Social Disorganization Theory

In general, social disorganization theory maintains that the cause of delinquency (i.e., crime) is associated with locations rather than individuals. This theory is based on research findings that suggest delinquency occurs in the same areas as social problems like unemployment and poverty. This makes social disorganization theory a macro-level theory because the units of analysis are neighborhoods and communities, not offenders. Social disorganization theory is a mix of control theory and learning theory. Many of the controls evaluated by social disorganization theory are informal controls. When a neighborhood or community is unable to maintain social controls (i.e., agreed-upon values and norms), the result is an atmosphere in which crime more easily occurs. This entry examines the history of social disorganization theory, the relationship between neighborhood ...

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