Introduction to Sociology
- Using any two explanations for crime, discuss Stapinski’s overall experience of growing up in Jersey City (cultural transmission, control theory, labeling theory, etc.). Identify the types of crimes where were present: street, political, property, organized, and give illustrations of them. Also tie in corresponding explanations that would give insight into each type of crime.
- Discuss Stapinski’s view of Nature/Nurture and what she believes to be the ‘criminal personality.’ Identify all the places where she infers “inheriting” the criminal gene, the temper, etc. from family relatives and ancestors.
- Discuss Stapinski’s family as her ultimate Agent of Socialization and explain how the influence has played out in her life.
- Discuss the ‘ethic of stealing’ in Stapinski’s world. “It was an unwritten rule in Jersey City…that you could take as much merchandise as you could carry off your job.” Explain instances and circumstances under which stealing was prohibited and considered inappropriate and those where it was condoned.
- Identify the numerous examples of city-wide crime and corruption, both Organized and Political crime in the form of favors, unethical conduct, payoffs, etc.) Discuss how the politics of the “machine” might set a moral tone, so to speak, in the community. Discuss how this could affect a city, state and country. Give specific examples.
- Stapinski discusses her experiences growing up in Church—the Church as another Agent of Socialization. Explain how her teachers and role models set the moral tone in the schools and church. Give specific examples of her experience growing up in the Catholic Church and how these compare to the larger community as role models.
- At the end of the book Stapinski discusses nature/nurture and tries to make peace with her family and her background. Explain what might be factors in her struggle, and whether or not you feel she has mixed feelings (if so what might they be) about having grown up in the environment of Jersey City.
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