Evaluate the Differences in Crime and Deviance

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Crime and deviance are very common aspects in every society that we know of today. However, there are many different definitions and views of these two social aspects. In England and Wales, Crime is seen as any act, whether trivial or on a major scale, that has been committed that goes against the law provided by the state. Deviance is very similar, but at the same time has a very different meaning. “Deviance” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary (2013) as “The fact or state of diverging from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behaviour”. This is not always a “criminal act” but something that is not a social norm or socially accepted within a certain society. These social “norms” differ between different societies as all societies are different and have different ways of living. For example, deviant behaviour in a family home may be a child staying out later than the time that they have been set by their parents. This is not a criminal act against the state. However, it is something that is not accepted within that home and can then be frowned upon by the child’s parents. This essay will cover the crime and deviance definitions from the Functionalist, Marxist and Symbolic Interactionist approaches and include theories supporting them with also their critiques. Firstly, Functionalist Theory is the longest sociological explanation of what crime and deviance are. It is defined as: “A structural perspective which argues that although crime and deviance are problematic, they must also be understood as ‘social facts’ and analysed in terms of the possible manifest and latent functions that they perform in enabling the smooth running of the social system as a whole” (McLaughin, 2013, p. 190) This theory focused on the social structures within society at the macro level. Functionalism suggests that not only is crime a part of society, but crime
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