Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Social Disorganization Theory
Social disorganization theory argues that crime and delinquency rates are a direct result of a heterogeneous, transitional, and poverty-stricken social ecology. Over time, poverty-stricken neighborhoods decay and deteriorate into crime-filled neighborhoods. Individuals from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds who cannot afford suburban living will move into cheap urban housing without strong ties to each other. The diversity of cultures will not allow strong social bonds to develop, and individuals become disinterested in maintaining community ties to prevent criminal activity. As the community continues to deteriorate, residents who can afford to relocate to other neighborhoods will leave at their earliest opportunity, thus even further hindering the development of community attachment. Social disorganization theory was first developed by Ernest Burgess and Robert Park, who were associated with the famed Chicago School of Sociology in the early 20th century. They argued that the social ecology of a city could be examined through a ...