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.
In it’s simplest definition, victimology is the study of the victim or victims of a particular offender (Wallace & Roberson 2011: 3). However, two other definitions expound deeper into victimology: (1) victimology is the study of crime victims and the psychological effects of being a victim (Def, Random House Dictionary, 2011), and (2) victimology is the study of the ways in which the behavior of crime victims may have or have not contributed to their victimization (Def, Merriam-Webster, 2011). The early works about victims were first written by criminologist, as early as the mid 1700’s. The term victimology was coined by Beniamin Mendelsohn in 1974 (Dussich, 2000). Several criminologist (Hentig, Mendelsohn and Ellenberger) examined victim-offender interactions and stressed reciprocal influences and role reversals.
Different sociological theories can have various explanations for the same phenomenon In this paper I will explain how different sociological theories can have various explanations for the same phenomenon. For example, we will explore crime rates in the US and I will show how three sociological theories—symbolic interactionism, functionalist theory and conflict theory—would explain the kind, distribution, or changing crime rates in the US. By the definition symbolic interactionism analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on objects, events, and behaviors. Subjective meanings are given primacy because it is believe that people behave based on what they believe and not just on what is objectively true. Thus, society is thought to be socially constructed through human interpretation.
“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.
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.
For example, if that individual whom a person holds high regard for deems criminal behavior as favorable, than that person will imitate the same behavior. Also, if a child is taught how to perform an illegal act or even experiences criminal activity by his or her parents, of course, becomes a criminal. Furthermore, put in another perspective of how criminal behavior is learned or imitated, is a research called, “The Code of the Street,” conducted by Elijah Anderson, a Sociologist, in 1990. He studied the inner city neighborhoods and the set of rules put forth by neighborhoods, where individuals’ behavior and social life is understood by the code defined. This code that has been established, is protected and feared as rules within such communities.
He believes that the positivist scientific method could be applied to the study of crime so as to find out its causes and prevent it. His particular approach was described as criminal anthropology. He compared the known offenders and a control group of soldiers by the post-mortem measurement and examination. After studying the resulting, Lombroso think that there a correlation between certain physical features, such as an asymmetrical face, large jaws and long arms, and criminality. In his opinion, these physical traits were characteristic of an earlier period of human evolution.
Differential association “Sutherland introduced the concept of differential association, which he developed into a theory to explain the process by which an individual engages in criminal behaviour” (http://www.oup.com/ us/pdf/reid/Reid_ Chapter6.pdf) which is the first of Akers key elements is differential association. This refers to ones exposure to, and interactions with, others. The impact of this exposure may vary according to the rate of recurrence, how long the exposure and the intensity of this exposure, to others. Definitions The second of Akers key elements is definitions. This element refers to attitudes or level of approval individuals hold regarding morals and laws in general as well as specific deviant behaviours.
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.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using Quantitative and Qualitative methods to study Class and Crime Sociological research is incredibly useful in identifying patterns and relationships between social institutions and forces that exist around us today. Class and Crime are at the forefront of these social institutions. Therefore, questions such as ‘Why are their inequalities in class?’ or ‘Are some people predisposed to commit crime?’ arise and it lays upon sociological research to answer these questions. However the type of research we conduct can be compromised and split into two categories; Quantitative (based on positivist data) and Qualitative (Interpreitivst). There are chosen according to the type of research and data the social researcher hopes to find.