An Interview with Jackson Toby

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    • 00:02

      SPEAKER: It's August 2013.And we're here in New Brunswick, New Jersey.And in conjunction with the American Societyof Criminology, The Oral History of Criminology Projectis pleased to introduce Jackson Tobyto our collection of scholars.Jackson Toby began his work at Harvard Universityand graduated in 1950, producing a dissertationunder the direction of Talcott Parsons, who

    • 00:24

      SPEAKER [continued]: arguably was one of the seminal sociologistsduring that period.His dissertation was entitled "Educational Maladjustmentas a Predisposing Factor in Criminal Careers."I think it's a work that largely serves as a template for muchof his later work.Although, your work touches on a broad variety of topics

    • 00:47

      SPEAKER [continued]: within the criminological [INAUDIBLE]and everything ranging from critical theory iscommented upon to subcultural theory,to control, to deterrence, and social disorganization.In 1951, he assumed a position here,where he's maintained a position heresince 1951, retiring in 2002 at Rutgers University, New

    • 01:09

      SPEAKER [continued]: Brunswick.During that period of time, he servedas the department chair of the department of sociologyfrom 1960 to 1969.And in 1969-- from 1969 to 1994, served as the directorfor the Institute of Criminological Research.He's now an emeritus professor and maintains an office

    • 01:30

      SPEAKER [continued]: on the campus as well as teaching an occasional course.Early in his career, he was associated with the FordFoundation and contributed to the development of the YouthDevelopment Program, largely centeredaround exploring issues connectedwith adolescent delinquency.In 1966, he served as consultant to the President's Commissionon Law Enforcement and the Administration

    • 01:53

      SPEAKER [continued]: of Justice, a really seminal documentcame out of those particular worksas a result of that body of work.His main scholarly contributions helists as being in threefold here.The first of which is an application, an extension,an attempt to explain the importance of Talcott Parson's

    • 02:14

      SPEAKER [continued]: work, in terms of the developmentof the deviance theory as well as its applicationto criminological research.Secondly, he's done a lot of traditionally criminologicalkinds of works, largely surroundingthe issue of the connection or the nexus between schoolsand delinquency.And I hope to explore some of those ideas within the contextof our discussion here today.

    • 02:34

      SPEAKER [continued]: He's probably most notable-- most known for his 1957 work,articulating an idea that's important for the developmentof control theory, "Stakes in Conformity," 1957.Lastly, he sort of does-- sort of a public intellectual,in some regards, producing op-eds

    • 02:56

      SPEAKER [continued]: over the course of his tenure, on topics relatedto criminological issues.More generally, those are the kindsof things that have typically appear in places like the WallStreet Journal, for instance, as well as The New YorkTimes and other outlets.And more recently, he's begun workpointing to the direction of some problems with college

    • 03:19

      SPEAKER [continued]: education, most specifically with regard to the financingand the funding of college education.Those op-eds typically appear in places like The ManhattanInstitute's Minding the Campus, where there'sa blog that he contributes to.

    • 03:39

      SPEAKER [continued]: More recently, since retirement here, he still maintainsan active intellectual role, now servingas an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute,where he's most recently produced a work in 2010,a book put out by Praeger Press entitledThe Lowering of Higher Education, Why

    • 03:60

      SPEAKER [continued]: Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance.So before you-- I guess we'll start the conversation here,at the very beginning of your intellectual interest,in terms of what brought you into the orbit of criminology?

    • 04:16

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, I started as a sociologist.And I became very taken with the ideas of Talcott Parsons.I do believe that Talcott was the-- not only the greatest

    • 04:37

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: sociologist in the 20th century, but the greatestsociologist overall.And he had one unfortunate characteristic.And that was that his written style was impenetrable.No one could understand him.

