SOCIOLOGY 100 • Survey of General Sociology



Follow the rubric above. After reading the Case Study of Anita Jackson (shown below), which 2 theories of deviant behavior (as explained in the reading) do you think best explain Anita’s criminal behavior? What specific information about Anita not included in her case study would help us to better understand her situation, and why do you think this? Offer specific examples from Anita's case study in the discussion. Defend your answers using course content from the reading.

CASE STUDY:  Anita Jackson is an unmarried, Black female with two children living in the inner-city.  At the time of this study, Anita was 21 years old and unemployed. 

Although Anita didn’t grow up in this exact neighborhood, hers was close-by and quite similar. She was raised by her mother who was both emotionally and physically abusive to Anita.  Anita grew up thinking she would amount to nothing. So when Anita turned 16, she joined a gang, ran away from home, and got pregnant from one of the gang members, Joe. Joe taught Anita everything about being in a gang — carjacking, robbery, theft, smoking crystal meth — Anita learned all of this from experienced Joe.  She and Joe had big dreams of buying a mansion with tons of wooded property. They discussed these big dreams on a daily basis. Anita believed it would happen. The gang, Anita thought, was the best thing that ever happened to her.  Anita loved the gang partly because, growing up, she always felt different from others. She never had desires to join school clubs or community organizations because she felt those people were weird.  Anita believed she had more in common with the gang members than with most of society. So she continued being a member and began to act like a real gang-banger — she even learned to use a gun. 

Partly because Anita was unemployed, she started prostituting to get extra cash for drugs. Anita kept telling Joe that she wanted a real job, but Joe often reminded her that she lacked any skills that would demand a decent income. Every time that Anita went out to walk the streets she carried her gun. One night one of her ‘Johns’ (a client who solicits prostitutes) became violent, and Anita shot and wounded him. It was self-defense, she argued. But the cops didn’t believe her. They arrested her for attempted murder, prostitution, and theft (she stole her client's wallet after she shot him). Anita got charged for prostitution, and her client didn’t get charged for soliciting a prostitute. It turns out that her client was actually *Charlie Sheen and the police let him go with no questions asked. Anita’s gang, however, vows to get revenge on Charlie. Now Anita faces years in prison and no one to raise her children.

Anita said she just wants a better life for her kids; she thought this gang stuff seemed to be the answer.


*(Not true. It wasn't Charlie Sheen.)

Date Last Changed: January 6, 2022

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