SOC 511 Inequality & Crime

This seminar explores the relationship between social stratification and different crime and criminal justice issues. There are considerable debates over the causal relationship between inequality and crime. Some theories and research suggest inequality causes crime, while others argue criminal behaviors and social responses to these behaviors perpetuate social stratification. Throughout the semester, we will consider inequalities as both causes and consequences of crime. We will first explore the structure of stratification in U.S. society (e.g. income, race, gender) and how criminal behaviors vary across these different strata. Students will learn about alternate criminological theories and classic empirical studies relevant to the relationship between inequality and crime. In addition, the seminar will discuss how criminal justice policies in the U.S. maintain and reinforce social inequality.