    • 04:58

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: His spoken lectures were quite comprehensible.And I had the good fortune of listening to him,both as a graduate student-- and Itook all his-- I audited all of his undergraduate courses.Now, Talcott's take on sociology is

    • 05:21

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: very different from what sociologyhas developed into recently.And I translated it, the definition of sociology,in terms that-- Talcott was very gentlemanly--were probably not liked.But I think it doesn't do violence

    • 05:43

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to the underlying concept.I did define sociology as the study of egocentric bastardstrying to coexist more or less harmoniously togetherin a difficult environment, the main difficulty

    • 06:04

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: being the presence of other egocentric bastards.Now, that definition-- I offered this to my students.One of them at the end of the semester-- the teacherevaluation said, I am not an egocentric bastard.But the point was that Parson's focused on what he

    • 06:28

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: called the "problem of order."And he went back to Hobbes and what lifeis like in the state of nature.And it's solitary, nasty, brutal, and short.And so if that's the way it is in the state of nature,

    • 06:50

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: why are we able to live more or less harmoniously in families,universities, whole societies?And that was the central issue for Talcott Parsons.Of course, nowadays, with the whole world erupting,it's not hard to believe that order is a central problem.

    • 07:13

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But anyway-- obviously, if that's the central problem,maintaining order and the difficulty,it's easy to see that crime can be a terrible threat.So that what got me interested.And I am afraid I responded at too great length

    • 07:35

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to your question.

    • 07:35

      SPEAKER: No, no.I wondered, is-- before even that point,when you reached your graduate career,was there some sort of inkling thatmaybe had a biographical kind of referentthere that led you in the directionof studying deviance and crime?

    • 07:50

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, actually, like many graduate students,I was looking for a thesis.And it happened that I studied with Robert Freed Bales, whohad done a dissertation-- a very interesting dissertation--trying to explain why Irish Americans had

    • 08:19

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: a much higher alcoholism rate, twice as high as Jews.That was his dissertation.And I thought, that's a very interesting topic.And what about delinquency?And I investigated Irish Americans and Jewish Americans

    • 08:45

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: who had come over, I mean, second generation,whose parents had immigrated.And I abandoned that topic.But I decided that Italians would be fine.And my dissertation was really-- so you only took the first part

    • 09:07

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: of the dissertation title--

    • 09:08

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 09:09

      JACKSON TOBY: --"Educational Maladjustment as a Predisposingto Criminal Careers."You forgot or edited out what happened after the colon.The colon was, "A Comparative Study of Ethnic Groups."

    • 09:25

      SPEAKER: All right.

    • 09:26

      JACKSON TOBY: And the ethnic groups that I comparedwere Italians and Jews.And I thought it was very interestingthat Italian kids had twice as high a delinquencyrate, approximately, in the '20s 1920s, 1930s, as Jewish kids.

    • 09:47

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And the question I had was, why was this so?And Talcott had introduced me-- itwas very important to Talcott to talk about values and culturesand so on.And so I tried to explain this in termsof the different cultures that the Italians broughtwith them and the different culture

    • 10:09

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: the Jews brought with them.

    • 10:10

      SPEAKER: OK.Now, what do you think some of the limitationsfor the corporation of Parsonian kind of thinkinginto mainstream criminology then?Have there been difficulties or impediments?Or what do you think the state of his efforts--

    • 10:26

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, he didn't really try.

    • 10:28

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 10:29

      JACKSON TOBY: He was a very broad theorist.

    • 10:32

      SPEAKER: Certainly.

    • 10:34

      JACKSON TOBY: And people are amazedwhen they hear I did my PhD dissertation in criminologyunder Talcott Parsons.How did that-- what was he doing there?So he tried to explain everything.And criminology's just part of everything.

    • 11:01

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But deviance is one of the topics.He does have a chapter on deviance in his bookThe Social System, for instance.

    • 11:09

      SPEAKER: Were there any other inspirations for youintellectually, in terms of shaping your thoughts on crimeand the opposite-- the polar opposite of social order,social--

    • 11:21

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, I had to do fieldwork.And I did some fieldwork in a high delinquency neighborhoodin New York City.And it was an interesting experience.And actually, it was a neighborhoodwhich was largely Jewish.And there was very little crime in that time.

    • 11:45

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: It has since become black, inhabited by black people.And it's very high crime now.But the problem that I focused onwas really a different problem from the one in whichmany criminologists focus on.

    • 12:07

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: I asked the question, why is there so little crime?Shouldn't everybody be tempted?Remember, if you think the world is populatedby egocentric bastards and they're are upagainst egocentric bastards, then

    • 12:29

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: the question is, why do these egocentric bastards restrainthemselves?So that was the-- is that a problem of crime?I guess it's a problem of crime.But it's the other side of the problem.

