“It is a person’s environment that leads them into criminal and deviant behaviour.” This essay will firstly define deviance and crime in sociological terms. It will explore how deviance and crime are defined and who defines them as such. Considering the moral and legal aspects of deviance and crime. Secondly this essay will consider some of the many ideas and perspectives around the reason for and the continuation of crime and deviance in society. As a conclusion this essay will take into consideration whether the perspectives outlined are external or internal in their description of reasons for crime and deviance and try and determine the relevance of the arguments.
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.
These concept explain crime at levels of the society, the individual, and the group. An individual’s potential for criminality depends on the competition between associations that treat criminal behavior positively and those who treat it negatively (Vandelay, 2010, p.1) The main points of Sutherland’s Differential Association Theory are the nine propositions which are one that criminal behavior is learned second which is similar to the first proposition is that criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other people in an attempt to communicate. The third main point or proposition is that the principal part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups. The fourth main point is that when criminal behavior is learned, the learning includes; the techniques of committing the crime which are sometimes complicated or very simple and the specific motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes. The fifth main point is the specific direction of motives and drive is learned from the definition of the legal codes whether it is favorable or unfavorable.
Describe how social cognition can explain criminal behaviour. Cognition has been recognised as an explanation of why an individual turns to crime. This term is applied to the mental processes that determine our actions, feelings and beliefs. Social cognition explores how our thoughts are influenced by the people we associate with. Additionally psychologists look at social cognition the other way round, to determine social phenomena through an individuals’ cognitions.
Assess the usefulness of official statistics to our understanding of social problems. Illustrate your response with sociological arguments and evidence. To assess the usefulness of official statistics to our understanding of social problems, I will first look at what official statistics are, I will then look at crime and suicide as two examples of social problems. I will look at how both Positivists and Interpretativists use these statistics and how useful each of these sociological approaches find them. Official statistics is the name given to the numbers of crimes reported to or unveiled by the police themselves, which lead to a conviction, caution or are dealt with in some formal way by the law.
Provide a critical response to the statement that “Criminology is the science of law- making, law- breaking, and law- enforcing” (Sherman, 2013:1) Lawrence Sherman defines criminology as the science of law- making, law- breaking, and law enforcing. This statement holds true to a large extent. A similar definition stressing both the theoretical and applied nature of a science of crime is the one formulated by Edwin H. Sutherland, according to which: “Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as social phenomenon. It includes within its scope the process of making laws, of breaking laws, and of reacting toward the breaking of laws….the objectivity of criminology is the development of a body of general and verified principled and of other types of knowledge regarding this process of law, crime, and treatment or prevention” (The Florida State University, n.d.) Criminology should be more than law- making, law- breaking, and law enforcing. Criminological studies tend to be gender biased and focus largely on crimes of the powerless (street crimes).
DISCUSS THE PROBLEMS IN MEASURING AND DEFINING CRIME AND DEVIANCE. INTRODUCTION This paper will discuss the problems faced whilst trying to define and measure crime and deviance whilst also explaining the differences and relationship between crime and deviance. Criminologists have created means of measuring crime which this paper will explore and identify problems which will occur during the recording of crime and will explore influences on crime and crime statistics. DEFINING CRIME AND DEVIANCE Defining crime or deviance is diverse amongst the many different cultures, history and from one social context to another (new texts pg 138) which causes a big problem whilst defining and measuring crime or deviance as what is believed to be criminal or deviant behaviour in one society may be seen as legal or normal behaviour by another society. 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.
Crime is know as any behavior which breaks known laws. This behavior can be learned and usually stems from aggression or anti social behavior. There are various theories for crime and the cause of it but they all fit into 3 main catorgries psychological, social, and biological. One theory of crime is eysnecks personality theory. He has composed a test to measure different aspects of a persons character.
What are the major approaches that criminologists use to explain crime? Explain each of them. Which approach or approaches would be of greatest practical use to the security manager? Since ancient times, criminologists study various theories of crime in order to place measures that may reduce or eliminate specific crime risks. They are trying to use different approaches to explain crime by different category of theory, such as psychology, biology and sociology.
People being labelled (negatively) will always be affected according to their label, and society plays an important role in the labelling process. In the next few paragraphs the contribution of Becker as an exponent of the labelling perspective will be discussed along with the process of labelling and the typology of deviants. Labelling as a cause of crime According to the Study Guide (The explanation of crime), Becker shortly discussed the way different sets of rules affect the theory of labelling as a cause of crime while developing his theory. This labelling theory, also known as the societal reaction theory does not only define deviants, it can also make them. When someone is labelled an offender they are forced by society to live according to this label which could minimise their chances of being law abiding citizens and limit their chances of finding decent jobs.