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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Sociology of Delinquency (SOCI 302)
Instructor: Patricia A. Masters, Ph.D.
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, prior to class, or by appointment.
Office Address: 326B Robinson Hall (in the Sociology and Anthropology Department)
Home Office Phone: 703/471-9830 (Note: This number is for my office at home where you can contact me directly or leave a message. Please do not call after 9:30 p.m.)
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
During this semester, we will look at the development of sociological explanations for juvenile delinquency, definitions of "delinquency," the experience of delinquents and their social circumstances, and policy approaches and outcomes.
Though the GMU Catalog states "absence alone is not reason for lowering a grade," in this class, failure to participate because of excessive absences will lead to your receiving a lower grade. Clearly, you cannot participate in a class which you do not attend; further, much of the material in this class will be covered in lectures, through videos, and in discussions, all of which provide a context for your reading. The policy for awarding participation points is as follows: You may miss up to four classes without losing points for participation. These absences may be due to family emergencies, illness, or “car trouble,” and you need not present any documentation or excuse for your absence. Beyond these absences, however, I will deduct points for participation. (It seems prudent not to use these absences “frivolously” so that if you run into difficulties late in the semester, you have no “free” absences left.) If you miss class, you are responsible for getting any materials that were passed out during your absence and getting notes from other students. Ten (10) points of your grade will be assessed on the basis of participation.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING CRITERIA
Your grade will be based on four take-home assignments. The tests will cover the theoretical material and ethnographic treatments of delinquency that we read during the semester. Questions for the Decker and VanWinkle, Sullivan, and Miller books are attached to this syllabus. I will distribute questions for the Hagan and McCarthy book later in the semester.
Assignments will be weighted as follows: points for Test 1:15: points for tests 2 and 3: 25; point for test 4: 20; points for participation in group work: 15 (this means that you must be present for classes when groups are providing answers to questions). Letter grades will be assigned as follows:
100-95 points = A
91-94 points = A-
88-90 points = B+
84-87 points = B
81-84 points = B-
77-80 points = C+
72-76 points = C
69-70 points = C-
67-69 points = D
66 or fewer points = F
George Mason University, like all Virginia universities and colleges, operates under an Honor System, the provisions of which are spelled out in the University Catalog.. As a faculty member, I am obligated to enforce this code, and any violations will result in an "F" for the course and possible academic suspension or dismissal. You should familiarize yourself with the requirements for citing sources of ideas and quotations that you use in your course work because lack of familiarity with "the rules" can lead to inadvertent plagiarism. Proper citation is also important to good scholarship. Finally, you are obligated to report any violations of the Honor Code by other students that you observe.
If at any time you have questions about the material we are covering or other concerns about the course, I am available to discuss them with you, either during my regular office hours, at a time that is mutually convenient outside of these hours, or on the phone.
TEXTBOOKS AND OTHER MATERIALS
Please bring your books to class with you so that we can refer to them during discussions. Also, note that the bookstore starts returning "excess" books to publishers shortly after the middle of the semester. So, if you wait to buy your books on an "as needed" or "when I can afford it" basis, you may not find copies still on the shelf. Usually, though not always, I do have an extra copy of each of the books that I place on reserve at the Johnson Center, but the time limit on checking them out is one day or less.
BOOKS WE WILL USE THIS SEMESTER ARE:
Stuart H. Traub and Craig B. Little. 1999. Theories of Deviance. 5th edition. Itasca, IL: Peacock Publishers.
Scott H. Decker and Barrik Van Winkle. 1996. Life in the Gang: Family, Friends, and Violence. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. View the Decker study questions.
Mercer L. Sullivan. 1989. "Getting Paid": Youth Crime and Work in the Inner City. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. View the Sullivan questions.
Jody Miller. 2001. One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender. New York: Oxford University Press. View the Miller questions.
Patricia Hersch. 1999. A Tribe Apart: A Journey Into the Heart of American Adolescence. New York: Ballantine Books.
Jack Katz. 1988. Seductions of Crime: Moral and Sensual Attractions in Doing Evil. New York: Basic Books. Chapters 1, 2, and 4. Multiple copies of Katz's book are on reserve at the Johnson Media Center. You must xerox copies of this material prior to coming to the class and bring your copies to class when we discuss it.
John Hagan and Bill McCarthy. 1997. Mean Streets: Youth Crime and Homelessness. New York: Cambridge University Press.