    • 12:44

      SPEAKER: OK.When you think about the body of your work,how would you characterize is it?Is there one overarching theme, a narrativethat inheres throughout?Or are there separate elements here?Or more discreet elements that you think are important?

    • 13:04

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, maybe I shouldsay the overarching theme was contrariness.

    • 13:13

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 13:16

      JACKSON TOBY: For example, I got-- remember,my initial interest was educational maladjustment.And maladjustment was characteristicof the Italian kids.And why were they maladjusted?Well, their culture had taught themthat the school was the enemy.

    • 13:37

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: It was a Roman school.And they were interested in going back to the farmand so on.So they were rural people attemptingto live in an urban environment.And so when they wanted to get somewhere,they moved into the mafia and the rackets and so on.

    • 14:01

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: The Jewish kids became lawyers and doctors and veterinariansand so on because their education,their cultural orientation, treated them to or exposed themto the desirability of education.Now, actually, the Jewish background

    • 14:23

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: was not a secular education.It was a religious education.But it was easy to transfer.So the Jewish kids were more successful in school.They stayed in school longer.They graduated.They went to college.And they-- as a byproduct of this-- they committed fewercrimes, many fewer crimes.

    • 14:44

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: So let's see, I'm now returning to your question.

    • 14:49

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 14:49

      JACKSON TOBY: I-- my strategy, generally,is not to answer a question but to kind of surround it.And I'm surrounding your question.Now, when-- still interested in education,I noticed that people were very upset when kids dropped out

    • 15:11

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: of school.And about 1978 or 9, I became interested in a study,very large study by the National Institute of Education,of school violence, assault and robberies in school.

    • 15:34

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And I published my first article on this subject in 1980,in the public interest, called "Crime in American Schools."There were thousands of cases.It was a very large statistical sample.And the question was, why did these kids commit crimes?

    • 15:59

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And why was there school violence and so on?And I came to the conclusion that the main problemwas that they weren't interested in school.And they amused themselves by driving the teachers outof school and out of the professionand picking on others students and masturbatingin the last row and other interesting things.

    • 16:23

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: So when everybody was so excited about keeping kids in school,I began writing articles saying, well,why are we so upset about this?Maybe they should drop out of school.After all, school is not a custodial institution.It's an educational institution.At that point, I got my 15 minutes of fame.

    • 16:48

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: No, it wasn't it was only 7.I was invited to go on the Today Show.And a charming woman by the name of Jane Pauley interviewed me.And she had actually read my article, one of my articles.

    • 17:10

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: I've forgotten which one it was.And it was a nice experience.And I talked about it.And I was also interviewed by Charlie Rose.He hadn't read the article, but he knew he was against it.So I don't think it had much impact.

    • 17:31

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: I don't think I have had tremendous amount of impact.But I continue to express my views on the subject.

    • 17:38

      SPEAKER: Was it controversial within the field?Or was it just out right rebuffedbecause it was too beyond--

    • 17:44

      JACKSON TOBY: It was ignored.Ignored.I don't think very many people paid very much attention.Although, I wrote a number of articles on this subject.

    • 17:53

      SPEAKER: Sure.Yeah.Now, when you look back on your career, whatdo you think-- what would you prefer studentsof the next generation to refer to you as being the referencepoint for?That's Jackson.

    • 18:14

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, let's see.I guess-- I thought and think of criminology and sociologyas descriptive disciplines, as attempts

    • 18:37

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to describe the world as it is.And some of the things that I saidran against ideological currents that-- so for example,

    • 19:04

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to say that dropping out is not a bad thing is horrendous.But I thought that it was really the truth, that this was notthe way to run a school system, that if we

    • 19:25

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: were interested in education, we wantto have kids in the school who are interested in learningsomething.So let's see, getting back to your question.How do I want to be remembered?Is that-- that's your question?

