Lloyd Ohlin – (1918 – 2008)

Via New Soc Prof (who should be working on her geographical literacy! :-)):

as New Soc Prof writes,

Indeed, Cloward and Ohlin’s approach, often called "opportunity theory", refers to the fact that, based on a social structure that distributes opportunities (or life chances?) unequally, some people’s opportunities for social mobility will be illegal as legal channels are more or less blocked to them. Illegitimate opportunity structures are central to engaging in criminal behavior… and shapes what kind of deviant behavior people can engage in.

Engaging in insider trading is an opportunity only available to certain social classes and not others whereas robbing gas stations is an opportunity for others down the social ladder. Fror instance, from the presence or absence of certain structures of opportunities, Cloward and Ohlin derived three types of gangs – criminal, conflict or retreatist – whose activities were determined by the surrounding social structure.

And as obvious from the quotes above, Lloyd Ohlin did not need any incentive to engage in public sociology and put his sociological work to practice. The incoming administration might to well to take a look at his body of work.

2 thoughts on “Lloyd Ohlin – (1918 – 2008)

  1. i have given up on geography, i am too far in the hole. i am, however, no longer 1000 points less smart than you. now a mere 150 points separates us.

    i love ohlin’s stuff — the very definition of a public sociologist before we got all goofy about it.

    i also learned (but did not post) that ohlin is survived by elaine cressey-ohlin, whom he married after his first wife passed and donald cressey died. i bet she could tell some stories.

    • I had the same thought when I read Cressey’s name… but then, there’s always weird stuff going on at the Annual ASA meetings, so, I’m not surprised! Talk about small-world networks.

      And giving up on geography is totally wimpy! This preemptively annihilates catching up to me on the biggest brain (highly scientifically valid) game :-P

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