Chicago School of Sociology
Courtney A. Waid
In the late 1800s, the sociologist Émile Durkheim theorized that areas experiencing rapid social change would experience few, if any, informal social controls, which would result in an increase in crime and delinquency. This framework was utilized by sociologists working at the University of Chicago during the years of the early 20th century in efforts to understand which environmental factors contributed to increased rates of crime and delinquency in specific neighborhoods. In determining correlations between neighborhood location and higher crime and delinquency rates, it was hypothesized that social-structural determinants of crime could be identified. Through the work of George Herbert Mead, Robert Park, Ernest Burgess, Frederic Thrasher, and Florian Znaniecki, the Chicago School of Sociology was founded, thus beginning a rich tradition in the sociological inquiry into the dynamics of the urban environment and its relationship to crime and delinquency. Eventually, through the work of Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay, ...