    • 19:42

      SPEAKER: Yeah, I guess in some senseit is, because there is a very thumbnail sketch of you.It's 1957.It's stakes in conformity.That's who you are.But when I read the broad totality of your work,I notice that you really do touchupon a variety of different subjects.Largely because I think the Parsonian element

    • 20:02

      SPEAKER [continued]: in your thinking has a sort of abiding notion.It's rather broad in it's scope.

    • 20:10

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, let me--

    • 20:11

      SPEAKER: But I do put you definitely within the controltradition--

    • 20:15

      JACKSON TOBY: Yes, that's right.

    • 20:16

      SPEAKER: --because you share many of those classic,fundamental assumptions that--

    • 20:21

      JACKSON TOBY: Yeah, well let me see how to put it.I think of-- let's go back to my dissertation.

    • 20:39

      SPEAKER: All right.

    • 20:41

      JACKSON TOBY: I thought, at that time,that the problem was not explainingwhy people commit crimes.Everybody should commit crimes if they're egocentric bastards.

    • 21:03

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: The question is, why don't more people commit crimes?And so I was interested all the time in incentives.I thought that the way to-- now, one incentiveis to offer opportunities, educational opportunities.

    • 21:25

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But not-- I mean, if you can makemoney legitimately and prestige and a good life that way,why should you risk going to prison by stealing?But of course, not everybody has that opportunity.

    • 21:47

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: If you don't make a judicious choice of parents.Of course, I'm joking.but it's a sick joke.Some unfortunate kids don't-- are brought into the world verycasually by people who are just screwing around, literally.

    • 22:12

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And they have to bring themselves up.And self-bringing up doesn't leadto very disciplined behavior.So by the time they get to school,they are not in a very good positionto prepare for Harvard, even if they were great,

    • 22:37

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: if they had tremendous capacity at birth.So-- and then there are people who by misfortune havea genetic problem which prevents them intellectually

    • 23:02

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: from developing.So John F. Kennedy said, life is not fair.No, it is not fair.If you don't choose the right parents,if you don't have the right genes,you don't have those-- some of the opportunities.

    • 23:22

      SPEAKER: The family seems to play a very important rolein much of your thinking.

    • 23:27

      JACKSON TOBY: What did you say?

    • 23:28

      SPEAKER: The family seems to play an important rolein a lot of your thinking.It seems to be somewhat of a mainstay for you becauseof those acculturating elements there.Is that is an accurate assessment?

    • 23:41

      JACKSON TOBY: Yes, it is.It is.Even-- what many people would think of as a bad family,is better than no family at all.Most children do not grow up in the woods nurtured by a wolf.And while even kids who become delinquent and drug pushers

    • 24:09

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: have some nuturant person.But what they need is a partnership of two--they need a real family.They need a father and a mother or two parents of the same sex,perhaps.

    • 24:31

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: They need to sit down at supper.They need to talk.They need somebody to ask them, what happened in school today?They need someone to help them with their homework.And some kids just don't have that.Now, let me give you one who illustration.A colleague of mine, a sociologist at Princeton,

    • 24:54

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: said that he was in a classroom where the teacher was tryingto-- he was not teaching the class itself--but he was trying-- the teacher wastrying to establish that the family was--had become streamlined and modernized and is different

    • 25:17

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: and so on.And she asked the students how many of themare living with your biological parents.And nearly all of them raised their hand.She was flabbergasted.She thought that there would be divorcedkids, who were children of divorce, and this and that.

    • 25:40

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But there were not very many.His point was that the reason they got to Princetonwas that they had a very good family background.

    • 25:53

      SPEAKER: I think I made a count of that paperin the literature.It's really interesting that you reference that point.Now, thinking about some of your hallmarks or your traitsas a scholar, what do you think the most distinctive elementsof what define you as a scholar are?

    • 26:13

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, as I was saying,I think the emphasis on incentives.

    • 26:20

      SPEAKER: And disincentives as well?

    • 26:22

      JACKSON TOBY: And disincentives.Both.They're both two sides of the same coin.I don't think that the notion of some

    • 26:44

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: criminologists that criminals arepoor or disadvantaged people who needservices, who need social workers and benefitsand this and that.I think they need goals.

    • 27:03

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 27:04

      JACKSON TOBY: And they need the ability to reach those goals.