CLASS TOPICS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
All assignments should be read BEFORE the beginning of each class. The readings are listed by week, because it is sometimes hard to predict the speed at which a class gets through the material. You should be on top of the reading for the week on Monday so that we can move ahead quickly.
Week 1--August 30-September 1: Overview of the course and Justice System; Ecological Theories and Anomie
Theories of Deviance, read: Chapter I, Introduction; #3 Erickson; Chapter II, Introduction; #6 Thomas and Znaniecki; #7 Park; #8 Farris and Dunham; Chapter III, Introduction; #12 Merton; #13 Cloward.
Week 2--September 6 (Labor Day Holiday, no class) and September 8: Differential Association, Neutralization, and Social Control Approaches
Theories of Deviance, read: Chapter IV, Introduction; #16, Sutherland and Cressey; #18, Sykes and Matza; #10, Esbensen and Huizinga.
Week 3--September 13-September 15: Control and Labeling Theories
Theories of Deviance, read Chapter V, Introduction; #22, Hirschi ; #23, Gottfredson and Hirschi; #25, Laub and Sampson. Chapter VI, Introduction; #26, Tannenbaum; #27, Lemert; #28, Becker.
Week 4--September 20-September 22: Politics and Class in the Study of Deviance
Theories of Deviance, read Chapter VII, Introduction; #27 and 29. During our Wednesday class, we will see a video titled “Eight Tray Gangster.”
Test 1 distributed on September 22, due in class on September 29.
Week 5--September 27-September 29: The Experience of Delinquency
Read: Chapters 2 and 4 of Jack Katz's Seductions of Crime. Bring you copy of the Katz chapters to class with you so that we can discuss this material on Monday. Also, on Monday, you will be assigned to a group to develop answers to questions on the Decker book which we will discuss during Week 6, so bring your book. You will remain with your group for discussions of the remaining books for the semester.
Week 6--October 4-October 6: The Gang Experience: Males
Read Chapters 1-9 in Decker and VanWinkle’s Life in the Gang Discussion of this book.
Week 7--October 11-October 13: (No class on October 11 due to Columbus Day Holiday; though we would meet on October 12 because of university rescheduling of Monday classes, I will be out of town until the evening of October 12.)
Conclude discussion of Decker and VanWinkle.
Week 8--October 18-October 20: The Gang Experience: Females
Read: Chapters 1-9 in Jody Miller’s book, One of the Guys. Bring this book to class with you. We will spend Monday getting prepared for group discussions of this book, to begin on Wednesday.
Week 9--October 25-October 27: The Gang Experience: Females (continued)
Conclude discussion of Miller. Bring your copy of John Hagan and Bill McCarthy’s book, Mean Streets: Youth Crime and Homelessness to class with you on Wednesday. We will begin discussing this book during Week 10.
Test 2 distributed on October 25 and due in class on November 3.
Week 10--November 1-November 3: Kids on the Street
Read Chapters 1-6 in Hagan and McCarthy’s Mean Streets. Discuss first part of this book.
Week 11--November 8-November 10: Kids on the Street (continued)
Read Chapters 7-10 In Hagan and McCarthy’s Mean Streets. Conclude discussion of Hagan and McCarthy. Bring your copy of Mercer Sullivan’s “Getting Paid:” Youth, Crime and Work in the Inner City to class on Wednesday. You will meet with your group to begin formulating answers to the questions on this book, which we will discuss during Week 12. See book questions to understand how we will approach reading this book in a relatively short time!
Week 12--November 15-November 17: Different Neighborhoods, Different Outcomes
Read Chapters 1-9 in Sullivan’s "Getting Paid". Discuss this book.
Week 13--November 22-November 24: (No class on November 24 due to Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 24 and ends on November 26): Different Neighborhoods. . .(continued)
Conclude discussion of Sullivan. Bring your copy of Patricia Hersch’s book, A Tribe Apart to class with you. At the end of Monday’s class, we will discuss how this book will be approached. approached.
Test 3 distributed in class on November 22 and due in class on December 1.
Week 14--November 29-December 1: Adolescents in the Suburbs–“Crime” or Experimentation
Discussion of Hersch’s book
Week 15--December 6-December 8: Adolescents in the Suburbs (continued)
Discussion of Hersch’s book.
Test 4 distributed in class on December 6 and due on December 13. This assignment is to be turned in to my mailbox in the Sociology Department, Third Floor, Robinson B, by 5:00 p.m. on December 13.
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Patricia Masters Online updated on 09/04/04