Most, if not all, acts of crime are categorized as deviant behaviour, for example, murder. Deviance is behaviour which drifts away from society’s established norms and values, but is not necessarily perceived as crime, such as queue jumping (Haralambos and Holborn 2009). The functionalist approach to crime and deviance is one of value consensus. They emphasise social stability and collective public values, a ‘collective conscience’. Functionalist define crime and deviance as functional and necessary to society as a whole, with just the right amount of crime to avoid anomie; normlessness.
All these determinates are examples of how social and economic factors influence the general crime rates. Once a person weighs the benefits and the possible consequences of a potential criminal act, they are capable to make their choice. Deterrence is what helps make the consequences outweigh the benefits of a probable crime. General deterrence offers swift and certainty of punishment, specific deterrence makes sure that criminals that are punished severely enough they do not repeat. These two deterrence methods offer somewhat of a solution to the negative approach of the choice theory; if the individual is able to be deterred they will be able to make a more rational
‘Outline and explain ways in which data about crime is collected’ Crime can be defined as deviant activities that break the law in any particular society. Finding out how much crime takes place isn’t easy, and attempts to measure crime can prove misleading. This doesn’t mean that crime statistics aren’t affective, but it does mean that no single measure can be fully relied upon. Many sociologists see crime statistics as a social construction, as collecting crime data is a result of the cultural expectations of society, and by understanding who commits crime and what sorts of crimes are committed, we can get a clearer picture of why people commit crime in the first place. Different sociologists have presented different theories and concepts to explain what drives a person to commit a crime, and research and statistics give us an idea of the type of crimes committed and the places that they’re most likely to occur.
H/w: “Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of labelling theory in explaining crime and deviance.” Labelling theorists are concerned with how and why certain people and actions come to be labelled as criminal or deviant, and what effects this has on those who are labelled as such. As stated in Item A, labelling theory is focused with how individuals construct society based on their interactions with each other. Becker emphasises the significance of crime being a social construct; an action only becomes criminal or deviant once society has labelled it so, and thus crime can be argued to be a social construction. He introduced the concept of a master label, referring to the label which a person is given which overrides all other labels. When a person is labelled as negatively, society tends to view them only as that label, and this master label often becomes internalised, and thus a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs.
Although theories like functionalism and Marxism focus on the causes of crime, realists also look at the ways we can prevent crime from happening. Realists trust official statistics and both left and right realists have come up with a variety of solutions to fight crime. Right realists think that situational crime prevention or SCP. They reason that intervening in the immediate situation where crime is taking place is the one of the best things to be done. Using materials like anti-climb paint or neighbourhood watch schemes they make the target harder to achieve, or more risky.
Being a criminal or deviant could be seen to be a social construct and therefore this may mean that you could question what criminal activity is and whether this social construct is even right since it has been constructed by members of the society. The laws of the society have also constructed the norms and values of society and therefore if someone were to go against that they would be seen to be criminal however, this may differ in other parts of the world because what may be criminal and deviant in our society may be seen to be the norm in another. The labelling theory helps us to understand why people commit crimes and why people end up being deviant within the community. One reason may be that this stereotypical view or pre-judgement enables people to self-fulfil their prophecy and therefore creates criminal for example. Someone who comes from poor background and where’s hoodies does not automatically mean that they could be deviant.
The functionalist would argue that those who transgress are usually dealt with by the law and that order is restored. The conflict theorist would argue that the law enforcement system perpetuates the inequalities and would give the example of how many white-collar crimes go unpunished. Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_8586125_compare-contrast-functionalist-conflict-theories.html#ixzz2iJlpn5zx Contrast the functionalist and conflict theories of crime. The functionalist would argue that those who transgress are usually dealt with by the law and that order is restored. The conflict theorist would argue that the law enforcement system perpetuates the inequalities and would give the example of how many white-collar crimes go unpunished.
Outline and evaluate functionalist explanations of crime and deviance Crime and deviance can be defined as behaviour which breaks the law or goes against society's norms and values. Downes and Rock defined deviance as behavior which may be considered as banned or controlled behavior which is likely to attract disapproval or punishment. Crime is harder to define, however Pease (2002) defined crime and deviance as an action that is deemed so disturbing by citizens or disruptive to society that state intervention is justified. The macro perspective of Functionalism sees society working like the human body, this is described through the organic analogy. The agents of socialization work together to form equilibrium within society.
they consider crime and deviance, ahead of a certain level to be dysfunctional to society, as it is seen as threat to social order. However, they believe a certain amount of crime and deviance is not only ‘normal’ but also healthy to all societies according to Durkheim. Strain theory, Merton wrote an article entitled Social Structure and Anomie. Merton offered a social rather than a psychological or biological explanation. It was a structuralism theory as it saw the structure of society shaping people's behaviour.
They both argue that ‘nothing works’ right realists are more concerned with solving crime rather than understanding the causes. As detailed in item a, right realism favours increasing the cost paid by those who commit crimes by for example giving harsher sentencing. Right realists such as James Wilson and Richard Herrnstien put forward a biosocial theory of crime. They believe that criminal behaviour is made up of biological and social factors. They believe that people may be biological more attracted to committing crime than others for example, they believe traits such as aggression and risk taking are inborn in the person and this causes them to commit crimes.