Whitewater Crime Theories
In this paper you will explain each theory listed below and provide an example of that theory in
the reading by Elijah Anderson (the selection from Code of the Street). Your paper should
include an introduction and conclusion.
1) Introduction: State what you will be doing in the paper.
2) Body: Provide a brief description of each theory listed below and an example of that theory in the
reading by Elijah Anderson.
3) Conclusion: please provide your assessment of the theories and state which theory or theories
you believe provide the most convincing explanations of crime and/or the nature of the social
Here is an example of Mead’s theory of the self in Anderson. To get you started, you are
welcome to borrow this example but restate it in your own words.
Mead believes a person is not born with a self but acquires a self through
interaction with others. It is when you are able to view yourself as an object and place
yourself in the role of another person and imagine how that person views you that you
have developed a self. More developed selves are able to take the role of multiple others
and eventually a generalized other. The I is the conscious self, and the Me is the self that
you are able to view as an object. The me contains the sentiments of the generalized
other. As you picture yourself doing something in the future (or remember something
you have done in the past), you are able to take the role of others and the generalized
other and imagine the reaction of others in light of how you are expected to act. You
might not always succeed in acting in accordance with expectations, but you are aware
of those expectations.
Anderson’s description of the code of the street can be understood in relation to
Mead’s ideas about the self and the ability to take the role of others and a collective
other. The fact that there is a code of the street suggests that people are aware of how
they are expected to act and, therefore, will be viewed by others. The code is about
respect and projecting an image of toughness for purposes of self-protection. Anderson
describes moments when Tyree views himself from the standpoint of the bolls in his
new neighborhood and imagines how he would look in their eyes if upon seeing them he
ran in the other direction. He would be considered weak and never gain their respect.
Aware of the expectations associated with the code and having taken the role of these
others, Tyree does not run but, instead, faces the bolls.
-Mead’s Theory of Self – (discuss: development of self, ability to take the role of other and
generalized other, and the I and the Me.)
-Differential Association – (discuss explanation of crime)
-Social Learning Theory – (discuss explanation of crime)
-Control Theory (Gottfredson and Hirschi, low self-control) – (discuss explanation of crime)
-Labeling Theory (discuss the process by which people are labeled deviant)
-Durkheim – (discuss the type of social solidarity in the U.S. and in the communities studied by
Anderson; what is sacred according to the code of the street?)
-Merton – Structural Strain (discuss explanation of crime)
-Agnew – General Strain (discuss explanation of crime)
-Social Disorganization/Ecology – Sampson (discuss explanation of crime)