The sociology of crime and deviance
Understand key concepts in the study of crime and deviance.
Analyse key sociological concepts in the study of crime and deviance
A crime is an illegal demonstration that is punishable by law. Examples of these are burglary, fraud and shoplifting. Therefore, a crime is legally defined. Historical and culturally diverse proof implies that what is classed as criminal can change after some time and shift between cultures. A good example of this, is recreational drugs, such as cocaine were not illegal in the late nineteenth century but holds a hefty punishment for possession now. The law isn’t always fair but is continually changing and evolving. Laws change with differences in social norms and values. Being gay was seen as wrong and thought to have been a mental illness. However, people’s attitudes change in society throughout generations, but it takes a while for the law to catch up. ”Deviance is behaviour that is recognised as violated expected rules and norms.” 0495007420 page166.Some crimes can be both deviant and criminal. All societies execute social control, the direction and implementation of norms. Social control can be characterized comprehensively as an organised plan proposed to change individuals’ behaviour. The fundamental objective of social control is to keep up social order, a game plan of practices and behaviours on which society’s individuals base their day by day lives.
Discuss the objectivity of official crime statistics
A set of statistics produced from information accumulated by the government, the police, the courts or other authority associations. official statistics Can be utilised to compare different sorts of crime and how figures change in various years. Often utilised as secondary data in social research. If a crime is watched and recognized as a crime, the police might be notified. Be that as it may, if the crime has not been recognized it can’t be disclosed to the police and therefore can’t be incorporated into official statistics. Numerous crimes happen however they go unrecorded. There are many reasons as to why not all victims choose to report their crimes. Examples of this are; the victim may be too scared of the consequence, they could be embarrassed, they may be being black mailed, the victim suffered no loss or even that they are a criminal themselves and trying to keep a low profile. You also have the crimes that are dealt with by a fine or a penalty rather than a prosecution, benefit fraud being one. A British crime survey is a tool used annually, to measure the number of crime within England and Wales, this is done by asking members of the public about their personal experiences with crime. It fails to include thefts from shops, or fraud along with victimless crimes. Self-report surveys are used to encourage the general public to admit to crimes they have committed but were not caught. With all surveys there is a risk that people may lie, however the bonus is it may well expose the hidden figure of crime. Regardless of victim surveys being unnamed it appears that individuals still want to under-report sexual offenses. A risk you have is also the victim’s memory may be biased if they hold a grudge for example so the crime may be deceptive.
Understand different explanations for the social distribution of crime.
Analyse current data on the social distribution of crime with reference to at least two social factors.
Social class – Marxist
There is a distinct correlation between the type of crime and social class. Crimes involving violence such as theft from a property are usually committed by the working class. The middle class tend to commit fraud and money laundering, whereas the majority of upper class crimes involve environmental crimes. Marxist view on crime and deviance is that defects within social order are to blame. The say labour exploitation results in working class crime. Suggesting theft is an example of exploitation, which is a political act of the working class against the capitalist class (the wealthy). The ruling class proceed to break laws with exemption of punishment, whereas the subject classes will be punished. In capitalism societies crime will continue as a result of supporting inequality, class conflict and corrective law will extend in inequality and exploitation. Chambliss argues acts that are characterised as criminal only when it’s in the interest of the ruling class.Ethnicity – Interactionist theory,
The interactionist theory doesn’t presume lawbreakers are dissimilar from those who are law biding citizens. They propose the majority of people perpetrate deviance and criminal acts, however only a small minority are captured and labelled as disgraceful. They suggest the priority ought to be put on understanding the response and meaning of deviance as opposed to the reasons for the initial act. Howard Becker approach to the labelling theory was, “Deviancy is not a quality of the act a person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’. Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label. (Becker, 2014). Becker’s opinion was the moment a label was allocated to an individual it might then largely define and shape a person’s position within society as deviant, resulting in a deviant career to follow.
The British crime survey statistics inform us that, in 2013/2014 it was acknowledged that increased numbers of stop and searches were carried out on black ethnicities, four and half times more than the white ethnicity. Mixed ethnicity being twice as likely and Asian ethnicity one and a half times more likely for stop and searches. As a consequence, more black and mixed group arrests took place than any other ethnicity group. In comparison to other ethnicity group, the black and mixed ethnic groups arrest rates per 1,000 individuals were nearly three and two times higher. This would also explain why rates of prosecution and sentencing relating to the black ethnic group were three times higher compared to the white group. It is disputed that the above results are biased, police officers are presuming the black ethnicity are more possible to offend than other groups and therefore reinforcing the labels. The interactionist approach perceives that crime and deviance is socially established by agencies of social control. The media is a forceful agency of social control which add to the perception of crime. The labelling theory is hard to prove as we do not know how deviant the individual was before there label. Some acts will constantly be refereed to as deviant whether they are labelled or not such as murder. A criticism of the labelling theory is they are seen be ignoring the origin of the deviance.
Becker, H. (2014). Outsiders. Place of publication not identified: Free Press, p.9.