    • 27:07

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 27:07

      JACKSON TOBY: And that's a different approach.So--

    • 27:14

      SPEAKER: Do you think that informssome of your more recent work there, a lot of the critiquesthat you have, in terms of what'sgoing on with college culture, howit's become bloated in some ways and misfinancedin many regards?Do you think that-- does that relateto the body of your work?Or could you connect the dots for me here?

    • 27:37

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, I'm not sure that Ican connect the dots on that.I do think that the-- I've done a lot of work on student loans.

    • 27:48

      SPEAKER: Yes.

    • 27:49

      JACKSON TOBY: And I think the student loanprogram is a very-- is a bad program in some ways.Because students are taught, they learn,this is an incentive.

    • 28:10

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And if they go to college, they'regoing to get a high paid job.But if they go to college and they major in fun,they may not get a high-paid job.Instead, they may have a very high debtthat they owe to the Department of Education

    • 28:30

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to finance this college, which was goingto put them on easy street.So in some ways, unintentionally,American society has set up a program which is almost a scam.If students don;t prepare for the kind of jobs that college

    • 28:56

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: will lead them to, they're not going to be able to pay offtheir student loans.So that poses a problem, unless societyis willing to not only make the loans but pay it off for them.There's now a trillion dollars worth of them now.

    • 29:14

      SPEAKER: You've been very public in this--

    • 29:16

      JACKSON TOBY: I'm sorry.I didn't hear that.

    • 29:17

      SPEAKER: You've very public in offering this critique here.Now, how has that been received?Are you seen as some sort of Cassandra here,is dismissed as being someone whois attempting to sort of rain on this parade of--

    • 29:33

      JACKSON TOBY: I don't-- I haven't even been on the TodayShow.But if I had been, and I had said these things,no one would of been paying any attention.I don't think people are terribly worried, yes.Although, there are a lot of other people whoare saying the same thing.I'm not unique.I did say it.

    • 29:53

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: I think I began-- my book was first published in 2009,and the last two chapters of the book, 6 and 7,discusses student loans extensively.

    • 30:10

      SPEAKER: Yes

    • 30:12

      JACKSON TOBY: Of course, if anybody-- well,I know some people read the book.But maybe they didn't get to chapter 6 and 7.But whether they did or not, it didn't-- it was warning thatthe student debt was a serious problem.

    • 30:32

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But now it's become a more serious problem,as more people are warning.

    • 30:39

      SPEAKER: I think at some point, you cited the fact that studentdebt has now outstripped credit card debt, whichis unprecedented, in terms of the--

    • 30:45

      JACKSON TOBY: Yes, that's true.Yes, it's not just credit card debtof students but of everybody.

    • 30:50

      SPEAKER: Correct.Again-- in a retrospective mode here-- thinking backon your career, are there any thingsthat you look back on with some measure of, maybe,I don't know if regret might be too strong a word,but things that you may wish you had done more ofor avenues that you thought were fruitful

    • 31:13

      SPEAKER [continued]: that you could of pursued?

    • 31:17

      JACKSON TOBY: Yes, that's a good question.That's a good question.I think that I-- when I was chair of the department,I should have attempted to bring a lot of other criminologists.I did bring one, Daniel Glaser, very good criminologist.But unfortunately, his wife got sick

    • 31:37

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: and he moved to California.But I didn't think that it was important to builda department.And I didn't do it.I thought, well, I'm covering that.And I'll get people in other fields.That was a big mistake.I think I was a lousy chairman.

    • 31:58

      SPEAKER: There's been a critique of sociologyin the line of, well, it's farmed out devianceto criminology.Now criminology does the deviance thing.And if you want to study that kind of thing,that's the kind of thing-- that's the kind of departmentthat you ought to be in.Do you think that's a fair kind of assessment that accounts

    • 32:18

      SPEAKER [continued]: for the divergence of the two?

    • 32:21

      JACKSON TOBY: I'm not sure I understand your question.

    • 32:24

      SPEAKER: I'm wondering where the divide between sociologyand criminology began?Or what's the cause of that rift there?

    • 32:36

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, of course, there are a number of rifts.There's criminal justice.

    • 32:44

      SPEAKER: Correct.

