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Short answer

Pick a famous politician, business leader, or celebrity who has been arrested recently. What crime did he or she allegedly commit? Who was the victim? Explain his or her actions from the point of view of one of the major sociological paradigms. What factors best explain how this person might be punished if convicted of the crime?

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If we assume that the power elite’s status is always passed down from generation to generation, how would Edwin Sutherland explain these patterns of power through differential association theory? What crimes do these elite few get away with?

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Further research

The Skull and Bones Society made news in 2004 when it was revealed that then-President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, had both been members at Yale University. In the years since, conspiracy theorists have linked the secret society to numerous world events, arguing that many of the nation’s most powerful people are former Bonesmen. Although such ideas may raise a lot of skepticism, many influential people of the past century have been Skull and Bones Society members, and the society is sometimes described as a college version of the power elite. Journalist Rebecca Leung discusses the roots of the club and the impact its ties between decision-makers can have later in life. Read about it at (External Link) .

References

Akers, Ronald L. 1991. “Self-control as a General Theory of Crime.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology :201–11.

Cantor, D. and Lynch, J. 2000. Self-Report Surveys as Measures of Crime and Criminal Victimization . Rockville, MD: National Institute of Justice. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Durkheim, Emile. 1997 [1893]. The Division of Labor in Society New York, NY: Free Press.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2010. “Crime in the United States, 2009.” Retrieved January 6, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Hirschi, Travis. 1969. Causes of Delinquency . Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Holding, Reynolds. 2006. “Why Can’t Felons Vote?” Time , November 21. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Krajick, Kevin. 2004. “Why Can’t Ex-Felons Vote?” The Washington Post , August 18, p. A19. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Laub, John H. 2006. “Edwin H. Sutherland and the Michael-Adler Report: Searching for the Soul of Criminology Seventy Years Later.” Criminology 44:235–57.

Lott, John R. Jr. and Sonya D. Jones. 2008. “How Felons Who Vote Can Tip an Election.” Fox News, October 20. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Mills, C. Wright. 1956. The Power Elite . New York: Oxford University Press.

New York Times Editorial Staff. 2011. “Reducing Unjust Cocaine Sentences.” New York Times , June 29. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

ProCon.org. 2009. “Disenfranchised Totals by State.” April 13. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

ProCon.org. 2011. “State Felon Voting Laws.” April 8. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Sampson, Robert J. and Lydia Bean. 2006. "Cultural Mechanisms and Killing Fields: A Revised Theory of Community-Level Racial Inequality." The Many Colors of Crime: Inequalities of Race, Ethnicity and Crime in America , edited by R. Peterson, L. Krivo and J. Hagan. New York: New York University Press.

Sampson, Robert J. and W. Byron Graves. 1989. “Community Structure and Crimes: Testing Social-Disorganization Theory.” American Journal of Sociology 94:774-802.

Shaw, Clifford R. and Henry McKay. 1942. Juvenile Delinquency in Urban Areas Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 2009. “SEC Charges Bernard L. Madoff for Multi-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme.” Washington, DC: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved January 6, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

The Sentencing Project. 2010. “Federal Crack Cocaine Sentencing.” The Sentencing Project: Research and Advocacy Reform . Retrieved February 12, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Shaw, Clifford R. and Henry H. McKay. 1942. Juvenile Delinquency in Urban Areas . Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Todd, Roger and Louise Jury. 1996. “Children Follow Convicted Parents into Crime.” The Independent , February 27. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology. OpenStax CNX. Jun 12, 2012 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11407/1.7
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