This is due to the working class having a lack of access to things such as Education. This means that they cannot achieve the mainstream goals set by the middle classes. This can lead to things such as status frustration, and rebellion against traditional middle class values. This theory is useful because it offers an explanation of crime that is not fuelled by a monetary gain, for example abuse or rape. This is known as Non-Utilitarian crime.
In this essay we will assess the usefulness of these functionalist theories, and look at how it helps us explain crime. One functionalist who tried to explain crime is Merton and his strain theory, the strain theory argues that people engage in the deviant behaviour when they are unable to achieve socially approved goals by legitimate means. Merton explanation combines 2 elements; structural factors- society’s unequal opportunity structure, cultural factors- strong emphasis to achieve goals and weak emphasis on using legit means. Merton uses the strain theory to explain some patterns of crime in society, he argues a person’s positioning in society affects the way they adapt or respond to the strain to anomie. Merton gives 5 different types of adaption; Conformity- the individual accepts socially acceptable goal and achieves it through legitimate means, Innovation- Individual accepts the role of success and wealth but uses illegitimate means to achieve them, Ritualism- Individual give up on legitimate goals but still follow strictly to the rules, Retreatism- Individuals reject legitimate goals and means of achieving them e.g drug addicts, the final type is Rebellion- Individuals reject existing goals and means but replace them with new one in desire to bring about revolutionary change.
The Marxist approach as an explanation of crime and deviance concentrates on the unfair nature of the capitalist society in which we live and how it drives individuals into a life of crime. Marxism is criticised by other theories that do not share their opinion on capitalism – this therefore means they do not share their opinion on crime and deviance. The traditional Marxist view on crime and deviance is that capitalism is a system based on greed, competition, and consumerism and that this creates the ideal conditions and need for crime. They say that capitalism drives people to commit criminal activities, crime is motivated by financial gain which is logical in a capitalist system, they can also explain non-utilitarian crimes by saying they can be caused by frustration with the unjust system we live in in todays society. Marxists also believe that the capitalist system creates laws that are seen to favour the working class and make them think the system is fair and just, however, these are only put in place to appease the subject class and give the appearance of fairness.
The Causes of Crime - Right realists reject the idea put forward by Marxists and others that structural or economic factors such as poverty and inequality are the cause for crime. For example, they point out that the old tend to be poor, yet they have a very low crime rate. - Right realists argue that crime is the product of three factors; individual biological differences, inadequate socialisation and the underclass, and rational choice to offend. Individual Biological Differences - James Wilson and Richard Herrnstein (1985) put forward a biosocial theory of criminal behaviour. In their view, crime is caused by a combination of biological and social factors.
Cohen argues that Working class boys are often at the bottom of the status hierarchy because of failing the opportunity structure of education and the inability to get a good job. He argues that due to this they feel alienated from main stream society and therefore join like-minded males and invert society’s norms and values. For example steal as they know it’s against society’s norms and values. Cohen stresses that this is all because they are suffering from status frustration as their opportunities are blocked hence why they consequently reject middle class values by forming a delinquent subculture. Therefore in Cohen’s opinion crime and deviance is the product of status frustration.
There are many theories relating to deviance and crime with each theory illustrating a different aspect of the procedure by which people break rules and are classed as deviants or criminals. (New texts pg 138) which highlights the problems in defining crime or deviance. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CRIME AND DEVIANCE Many believe crime and deviance has developed on separate tracks over the years as criminologist serve only for legality, crime and crime-related phenomena. The study of deviance however serves for a wider range of behaviours that are not necessarily illegal for example suicide, alcoholism, homosexuality, mentally disordered behaviours. (Bader et al) The main difference between crime and deviance is deviant behaviour is when a social norm has been broken whereas a crime is where a formal and social norm is broken.
Jasmin Finnie Sep 6, 2010 White Collar Crimes Professor . Kellam When it comes to criminal justice, the term "White Collar Crime" is brought up very often. What exactly is a White Collar Crime? White-collar crime is defined in terms of attitudes toward those who commit it. These crimes are punishable by law, however it is generally regarded by the courts and by sections of the general public as much less reprehensible than crimes usually punished by the courts.
Critically Analyse the Meaning of Official Statistics, Applying this Explanation to the Patterns of Crime by Factors such as Class, Race and Gender and Consider how the Media may Amplify such Deviancy A lthough crime is deviant not all deviance is criminal, for example spitting in public or swearing at a shop assistant are deviant acts, meaning that they go against social norms, but are not criminal. On the other hand, crime is also deviant, but is punishable by the laws of the land. In this way, there is social order and social control, this creates a consensus of what is acceptable behaviour. Since 1857 police crime figures have been recorded and published annually, and until fairly recently they were considered to be accurate, but not all crime is reported to the police and the police can only publish figures of the crimes that have been reported. Despite this, Positivists see official crime statistics as a reliable indicator of crime patterns.
Comparing Functionalism and Marxism on Crime and Deviance This assignment will compare and contrast Functionalism and Marxism on crime and deviance. The functionalist view of crime is that it is a threat to social order. Someone who commits a crime or a deviant act has gone against the norms and values of society. Functionalist’s believe in the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate. Some people are socialised into crime, some functionalists, however such as Emile Durkheim see crime as being normal and an integral part of all healthy societies.
The lower class boys are at the bottom of the social structure and have little chance of gaining a higher status in society. This is similar to Merton’s STRAIN theory, however Cohen said that instead of turning to crime, they reject the norms and values of mainstream society and instead turn to the norms and values of a delinquent subculture AO2. In this subculture the boys can achieve success because the social group has different norms and values from the rest of society. So in this culture a high value is placed upon criminal acts such as stealing and vandalism which are condemned by mainstream society AO1. In these subcultures the individual who doesn’t have a high status in mainstream society can gain it by committing crimes such as