    • 32:45

      JACKSON TOBY: And there's social work.Now, sociology's constantly beingconfused with social work.And I have always been interested in understandingcertain basic intellectual problems.

    • 33:08

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: For example, two of the major problemsis, why do people commit crimes?And second is, is society capable of making them--of getting them to stop?

    • 33:25

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 33:26

      JACKSON TOBY: And finally, or I shouldn't say finally.But another important problem is, how do wereduce the crime rate?Apart from people, is there somethingwe can do to reduce the crime rate?If the world is full of egocentric bastards,maybe there is something we can doto reduce the crime rate without trying

    • 33:49

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to rehabilitate, for example.

    • 33:51

      SPEAKER: All right.

    • 33:52

      JACKSON TOBY: Now, I don't know whether youhave interviewed Ronald Clarke.

    • 34:01

      SPEAKER: No.

    • 34:02

      JACKSON TOBY: You should.He has done very, very important work in this area.And the area is situational crime prevention.Now, what he has pointed out is that in terms of social policy,

    • 34:23

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: we are not necessarily interested in rehabilitatingpeople.We are interested in keeping the crime rate down,whether they're still the egocentric bastards they alwayswere.Now, how did you do that?Well, he has shown-- he has many, many studies.

    • 34:48

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: I've reviewed a book of history for him, that is of his work,called Reasoning Criminologist.

    • 34:58

      SPEAKER: [INAUDIBLE] book.

    • 34:59

      JACKSON TOBY: And it's not in my bibliography.Although, I am unorganized to where obviouslyanyone could find it.Any way, there are some things you can do.Now, for example-- I'll give you one example that he has used.

    • 35:22

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: At one point, Germany said, all right,if people don't want to use motorcycle helmets,they're risking their lives.But we won't require them to do it.Finally, they decided we'll make a law.

    • 35:44

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And we'll require them to use motorcycle helmets.When they required motorcycle helmets,the rate of theft of motorcycles droppedby 20, 30, 40, 50%, very gray.Why?Well, when you stop somewhere, it'shard to take the motorcycle in with you.

    • 36:06

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But you can take the motorcycle helmet in with you.And knowing that the police will notice youif you steal a motorcycle and you're notriding with a helmet, produced-- some of the egocentric bastardsstopped stealing motorcycles.

    • 36:27

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: That's one example.There are many examples that he gives.So I think his work is very, very importantbecause we're interested in keeping the crime rate down.Whether we succeed in changing people or not,is a different question.And as a matter of fact, we are not very interested in it.

    • 36:48

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: We're very successful in changing people.It's very, very hard to get peopleto stop overeating, over-smoking, over-drinking--all kinds of things-- over-burglarizing,over-car theft, and so forth.So I think if we're thinking of keeping the crime rate down--

    • 37:17

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: and I think social policy is more interested in thatthan in changing people's personalities.We can't do that very well.The Chinese communists do better.They're able to do that.But they use methods we don't use.

    • 37:33

      SPEAKER: Now, If you have an opportunity to reach outto the next generation there, what kinds of advice would yoube offering to them, in terms of-- how will you-- would you--

    • 37:43

      JACKSON TOBY: Given my--

    • 37:44

      SPEAKER: --make them a better scholar, a bettercriminologist, a better sociologist?What kinds of things would you advise them to do?

    • 37:54

      JACKSON TOBY: You know, I taught great big classes.I calculated that I had about 20,000 people thatpassed through my classes.

    • 38:03

      SPEAKER: Wow.

    • 38:04

      JACKSON TOBY: I keep up with a couple of them.One of them is still in the field.He's doing some work on football violence, thatis soccer violence in Europe.But the other is running a major league soccer program.

    • 38:24

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: But out of 20,000, there isn't very-- there aren't very many.So I don't know that I have much advice.My batting average is poor.

    • 38:39

      SPEAKER: That's fair enough.When you look at criminology, do youhave any advice for just the field in general?Or how would you assess where it is intellectually,in terms of its development and it's output?Just a broad assessment, in termsof-- what's criminologist--

    • 38:59

      JACKSON TOBY: Too ideological.

    • 39:02

      SPEAKER: Is that a vestige or a lineageor a legacy of the sociological connection?Or what do you think that comes from?

