SOC 240  Social Problems  Spring 2001  Brewer

Discussion and homework questions for week 5

For each reading assignment, please write a paragraph in response to those questions with an asterisk (*). Turn in your paragraph at the beginning of class on the day we discuss that reading assignment. Your homework should be typed or legibly handwritten. Make sure you put your name, date, course number, and the reading assignment on your homework. Each assignment is due at the beginning of class.

Fleisher, ch. 2-5 (due March 12)

1. Aside from child abuse and harsh parenting, what other correlates or risk factors for crime that we discussed in class do you see in the personal histories Fleisher describes?  Give a few examples.

*2. Fleisher notes that the defensive worldview may be adaptive (promoting survival) for children growing up in the chaotic environments he describes.  But then he suggests that the defensive worldview may be maladaptive (in the non-evolutionary sense of promoting failure in the conventional world - problems in school, with the law, etc.) in the teen and adult years.  Point to examples in the book that such a worldview may indeed be adaptive (in terms of promoting survival and reproduction).

3. What are some examples of the r-strategies that the criminals and their parents have used?

*4. Describe the evidence for status striving among Fleisher's informants.  How is it expressed?

5. Based on the evidence Fleisher discusses, describe the processes by which criminal groups such as gangs form.

6. According to Fleisher's informants, what were the common factors precipitating violence (including murder) between males?

7. Where are criminals most likely to get medical, dental, mental health, educational, and vocational, and other human services?

Fleisher, ch. 6-7 (due March 14)

*8. What are the implications of Fleisher's analysis for programs based on the educational model (i.e., the Standard Social Science Model as described earlier in the course)?  What are the prospects for reshaping adult criminals' behavior by providing education, appropriate role models, lawful social environments, and jobs?