Examining Theory

Category: Sociology

The unequal distribution of crime rates among the members of different social classes and groups constitutes the significant interest for all criminological theorists. The advocates of various theories propose different explanations of this phenomenon, and their positions will be evaluated. This paper examines the video “Prostitution among Immigration Routes” and analyzes it from a social structure theory perspective. The underlying factors contributing to the criminal and asocial behavior of individuals will be investigated. The major assumptions of the social structure theory will be verified. The correspondence to the actual social reality will be specified. The potential ramifications to social policy changes will be determined. In general, the social structure theory provides a realistic explanation of the underlying social and economic factors contributing to the likelihood of committing crimes by the members of a given social class or group, and it encourages governments to create additional opportunities for the social and professional development to all social members regardless of their income and other characteristics.

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Analysis

The selected video supports the social structure theory directly as the authors of the video share the major belief of the theory that the key factor causing the growing crime rates among some population groups is the difficult social and economic conditions experienced by individuals. The video shows that many immigrants do not have any decent alternatives for living in the United States without participating in criminal activities. Therefore, they have to adopt highly risky strategies and use any means for earning at least the minimal amount of money. Due to the absence of adequate opportunities and alternatives, a large number of immigrants select the criminal activities to maintain the acceptable standards of living.

The analyzed video demonstrates that a large number of immigrants have a very limited amount of financial and other resources. As a result, they are even unable to reach the place of their destination. Many women are forced to offer prostitution services to improve their financial state and continue their immigration campaign further. They have to accept the work at night clubs and brothels even if this kind of work contradicts their moral principles. It seems that the authors of the video assume that the situation cannot improve automatically, and substantial reforms are needed. First of all, higher economic opportunities should be created for immigrants. They should be able to be involved in legal and socially desirable activities. In this way, the economic development of various countries will tend to increase. The immigrants will have no stimulus to participate in criminal activities if the decent legal opportunities exist in this sphere.

The primary subject raised in the video is the prostitution services offered by many immigrants for the reason that they do not have the necessary financial opportunities. The authors of the video propose to evaluate the situation from an immigrants’ perspective. Currently, many people tend to blame these individuals as they suggest that immigrants have decided to participate in such activities voluntarily. However, the video elaborates on their motivation and demonstrates that their decisions are not voluntary in the majority of cases. The main cause of immigration is the unprecedentedly low standard of living in their native country and the absence of appropriate job opportunities. Therefore, many people do not have any choice except to immigrate and offer their services abroad. However, their qualification is low and does not correspond to the needs of the developed countries such as the United States. In relation to women, they have to offer sexual services as there is the demand for them, and it is the only alternative available to them.

Many social issues are raised in the video. First, it is stressed that economic conditions in various countries are very different. Therefore, it is unreasonable to evaluate the actions of the citizens of developing countries from the perspective of developed ones. Second, a significant fraction of immigrants’ actions does not reflect their preferences or voluntary choices. They merely demonstrate the pressing economic and financial conditions experienced by people, and the need for making the urgent response measures to satisfy at least basic physiological needs. Third, the ultimate cause of the existing problems is the unfair economic environment and government policies. The needs of immigrants are not addressed. On the contrary, the government often creates additional problems for them through creating the artificial barriers. However, they cannot be effective because the existing economic disparities force people to immigrate. Government barriers only create higher risks for immigrants that may a number of negative consequences including the higher mortality rates among them.

Many principles of the analyzed sociological theory are addressed in this video. The authors of the video agree that the major force contributing to the existence of comparatively high crime rates is the disadvantaged conditions experienced by the members of the “lower class”. They are forced to use any means to improve their social and economic status, and many immigrants adopt the criminal way of behavior. In general the social structure theory seems to be very applicable for analyzing the general social and economic trends while it does not always adequately describe all individual cases. On the one hand, it is evident that declining economic conditions in developing countries will lead to the situation when the crime rates will tend to increase rapidly both in a given country and neighborhood regions. On the other hand, the behavior of a specific individual is always uncertain and cannot be explained exclusively by economic reasons. Different individuals respond differently to the same economic conditions, and not all of them decide to participate in criminal activities.

Therefore, the social structure theory should be viewed as a broad sociological approach that explains the major dominant trends, and it should not be applied uniformly to all individuals without considering their specific moral qualities and worldview positions. At the same time, the theory is highly applicable to examining the structure of interpersonal relations that may lead to spreading the number of crimes in a given geographical region. People appraise their places in the social and economic system and make corresponding choices. If they consider their conditions to be unfairly disadvantaged, they can make attempts to improve it including such means as the involvement in criminal activities. The following two aspects are relevant in this context. The first one is the objective differences among individuals regarding their economic conditions and opportunities. The second one is the subjective perception of these differences by social members. People recognize that some differences are justified if they caused by additional efforts or talents demonstrated by some individuals. However, if differences are caused by one’s origin, race, or gender, people realize that these differences are unjustified. In this case, crimes rates may increase dramatically.