    • 39:10

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, let me define what I mean.Ideology is something that you believebecause it is required by a group that you are a member of.That's an ideology.It isn't something informed by scientific studies or efforts

    • 39:32

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to-- now, I would like criminology and sociologyto be disciplines in the sense that you control your desire

    • 39:56

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: to be liked by members of your own group.And you follow whether [INAUDIBLE].And I think that one of the reasons whyI find some of the sociology meetingsand some of the criminology-- American Society of Criminology

    • 40:18

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: meetings boring is that they keep sayingthe same things to one another.Because they all agree with one another.

    • 40:28

      SPEAKER: How do fix that?

    • 40:31

      JACKSON TOBY: I don't know how to fix it.

    • 40:33

      SPEAKER: No.

    • 40:33

      JACKSON TOBY: Develop character.

    • 40:37

      SPEAKER: An interesting question there.What kinds of things are you doing today?Certainly, you have an emeritus position here.You're still active.You're still scribbling and producing op-eds and workfor the American [INAUDIBLE].

    • 40:53

      JACKSON TOBY: I still am writing articles, which no one ispaying much attention to.I'm also reinventing myself as a playwright.But no one is interested in producing my plays.So it's a failed life.But let me say that I'm-- that one of my plays, I think,

    • 41:17

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: is dealing with a very interesting sociological topic.It's called Staggering Toward Adulthood at Rutgers.And it's a play dealing with a problem which is characteristic

    • 41:42

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: of modern societies.Modern societies are so mobile that it is extremely difficultto find people who are living in the same house

    • 42:02

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: that they lived in from birth, that their parents lived in,that their grandparents lived in,that their great parents lived in.And of course, that means that the people around themare strangers.So there's an awful lot that peoplehave to learn as they grow up in society.

    • 42:26

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: They have to leave the family, a horrific experience.And some people don't make it.Some people start out at college and after two weeks,they rush home.And they never go on.They have to learn to get along with other people.They have to learn to develop social relationships,sexual relationships.

    • 42:48

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: There are many things.So that's why I call it Staggering Toward Adulthood.And what I have is three characters whostagger in different ways through their career at Rutgersin the course of my play.Given my past experience, it is not going to land on Broadway.

    • 43:12

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: And it's not going to influence a lot of people.But that's what I'm doing.

    • 43:17

      SPEAKER: All right.In conclusion here, is there anything that I may have missedor a parting thought here, in terms of somethingyou'd like to contribute?

    • 43:30

      JACKSON TOBY: I can't think of anything right at the moment.

    • 43:34

      SPEAKER: All right.Perhaps we'll cover that at our dinner here that's coming.

    • 43:38

      JACKSON TOBY: OK, great.

    • 43:39

      SPEAKER: But we appreciate your time here and inviting usinto your house and think we learned an awful lottoday about the broad breath of your intellectual output here.So we hope that the wider criminologycommunity enjoys this as well.So thank you.

    • 43:56

      JACKSON TOBY: Great.

    • 43:57

      SPEAKER: All right.Doctor Toby is probably best knownfor his 1957 contribution on stakes and conformity.I think we'd be remiss here if wewere to overlook that entirely.I want to go back over this and make surethat we've covered this in enough ground here.Could you tell us a little bit about where the idea came from,

    • 44:18

      SPEAKER [continued]: the origins of the idea?

    • 44:21

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, as I mentioned before, I reallyhad a chapter or several chaptersin my dissertation, PhD dissertation,on stake in conformity.And I argued, and later embodied this in that article

    • 44:44

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: and in another article, which was a longerversion, that Jewish kids, as opposed to Italian kids,had a greater stake in conformity.That is why they had lower crime rates.

    • 45:04

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: They had more to lose.They had careers to lose.They looked to the future.And I thought this was an idea whichhad resonance in many areas.

    • 45:17

      SPEAKER: And to what do you attribute the popularityof this particular idea?

    • 45:25

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, it isn't really an original idea.I'm sure.I mean, people knew for hundreds of yearsthat some people had more to lose by bad behavior

    • 45:47

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: than other people.

    • 45:48

      SPEAKER: Yes.

    • 45:50

      JACKSON TOBY: And-- but I put a tag on it.

