Test your knowledge of this chapter’s material by determining whether the following statements are true or false. Be sure to compare your answers with the answers on page 150.
1. Social structural theorists focus upon how factors inside of a person’s conscious control influence delinquency.
2. According to Durkheim, anomie occurs when shared norms are no longer apparent.
3. Merton theorized that there are 10 primary ways by which people adjust to the strain created by societal goals and the legitimate means to obtain those goals.
4. Social disorganization theory is often used to focus on delinquency rates between neighborhoods or geographical regions.
5. According to Park and Burgess’s concentric zone model, we can expect that the rate of street delinquency in the commuter zone will be lower than the rate of street delinquency in the zone of transition.
6. Frazier’s work on delinquency in the black community focused on the influence of disorganization outside of downtown Chicago on migrants from the South.
7. Most studies have found that collective efficacy makes the social disorganization of a neighborhood worse.
8. According to research, girls may experience the impact of neighborhood effects, such as collective efficacy, in different ways than boys.
1. The “I Have a Dream” Foundation focuses upon education as a pathway to a conventional lifestyle. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach?
2. What component of Merton’s theory does this program work to change: the legitimate means of achieving the American Dream, or the end goal of the American Dream itself? What might the program look like if it set out to change the component it doesn’t currently address as well? Would it be possible for program administrators to do so? Why or why not?
Sources: “I Have a Dream” Foundation. (2016). What we do. Retrieved from http://www.ihaveadreamfoundation.org/what-we-do/;
“I Have a Dream” Foundation—Los Angeles. (2016). How it works: IHADLA educating children in poverty changes communities. Retrieved from http://www.ihadla.org/how-it-works
with any paper
1. What are the connections that can be found between the themes of the teenagers’ editorials and the main ideas of social disorganization theory? In other words, how are these youth drawing upon social disorganization concepts to make their arguments?
2. What sorts of suggestions might a social disorganization theorist make in response to the concerns of the young people?
Source: Adapted from Classroom Voices (2012, April 7). Chicago Tribune, Opinion. Retrieved from
Given the findings of the study, what sorts of societal changes would help reduce the likelihood that foster youth will engage in delinquency after their placement in a new neighborhood?
What sorts of programs and policies would support these changes?
What recommendations would you make to foster care administrators about how to place foster youth with foster families?
Would you have different recommendations based on gender? Why or why not?
1. After watching at least 30 minutes of The Interrupters online, what do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the violence intervention that is shown in the documentary?
2. How does the notion of “interrupting violence” through community outreach relate to social disorganization theory?
Sources: PBS Video. (2012, February 14). The Interrupters. Frontline. Retrieved from
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/interrupters/; Associated Press (2015). Anti-violence programs shut down as Chicago shootings climb (Oct. 9). Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-ceasefire-funds-frozen-aschicago-shootings-climb-20151009-story.html
1. Assess the relevance of Merton’s notion of the American Dream in the 21st century. Do you think that young people still subscribe to a vision of success based upon materialism? Explain why or why not.
2. What are the implications of Merton’s categorization of nondeviant and deviant adaptations to social strain? Do you agree with the assumptions on which he based his model?
3. What can community activists and policymakers do to curb delinquency in your neighborhood or one nearby by using the insights from differential opportunity theory?
4. Social disorganization theorists ask us to think about delinquency in terms that draw upon the field of plant ecology, rather than in the psychological terms that dominate popular discussions of deviance. What does this allow us to see that we wouldn’t otherwise? If social disorganization were the most popular explanation of juvenile delinquency today, how might that change mainstream
responses to juvenile wrongdoing or norm breaking?
5. What are some of the race, class, and/or gender concerns addressed by anomie and social disorganization theories? What race, class, and gender concerns go unaddressed in these theories?
6. Compare and contrast anomie and social disorganization theory explanations for delinquency. Which do you think is the best equipped to deal with delinquency issues today?
Chapter Pretest Answers