Social Disorganization and Strain Perspectives on Race and Crime
The focus in this chapter is on sociological perspectives. The chapter begins by introducing readers to the pioneering works of black sociologists Kelly Miller and W.E.B. Du Bois. Du Bois’ criminological classic, The Philadelphia Negro (1899/1996), is reviewed in depth. The development of social disorganization theory at the University of Chicago is reviewed. Recent expansions of concepts tied to social disorganization including “The Truly Disadvantaged,” collective efficacy, mass incarceration, and middle-class crime are discussed. The second part of the chapter reviews strain theories, including Anomie Theory and General Strain Theory (GST). The literature that tests the validity of the GST to explaining racial disparities is reviewed.