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Crime and Society

SOC 134
Willamette University
Spring 2003
David H. Kessel

Class Time: MWF 9:10-10:10
Classroom: Eaton 211
Office: 213 Smullin Hall
Office Telephone: 370-6915
Home Phone: 541-736-0204
Office Hours: 10:30-11:30 & 1:30-2:30 MWF, 4:00-4:30 MF
EMail Address:

Willamette University Homepage
TSS Directory


Course Objectives

Course Description/MOI STATEMENT

General Issues and Policies

Grading Scale

Grading Standards

Required Readings

Online Reader

Schedule of Topics/Readings/Dates


Assignment Instructions

Due Dates

Total Points in Course

Crime & Society Discussion Board

Discussion Board Instructions


This course examines the nature of crime and delinquency, the persons and social situations involved in crime and delinquency, law enforcement agencies and the traditional and current methods of managing offenders.

Method of Inquiry Courses
(The following is from the College of Liberal Arts website)

Understanding Society (US)

Courses satisfying this requirement develop students’ understanding of social phenomena by analyzing and explaining human behavior and social institutions and practices.

Students in these courses should:
-----recognize the dynamic interplay between human agency and social structure;
-----analyze the social processes that underlie or result in specific social institutions, events or outcomes;
-----develop models or theories to explain social phenomena and evaluate those through observation and the collection of data;
-----evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the methods and theories employed.


This means that while this course is about "crime," it's primarily an introduction to sociological thinking and understanding the world (a particular "mode of inquiry"). Thus, we will be spending the initial weeks learning about Sociology, its nature...theories...methods (all the while keeping our "eyes" on "crime"). Then, for the rest of the semester, we will focus on specific "crime" subjects...from a sociological perspective.


Disability Services

If you have a disability of some sort, I encourage you to contact the Disability & Learning Services in Baxter Hall. The phone numbers are (503) 370-6471 / (503) 375-5383 (TT).

Their mission statement is as follows:
"The mission of the Disability & Learning Services office is to facilitate reasonable accommodations for those students with a qualifying disability or temporary medical condition and to provide academic assistance on an individual basis to any undergraduate or graduate student who requests it."

E-Mail Account

You are required to have an active E-Mail account for this class. There will be times I will want to contact you individually or as a class. I know that each of you has a account. However, if you prefer to use another one, that's fine with me...but please include your NAME because not all usernames identify the individual.

*****Then, before the end of this week, please email me at*****

The email can simply be a blank message or you can say whatever you want. I want to compile a class mailing list and it's much easier to do that via a received email message...Thanks.

Computer/Internet Use

You will be asked to use the Internet fairly extensively in this course...for general purposes, particular assignments, and to become familiar with my website, The Sociology Shop (TSS). If you need assistance using a computer or surfing the Internet, there is plenty of help available at Willamette University, online tutorials, and me. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

Assignment Format

You will be required to TYPE your assignments...extremely dire emergencies will be considered, however.

Required Reading

You will have articles from the Criminal Justice reader, from the Online Reader, and other materials online, or handed out...coordinated with the chapters in the Berger, Free, & Searles textbook.

What does this mean? What do I expect in terms of "required readings?" Part of reading required materials is to come to class prepared to comment on or question what you have read.

Although not required as an official assignment, I expect that for each required reading you will come to class with questions/comments/insights/critiques about the what you have read...and be ready to share these with the class. There will be times that I may randomly call on someone to share their ideas...and although you won't be downgraded for not being prepared, being unprepared before others is no fun, right? Right, David.



A..........94-100 (Excellent)
A-.........90-93 (Good/Excellent)

B+........87-89 (Very Good)
B..........83-86 (Good)
B-.........80-82 (Fair/Good)

C+........77-79 (Fair)
C..........73-76 (Fair/Basic)
C-.........70-72 (Basic)

D+........66-69 (Poor/Basic)
D..........60-65 (Poor)

F..........??-59 (Needs More)


We will be following the sequence of subjects...with other particular issues and topics integrated into this sequence. The following schedule and coverage dates is a "best guess" at this point, but at least it gives us a general idea of where we're going. We may spend a longer time on some subjects and a shorter time on others...this will emerge as we progress.

AER=Annual Editions Reader
OR=Online Reader


I. Introduction

-----Introduction/The Sociology Shop/Crime and Society Room/Syllabus (Print and Online)


II. The Sociological Perspective and Imagination

-----Go HERE for A Short Introduction to Sociology
----------ITS (All Chapters EXCEPT #3 and #7
----------BFS2 (pp. 59-77)


III. Issues, Methods and Theories

A. Crime Data (2/26)
------(BFS2---pp. 37-59)
------(AER Appendix II & #3)

B. Explanations of Criminal Behavior (2/28-3/5)
------(BFS 3 & 4)
------( OR)


IV. Patterns of Criminality and Victimization

A. Class, Race & Ethnicity, and Street Crime (3/7-3/12)
------(BFS 5)

B. Gender and Crime (3/14-3/21)
------(BFS 6)
------(AER #12

C. Sexual Violence against Women and Children (3/14-3/21) ------(BFS 7)

D. Organizational Crime: Licit & Illicit Business (3/31-4/4) ------(BFS 8)

E. Political and Governmental Crime (4/4-4/9) ------(BFS 9)


V. Criminal Justice System
------(AER #1)

A. The Police and the Courts (4/14-4/21)
------(BFS 10)
------(AER #14, #20, #26

B. Punishment and Corrections (4/23-4/30)
------(BFS 11)
------(AER #29, #33


VI. The Search for Solutions and Conclusion

-----Peacemaking and Postmodern Criminology
---------(BFS 12)


