Assess Sociological Explanations for Gender Differences in Crime and Deviance

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Assess Sociological Explanations for Gender Differences in Crime and Deviance Official crime statistics show that men much more likely to commit crimes than women and there is also a difference in the types of crimes each gender is more likely to commit – women committing shoplifting and men committing more violent crimes. There have been numerous different explanations for gender differences in crime including the chivalry thesis, sex role theory, control theory, and the liberation thesis. However, the official crime statistics are largely questioned by sociologists because it has been argued that they only show the criminal justice system’s view that men are more likely to commit the crimes and therefore they look more for male criminals rather than female ones. The chivalry thesis argue that these official statistics are unrepresentative due to the fact that most of the criminal justice agents – such as police officers, judges or magistrates – are men and they are more likely to treat women in a chivalrous way and therefore be more likely to convict men than women. The main idea of the chivalry thesis is this prospect that men are socialised to act in a way more chivalrous – or gentlemanly – toward women so they end up convicting men more than women. Otto Pollak (1950) argued that women’s crimes are less likely to end up in official statistics due to the fact that “men don’t like to accuse or punish women” so the criminal justice system is more lenient toward them. The chivalry thesis can be supported by the work of Graham and Bowling who used self-report studies and found that men still commit more crimes than women although the gap is now smaller. They also found that women are more likely to be cautioned whereas men are more likely to be arrested. Nevertheless, the chivalry thesis also has many criticisms including results from a study carried out in a
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