[ home | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z || help | about ]

This term is used in two distinct but related ways. The first refers to the actions of a social scientist: assuming a position of disinterestedness or impartiality, or being open-minded in the assessment of evidence. Objectivity is thought to be central to the procedures of the scientific method. The second meaning refers to the nature of the statements people make: a statement can be objective as opposed to the scientist being objective. An objective statement is one which can be agreed upon by others regardless of their backgrounds or biases.

White-collar crime committed by an individual or group of individuals exclusively for personal gain. The distinction between this crime and organizational crime is difficult to maintain.

This is the distance between one occupation and another where occupations are ranked on a hierarchy of status. The concept is central to studies of social mobility because it permits some measurement of the extent of mobility. For example, to change one's occupation from unskilled labour to semi-skilled labour involves less occupational distance than to move from unskilled labour to professional accountant. Occupational distance is therefore an important measurement in determining the relevance of social mobility. See: SOCIAL MOBILITY / DEMAND MOBILITY / .

On October 5, 1970 the Front De Liberation Du Quebec (FLQ) kidnapped James Cross, the British Trade Commission in Montreal and on October 10, Pierre Laporte Minister of Labour in the government of Quebec. The federal government, led by Pierre Trudeau, invoked the War Measures Act and armed soldiers entered the province of Quebec. Laporte was murdered the next day. Over 450 persons were detained in Quebec, few of whom were charged. Cross was released in exchange for safe passage to Cuba for the kidnappers. The government's handling of the kidnapping and subsequent events were extremely controversial

Canada is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, formed in 1961, along with most other industrialized ‘free market’ nations.

For 78 days in the summer of 1990 Mohawk warriors engaged in an armed standoff with the Quebec police and the Canadian army. This incident arose over land claims: a decision was made to expand the golf course at Oka and this involved land the Mohawk peoples of the Kanesatake band claimed rightfully belonged to them. The incident represented the most dramatic of many confrontations between Native peoples and the police over land rights and also represents one of the very few times that Canada has used its armed forces against its own citizens (another being the FLQ crisis of 1970).

A society or social system ruled by a few people. As societies or organizations become large it is thought that political power becomes concentrated in the hand of a few individuals. In See: IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY / PLUTOCRACY / .

The situation where a small number of companies own or control the production of a particular good or provision of services within a market economy. This situation typically arises from the concentration of ownership and provides a challenge to liberal theory which claims benefit from a plurality of producers operating in a very competitive market. See: MONOPOLY / .

Begun in 1919, the movement for One Big Union highlights the early conflicts within the trade union movement over how unions should be structured. There was disagreement over whether unions should be based on craft groups (see craft unions), the dominant model in 1919, or should be based on entire industries (industrial unions). The One Big Union movement supported the second of these models and was successful in getting thousands of workers to join. See: SYNDICALISM / .

A term coined after a gathering of the American Motorcycle ‘Gypsy Tour’ on July 4, 1947. The 3000 riders descended on Hollister, California which was sponsoring a ‘dirt hill climb’. When violence broke out the Motorcycle Association issued a statement saying that 99% of riders were respectable, pleasure riders and the other one-percent were troublemakers. Since that date groups like the Hells Angels have referred to themselves as the ‘one-percenter’. This event was depicted in the Hollywood movie ‘The Wild One’.

This is a component part of liberal ideology : the key claim is that an individual has meaningful opportunity to rise (or fall) in social class and status as a result of personal ability, hard work and individual merit. The concept therefore claims that society's status system is based on achievement and not on ascription. See: SOCIAL MOBILITY / LIBERALISM / .

The basic process by which an individual's behaviour is shaped by reinforcement or by punishment.

In quantitative research the act of specifying exactly how a concept will be measured. Before measuring the concept of ‘violent crime’ a researcher must decide what are indictors of violent crime and then specify how these indicators will be counted. One might, for example, decide to use official reports of crimes known to the police and count all instances of homicide, manslaughter, attempted murder, assault levels 1, 2 and 3 and sexual assault levels 1, 2 and 3. Examining how a researcher has operationalized a concept is the first place to look for weakness in the research design. In the above example, for instance, many would argue that assaults level 1 (the lowest level of assault) contain many acts which many would not really see as indicators of the concept of ‘violence’. The United States government, for example, does not include this kind of assault in their measures of violent crime.

To define some concept of study in such a way that it can be observed and measured. For example, "well being" might be measured by asking people to rate their overall satisfaction with their life style, or "anti-social behaviour" might be measured by frequency of arrest or criminal prosecution.

A shortened phrase referring to the notion that opportunity, the chance to gain certain rewards or goals, is shaped by the way the society or an institution is organized (or structured). The opportunity for girls to succeed in mathematics may be structured by the fact that all of the mathematics teachers are men, all teachers tend to discourage such an endeavor or suggest that girls are not good at this subject. There may be a sexist structure in the school which shapes opportunity.

In the British constitutional system, inherited by Canada, the Monarch is Head of State, must approve all laws for them to be valid, and is advised by a Privy Council of Ministers. By constitutional convention, the Monarch accepts only the advice of members of the Privy Council who are also Cabinet ministers and who have the support of the House of Commons. Most legislation passed by the House of Commons outlines only the broad principles of law and legal regulation and the law usually provides for the bureaucracy to develop detailed provisions that are then given legal status by being approved by the Governor General (representing the Monarch) in Council.

See levels of measurement.

A term used by Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) to refer to a state of interdependency created by the specialization of roles and in which individuals and institutions become acutely dependent on others in a complex division of labour. The basis of solidarity is abstract and may be weakened by anomie when people fail to comprehend the ties that bind them to others. See: MECHANICAL SOLIDARITY / IDEAL TYPE / .

White-collar crime committed with the support and encouragement of a formal organization and intended at least in part to advance the goals of that organization. The distinction between this crime and occupational crime is difficult to maintain.

The operation of illegal business entities whose members are bound together because of their group interest and their desire to profit from illegal activity.

A group that has a number of its members in some condition in greater numbers than their population would suggest. If a group makes up 20% of the population then a researcher might for example predict, other things being equal, that they would represent 20% of offenders, victims and those in prison. For example, men are overrepresented in prisons, as are Aboriginals. Women are overrepresented as victims in sexual assault offences.

[ home | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z || help | about ]

Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
The online version of this dictionary is a product of
Athabasca University and

*This social science dictionary has 1000
entries covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political
science and women's study with a commitment to Canadian examples and
events and names