I am reading my text book, and I don't understand this sentence:
Neighborhoods characterized by transience and instability, Cloward and Ohlin argue, offer few opportunities to get ahead in organized criminal activities.
Maybe it's me but I don't understand that, I am hoping someone can explain it too me, is there something missing from the sentence or is it just me?
It is odd. The normal use of the word transient usually refers to homeless people or drifters. The sentence is odd, because you'd think an area that's being described like this would have a lot of organized criminal activity. But basically what they are saying is: in an area where people come and go a lot, there isn't really a chance for a group to organize criminal activity. Think of it like this: Gangs are like a family, they grow over time and solidify their presence. Since nothing here is permanent, you probably see more petty theft and break-ins vs. organized crimes like drug or prostitution rings. Hope this helps.
The sentence is awkward. Here's my best stab at translating it out of context.
"Neighborhoods described as having many people traveling through (rather than being settled there) and an unstable economic environment leave few opportunities or advancement in jobs with the mob or organized crime."
Now why they said this, I have no idea.
Such an area would have a bad (dangerous) reputation so people wouldn't venture into it to buy drugs. Transients tend not have any money. On balance then there wouldn't be any money or opportunities make money in such an area and easy money is the sole objective of organised criminality.
The prime focus of organized crime is to instill fear in stable and thriving businesses environments. The business owner has something to lose, so they tend to be more susceptible to threats against their business. If the police can't or won't help, they are more tempted to pay for protection. Those living in areas of instability or transience have nothing to lose, and also little to take. Therefore it makes little sense for an organized crime element to waste their time there.
The objective in any criminal activity is to make money, albeit illicit. It stands to reason thefore that an unstable neighborhood populated by jobless, broke citizens will offer little in the sense of clientele or victims for a criminal.
The answers to this point are mostly right. The author is saying that short lived neighborhoods with unstable populations don't allow for the formation of "organized crime".
I suppose it's true. The problem we have here, is that while it's probably true, it has no rational point. It's like explaining that the streets run north and south and east and west, because people like the sunrise and sunset. Yeah, we admire sunrises and sunsets, and some towns have streets that align with the compass points. But there is no logical connection between them.
The argument is saying that transient populations in financially and otherwise unstable neighborhoods offer few opportunities to get rich in organized crime. One has to wonder what they're advocating. What's the link between the two statements? What IS the point of the argument? Transience and instability prevent crime? Or it's bad because it decreases financial opportunity through organized crime?
I suspect that this is a game of semantics, and used to support a rather pointless theory - that being that social structure existing in a neighborhood CAUSES, or at least FOSTERS, organized crime. The authors could not possibly be advocating for tearing down social order and/or social interaction on an ordered basis, nor could they possibly be advocating the chaotic dysfunctional neighborhood as an answer to crime. The statement, in my mind, is met with a "so what? Do you have some point to this exercise?" question.
One can easily understand your confusion at reading it. I had to google a while to gain some context on the authors and statement to make heads or tails of it myself.
"Neighborhoods characterized by transience and instability, Cloward and Ohlin argue, offer few opportunities to get ahead in organized criminal activities."
It seems to convey the feel that these two shall try to get their things done in organized manner...This way of writing is making the flow of the thought. Do not get into grammatical composition, Transient has been used to just make fill of feel around...
first of all transience is a liberal word used to describe those who are constantly on the move. They have no real place they choose to call home, they also are not prime material when it comes to calling on someone to complete a task, no matter how low degree. Even organized crime demands accountability and they see crime as a business opportunity. Period.
It's an awkwardly worded sentence. Probably trying to fit too much into one sentence.
My understanding is it is stating that Cloward & Ohlin believe that the neighborhoods with the least stability will be the ones with the least organized crime.
Nothing can gain footing when the ground beneath is constantly shifting.
Similarly anything "organized" needs a solid basis on which to be based and to grow.
Transients are inherently unpredictable and can't be relied upon.
There will be plenty of crime, just not organized crime.
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