines. However, there are many problems in this literature most of which can be traced to the lack of a strong theoretical grounding.A community control perspective is put forth in an effort to address many of these problems. This perspective has theoretical roots in the work of Durkheim, the social disorganization theorists of the Chicago School, and in modern social control theory.Several important ideas are drawn from Durkheim: the vital role of the community as the source of social control; the importance of social integration; and the unique integrative role of religious affiliation. The importance of population instability as a force disruptive to community integration was a major theme of the Chicago sociologists. Finally, the notion of social bonding is extracted from modern control theory and applied to the ecological level of analysis.The perspective says that factors in a community that encourage bonding among community members increase the social integration of the community and results in lower rates of deviance. Religious affiliation and population stability are examples of the kinds of factors that facilitate bonding. It is hypothesized that these kinds of factors will operate best on forms of deviance that are primarily intentional rather than impulsive in nature.The perspective is tested using data on crime in Canadian towns and cities of a population of 10,000 or more (n = 218). The community control perspective is contrasted with alternative explanations. The empirical analysis provides substantial evidence of the efficacy of this approach.
- Sociology