The members of disadvantaged population groups try to compensate their financial and economic problems with the help of considering the criminal ways of increasing their incomes. The broad social structure theory is often sub-divided into several sub-theories including structural strain, social disorganization, and cultural deviance perspectives. All of them share the major assumptions of the broad theory but pay the major attention to different aspects. The advocates of structural strain stress that people have to use a variety of social and economic means for attaining their cultural goals. Moreover, the attempts of entering the higher social classes are typically associated with shifting to another cultural environment. Thus, the likelihood of various deviances increases substantially. It is possible to categorize all individuals according to their correspondence to a specific social or cultural category. In this way, the potential for the further growth and possible conflicts can be assessed objectively.

The advocates of the social disorganization approach claim that people with low income and especially disadvantaged conditions do not have shared values with other social members. Moreover, they may even believe that their interests and those of the upper classes contradict one another. As a result, they may conclude that the use of aggressive methods is justified in some cases. Despite the specific type of criminal activities they select, the actual social situation will tend to deteriorate. The members of other social groups may construct the stereotype about the people with low income that will make the process of social reintegration even more difficult.

Some theorists concentrate on cultural deviance as a more specific factor contributing to the spreading of crimes in the modern society. If people disagree with the major cultural assumptions shared by the majority, they may adopt different modes of behavior. This fact per se does not constitute a social problem as cultural diversity should be respected and even encouraged. The problems may emerge only if individuals conclude that legal and moral norms are also relative rather than absolute. If they make this incorrect claim, they may be open to law violations and involving in criminal activities. It is difficult to change their behavior with the help of social pressure because the reason of their resistance is the disrespect to the dominant social norms. The major attention should be paid to affecting people’s worldview and promoting the mutual tolerance and respect.

The possible ramifications for the reforms in the sphere of social policy may be formulated. The major role should be played by the national governments of developed countries. They should recognize the existence of problems related to immigrants and develop a complex solution. On the one hand, all immigration barriers cannot be removed as the existing social security system cannot satisfy the needs of an unlimited number of people. On the other hand, the government should create the satisfactory conditions for immigrants because they should possess at least the basic social opportunities and have the fundamental individual rights and liberties. 

It seems that the structure of production should be organized in a way that will require the professionals of different qualifications and origins. Even if the current qualification of a given individual is low, he/she can increase it through practicing. In this way, his/her contribution to the well-being of a society will increase. As his/her productivity increases, his incomes will tend to increase; and it will be beneficial for all parties. Thus, it seems that the government should reorient its policies from providing assistance to a growing number of unemployed people to creating new employment opportunities for all social members including immigrants.

Creating equal employment opportunities may not resolve all potential problems and conflicts immediately, but it may contribute to creating the fair social system that will be approved by the public at large. It is necessary to create the decent opportunities for all social members without any exceptions. Immigrants should be able to select any occupation they prefer and gradually increase their well-being while their qualification increases. It may be beneficial for employers as well because a higher level of competition among potential employees allows selecting the most appropriate workers. The economy in general will also benefit as a larger fraction of the population will be involved in productive activities rather than be mere the recipients of social security programs. The tax burden on employees may also decline.

The government should organize the close monitoring of the dynamics of social interactions. Any positive changes should be encouraged while any negative tendencies should be analyzed, and the timely response strategies should be introduced. In general, the interests of the government and the rest of society should be balanced as all parties are interested in minimizing the number of crimes. If the social and economic conditions are improved, additional positive incentives may emerge among a large number of people, and crime rates will decline.

Conclusion

It may be concluded that such social problems as prostitution among immigrants can be analyzed with the help of the social structure theory. It states that the ultimate cause of the unsatisfactory dynamics of crime rates in the US and other developed countries refers to the difficult economic conditions experienced by immigrants from developing countries. As they have almost no decent social alternatives, they have to be involved in various criminal activities. Many women become proposing prostitution services as it is the only way of earning the acceptable amount of money. Although the social structure theory is not necessarily applicable to all individual cases, it allows outlining the major aspects that should be addressed by the government in order to minimize the problem at the global level. The major direction for reforms is creating a wider set of employment opportunities for the representatives of the lower classes including immigrants. In this way, they will be able to improve their qualification and increase their earnings. The pressure on the existing social security system will decline, and the long-term positive changes may be generated. The interests of immigrants and other social members can be effectively harmonized.

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