Invitation to Sociology by Peter L. Berger

Crime, Justice, and Society by Berger, Free, & Searles

Criminal Justice 02/03---Annual Editions Reader

Online Reader


Analysis Papers
Two (2) Analysis Papers worth 20 pts. each

Discussion Board
Three (3) responses...worth 20 pts. Prompts provided by me

First Exam
In-class Multiple Choice/T-F exam worth 100 points (Intro. Soc. material)

Discretionary Assignment
Choose your own kind of assignments and subjects...due in two 50 pt. segments

Second Exam
In-class Multiple Choice/T-F Exam worth 100 points

Final Exam
Take-Home Essay Exam...worth 100 points...Comprehensive Coverage


Analysis Papers Topics HERE
Minimum Length is 2 pages typed (double-spaced) and Maximum is 4 pages

Discretionary Assignment Instructions are HERE

Guidelines for Critical Academic Review of Entertainment Movie

Discretionary Assignment Student Suggestions---Crime & Society

Guidelines for TV Show Review: Crime



1/27.............AP #1 Due

2/10.............AP #2 Due

2/28.............First Exam

3/10.............DA-I Due

3/03.............DB #1 Due BY

3/21.............DB #2 Due BY

4/11.............Second Exam

4/21.............DA-II Due

4/28.............DB #3 Due BY

5/05.............Pass Out Final Exam

5/12.............Final Due (between 8-11 AM)


Analysis Papers (40 pts)
Discussion Board (60 pts)
First Exam (100 pts)
Second Exam (100 pts)
Discretionary Assignment (100 pts)
Final Exam (100 pts)



Analysis Paper #1

Read the short handout...a quotational summary of Berger Chapter 1, "Why Study Sociology?" Is this anything like you envisioned Sociology to be? Just how DID you envision it, if at all? If not, why not, do you think? What about this description stands out...what do you like about it and possibly don't like or are a bit nervous about? In other words, react to this material as a kind of "pre-test" as we begin our class.

Analysis Paper #2

Choose one (1) of the following:

A. The motifs/themes of Sociological Consciousness, as presented by Berger (Chpt 2), and explained by Kessel, are essentially the "tools" of critical sociological thinking. If that's so, if we REVERSE each one we might "find" the tools of ideological thinking...or simply, non-sociological thought. So try it...reverse each motif and explain the kind of approach to knowing each embodies...then, summarize them into a whole and give each "new" motif a name.


B. How do the "assumptions of the sociological perpsective," the Sociological Imagination, and a Levels of Reality approach fit together (how are they connected)? THEN, how are all three illustrated in Mills' three Sociological Imagination Questions? USE these materials to synthesize these ideas...don't merely repeat with them.


C. After briefly and generally explaining the concept of "paradigm"...based on the way presented in this class (but also utilizing other ways to understand them, if desired)...connect the concept to some of the other issues, ideas, and concepts covered thus far in the course (i.e. using paradigms as your "centering" or central idea, synthesize the materials we've covered thus far...selectively, of course).


1. To learn about...and learn to utilize...the sociological perspective/consciousness/imagination.

2. To become familiar with the background and development of Sociology as a discipline

3. To learn about sociological paradigms, theories, concepts, and methods.

4. To learn to apply a sociological perspective to societal realities and issues...focusing on Crime.

5. To understand the scope and details of a sociology of’s issues and topics.

6. To learn that “crime” is a “social construction” involving social forces (social structure) and human agency (choice)...and their relationship with and to each other.

7. To understand the difference between “common sense”/”belief” and what “is” and “isn’t.”

8. To realize, overall, that what “is” isn’t necessarily what “ought to be”...that change is both possible and probable, under given conditions.


One of your assignments will be to post three (3) responses to three (3) prompts provided by me.

This is the schedule of Prompts (ALL on SUNDAY EVENINGS)

Prompt #1---Feb. 16
Prompt #2---Feb. 23
Prompt #3---Mar. 2
Prompt #4---Mar. 9
Prompt #5---Mar. 16
Prompt #6---Apr. 6
Prompt #7---Apr. 20

There will be seven (7) prompts. You can pick any three you choose...going back and doing one you originally passed over, if you desire. However, there are three "due dates" by which you need to do each.

You will need to pick a "code name" to use when you post...a name known only to you and me. Pick something that doesn't utilize a known nickname so that anonymity can be maintained and thus, a feeling of security in terms of your identity. You will NOT be required to include an email address.

In addition to your three required posts, I encourage you to post replies to what others have said (using your Code Name) well as posting anything you want as it relates to the course (i.e. response to lectures, class comments, readings, news, etc....using either your Code Name or real name, your choice). This type of "participation" could come into play when assigning a course instances where averages are borderline between one grade and another.

Finally, please get in the habit of checking our Discussion Board...frequently. Periodically I will post messages related to class as well as providing links to informative websites and...promoting campus activities of one sort or another. Likewise, you may post similar things, as mentioned above. In short, lets use the Board...communication between people is an essential aspect of education...who knows, you just may not be the only one thinking a certain thing...others can benefit from knowing they "aren't alone."