Midterm Exam

Question 1

Explain rational choice theory and what influences did Beccaria have on its development? Does rational choice theory attribute individual responsibility or the contributions of social conditions to explain crime causation? How does Double Indemnity rely upon elements of rational choice theory, even while it simultaneously contests some of its basic assumptions?

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a. What
is a “femme fatale” and who was it in this film?

b. Who
engaged in a cost-benefit calculation of the crime? Explain.

c. How
does Double Indemnity
emphasize the role of opportunity, decision-making, and deterrence? Explain.

Question 2

How does Traffic deal with the drug trade on multiple levels using different plots? Explain. What are the origins of strain theory and what is anomie? What were the contributions of DuBois to the development of strain theory and what conclusions did he draw from his comprehensive study, The Philadelphia Negro?

Explain Merton’s adaptations.

b. For
each adaption, identify a character from Traffic who exemplifies the
adaption. Explain how the character fits into the specific adaption.

c. Seth,
Caroline’s boyfriend, explains to Wakefield, a desire for money may lead to
drug selling. How does Seth’s explanation fit into Merton’s innovative

Question 3

Please discuss Rafter’s chapter 3, “Slasher, Serial Killer, and Psycho Movies.” What are the ideological frameworks of violent films that help us to explore what they say about criminal nature?

a. How
does Rafter examine three types of violent cinema – slasher, serial killer, and
psycho movies?

b. What
are the legal themes in psycho films?

c. Does Silence of
the Lambs fall into any of Rafter’s chapter 3 analyses? Explain.

d. Does Monster
fall into Rafter’s analyses? Explain.

Question 5

Based upon your viewing of Boyz N the Hood, list three socially-endorsed goals three characters seek to achieve? What, if anything, interfered with the achievement of those goals?

a. Using
Merton’s theory of strain, identify a character for each of the the adaptions.

Identify the main principles of labeling theory. Consider the role of labeling
in the social interaction and life choices of one main character in the film.
Give three specific examples from the movie, using dialogue and scene
description, to explain the labeling process and its repercussions on the

c. Which
character is an example of primary deviance? Which character is an example of
secondary deviance? Did you see any examples of primary deviance which
transformed into secondary deviance? Was any character an example of a “self
fulfilling prophecy”? Explain.

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