    • 45:55

      SPEAKER: OK.

    • 45:56

      JACKSON TOBY: And let me give you an analogy.Argument by analogy is consideredthe lowest form of argument.Nevertheless, I use it all the time.Joseph Schumpeter, the economics professor--

    • 46:12

      SPEAKER: Yes.

    • 46:13

      JACKSON TOBY: --whom I knew at Harvard, and I loved.He was a wonderful man and a brilliant scholar,wrote many, many things.But what he will be remembered for most are two words--

    • 46:28

      SPEAKER: --"creative destruction."

    • 46:30

      JACKSON TOBY: "Creative destruction."It's a great package to summarize a phenomenonin which people knew about.They knew that the buggy whip industrywas ruined by the automobile.But when he said "creative destruction,"

    • 46:52

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: people understood it.Now my stake in conformity idea isn't as popularas "creative destruction."But it did get some resonance.And I don't think it was absorbed-- the principle wasabsorbed so fully, that is to say,

    • 47:18

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: when-- if people used the idea, they would be moreinterested in things like buildingeducational preparation for careers

    • 47:43

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: in a more systematic way, instead of preventing dropouts,even if the dropouts were not profiting at allfrom their scholastic activity.

    • 47:55

      SPEAKER: Where would you fit this ideaof stakes in conformity with the movement and the controldirection that seemed to be apparent tothat particular point in time?Was control theory kind of set to the side?It wasn't really popular.And this notion gave it sort of a kick?

    • 48:14

      JACKSON TOBY: You probably know more about it than I do.I'm not sure.It doesn't seem to me that it's that popular.Do you think it's that popular?

    • 48:25

      SPEAKER: It seemed to come out at a particular point in timewhere there were a few ideas that were kind of apparent.I think Al Reese had published a piece at roughly the same timeperiod there.Social disorganization, from what I know,was kind of on the outs but control theoryat an individual level.

    • 48:45

      SPEAKER [continued]: At least in my humble information.

    • 48:48

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, of course the questionis, why-- of course, even more than Al Reese isTravis Hirschi.

    • 49:00

      SPEAKER: Correct, yes.

    • 49:01

      JACKSON TOBY: Now he focused on the differencebetween criminality, which was a characteristic of the person,and crime, which was a characteristic of the situationto it.And he made a sharp distinction there.And he argued that there is variation in criminality based

    • 49:26

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: on the extent to which people controltheir impulses to deviate.I don't think that-- even though his books were brilliantand his articles were brilliant, that he went veryfar in a direction of explaining how

    • 49:50

      JACKSON TOBY [continued]: you build in learning experiences,develop those controls.Although, he did talk about the family and the schooland so on.And he stressed the family very much.

    • 50:05

      SPEAKER: Yes.

    • 50:06

      JACKSON TOBY: As you have-- when you asked the question,you dealt with that question.

    • 50:10

      SPEAKER: Do you think it was subsumed by Travis,he kind of took that idea maybe and incorporated it,saw some value in this construct that you had put together?

    • 50:20

      JACKSON TOBY: He did.And he very specifically he mentions it, yes.

    • 50:28

      SPEAKER: So where do you think the idea of stakesin conformity sits currently here?

    • 50:34

      JACKSON TOBY: Well, it's like the library.The library has a lot of books and some of themaren't read anymore.But they're there.It's around.But I don't-- I wouldn't call-- the New York Times is not goingto run it tomorrow.

    • 50:57

      SPEAKER: That's fair enough.

    • 50:60

      JACKSON TOBY: I hope they do.

    • 51:02

      SPEAKER: Well, you never know.In any event, I think that's an adequate characterization,from the beginning of your originsto the conclusion of here, where it currently stands, so.

    • 51:12

      JACKSON TOBY: Thank you.Thank you.OK.

An Interview with Jackson Toby

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Abstract

Professor Jackson Toby is best known for his criminology work on stakes in conformity. He discusses his career path, his work on deviance, and how he wants to be remembered in the field.

An Interview with Jackson Toby

Professor Jackson Toby is best known for his criminology work on stakes in conformity. He discusses his career path, his work on deviance, and how he wants to be remembered in the field.

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