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.
“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.
Crime can only be a social problem if it breaks rules in the social system. The human societies often have different minds to what a social problem consists of. There are many known definitions of social problems throughout different societies and worldwide. Criminology in the narrow sense is concerned with the study of the phenomenon of crime, and of the factors or circumstances which may have influence on or be associated with the criminal behaviour and the state of crime in general. The understanding of criminology is to see social problems and cause of the crimes and how they have affect on people in society.
| Unit 1 SO0752A | Introduction to Crime and Deviance | | | | | “Why is it important to understand what constitutes crime?” | In the 21st century it is important for a variety of reasons to understand what constitutes crime. Not only does it broaden the criminological imagination but it allows you to questions the stereotypical images of crime presented to us on a daily basis through the media. We can also gain a more insightful understanding of the problem of crime. For many crime is seen as an act that breaks the law. According to Tappan’s (1947 p.100, quoted in Muncie et al 2010 p.4) “crime is an intentional act in violation of criminal law (statutory or case law), committed without defence or excuse and penalised by the state as a felony or misdemeanour”.
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.
Edwin H. Sutherland’s differential association theory is believed that an individual’s criminal behaviors were learned from their social and differential group organizations. Sutherland adopted the view that prevailing conception of crime as having multiple causes, including mental deficiency, broken homes, minority status, age, class, inadequate socialization, alcoholic parents and the like (Matsueda, 2000, p. 125). Sutherland stated that the differential theory has a set of nine propositions. These propositions introduce three concepts; the normative conflict, differential association, and differential group organization. These concept explain crime at levels of the society, the individual, and the group.
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.
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.
This assignment will discuss the problems involved in measuring crime and defining crime and deviance. A crime consists of behaviour that breaks the law, e.g. Murder. Deviance is behaviour that differs from the norms and values of the wider society. Describing crime and deviance is varied across different cultures; history; social situations and place.
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).