13B strengths vs weaknessesPresentation Transcript
Class 13-B Assessing the strengths/weaknesses of the various perspectives of crime
Biological/Psychological Strengths: Lombroso saw crime as a form of illness caused by pathological factors. Individual differences in behaviour can pre-dispose certain people into committing crimes. They identify certain abnormalities within the individual which separate the criminal from the non-criminal. The sources of crime were seen to lie within the individual.
Biological/Psychological Weaknesses: Functionalists say crime is a feature of all societies not just the individual Interactionalists argue (Becker) ‘you are a criminal because you have been labelled as one, not because of genes’. Marxists would say ‘it is the capitalist system which causes crime through class conflict’ In response to Merton subculturalists (Cohen) ‘not everyone is under a strain to anomie it’s just the working-class’
Functionalists Strengths: Durkheim looks to society for an explanation of crime rather than the biological/psychological make up of the individual. Durkheim argued that a certain amount of crime is necessary for society to function Society causes anomie, this can come from over or under regulation of people Merton (4 adaptations) suggests that the nature of society (competitive individualism) generates crime and deviance which then develops the strain to anomie.
Functionalists Weaknesses: Marxist would argue that Functionalists fail to explain or even acknowledge what causes the presence of crime/deviance in the first place. Interactionalists would say that agents of social control cause crime, not the society you are in Feminists disagree that crime is a necessary function of society instead it maintains patriarchal power Subculturalists argue that it is not everyone who is under the strain of anomie, but only the working class.
Subculturalists Strengths: Cohen, Miller, Cloward & Ohlin argue that those under the strain to anomie tend to be the working class. Cohen – Status frustration – people cannot gain status legitimately so create a subculture with their own values. Many of these subcultures commit crimes in order to gain status within their subculture. Subculturalsits argue that not everyone wants material success which is why non-utilitarian crimes are committed. Subculturalism has been developed to explain middle class crime, the pressure to succeed lead s to criminal acts.
Subculturalists Weaknesses: Interactionalists – subcultures suggest that the working classes commit crime, rather than explaining why the working classes are stereotyped as criminals. Realists argue subcultures ignore free will. Feminists say that subculturalists focus on working class male crime, and this doesn’t explain the rise of ‘ladette’ subculture. Marxists argue subculturalists’ fail to consider the laws which the working-class break have been created by the ruling-class (tax evasion/avoidance)
There no set definition that all actions are results of labelling, therefore there is no such thing as crime and deviance just actions labelled as such
Some social groups are more likely to be labelled as criminal and deviant. Due to their ethnicity, class etc.
This is because criminal labels are the reflection of the perception of the agents of social control i.e. the police, which then creates a consensual agreement on what and who is criminal in society.
Becker said: “social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance and by applying those rules to particular and labelling them as deviant”
Weaknesses of Interactionist Perspectives Feminist would argue that Interactionist ignore the difference of gender and the capacity men to label women as doubly deviant Marxism would argue that Interactionist perspectives fail to explain why only the working-classes are labelled as criminal and deviant and not the middle/ruling-classes– the power of the ruling-classes to issue labels Left Realists would argue that Interactionist fail to recognise external factors such as low income and geographical location (deprived inner city areas) Postmodernist would argue that Interactionist put too much emphasis on social control labelling actions as deviant and criminal, when in reality members of society have their values and beliefs on what is criminal and deviant. Therefore it could be argued that there isn’t a shared consensus in society.
Marxist Perspective of Crime Marxists’ argue crime is an inevitable part of capitalism which stems from social inequalities between the social classes subsequently causes class conflict Marxists argue that anything that is seen as criminal or deviant is defined as such by the ruling-class. This protects their own interests. Marxists argue the ruling class will violate laws with impunity while members of the subject classes will be punished. For example income tax evasion/avoidance Marxists see white collar crime as being a means of reaching success in a capitalist society based on profit and greed. Fiddling expenses or Wonga. Com 2,000% APR Issue of hidden crime – more ‘crimes’ (not robbery, theft etc) are committed by the rich and powerful that most people no nothing about
Weaknesses of Marxists Perspective of Crime Feminist would argue that Marxists put too much emphasis on social inequality in class and don’t take into consideration inequality in gender. Functionalist would argue that in terms of the ‘strain to anomie’ the working-class are more likely to commit crimes and deviance because of the situation they put themselves in. Because they don’t gain qualifications they don’t get good jobs and are under a strain to anomie Right Realist would argue that it doesn’t matter what social class your in, you commit crimes because you choose to (free will) not forced to. Neo- Marxists would argue that Marxists are too simplistic in their method as they fail to identify wider cultural factors which lead to crimesuch the role of the state – Stuart Hall ‘Policing the crisis’ – mugging to distract the population from what is really happening
Neo-Marxism - Strengths
Neo-Marxists examine the influence of culture on law and order policies
Neo-Marxists cut the superstructure into two – political and civil society
Neo-Marxists believe that ruling class use the cultural effects model in order to separate the classes
Neo-marxism - Weaknesses Feminists would say they ignore gender bias Left realists would say that they don’t focus enough on victims Sub-culturalists would say that neo-marxists don’t explain non-utlitarian crime Interactionists say that there aren’t any crimes until they are labelled as such by agents of social control
Feminists Strengths Argue that women's crimes are committed because the women are powerless in societye.g. the concrete ceiling consequently they commit ‘easier’ petty crimes Explains why women commit more financial crimes such as fraud in the workplace, because they tend to run admin Feminists would argue that women are penalised for crimes more than men due to their characteristics being associated with caring for children and the home, they have more to lose by deviating. An example of this would be Maxine Carr. Women are labelled as doubly deviant – think prostitution In the past women were socialised to conform and they were more strictly supervised than men and therefore have less freedom. With post feminism women have the same freedom as men to work, to be single, to go out, therefore they have more opportunities to commit crime/deviance – think laddetts
Feminists Weaknesses Marxists would argue that it is not patriarchy that encourages women to commit crime, it is capitalism. Crimes committed that aren’t for financial gain are seen as an expression of frustration. Biological perspective would argue that women do not have the characteristics of criminals, due to soft feminine features. Right realists say men and women have the same rights, yet they still blame men
Ethnicity Strengths Blacks are seen as disproportionately criminal-this view has been adopted by police and the criminal justice system. There has been identification of racism in the criminal justice system after the Macpherson Report looked into the case of Stephen Lawrence. Ethnic minorities are more likely to be prosecuted and serve a longer sentence with no bail or parole.
Ethnicity Weaknesses Gilroy (there aint no black in the union jack) Black criminality is high. It is not criminal it is political because ethnic minorities do not have equal rights. Feminists would say that they ignore inequalities in gender Marxists would criticise ethnic perspectives of crime because they ignore the role of capitalism.
Right realists Strengths Right realism is a result of criminology and labelling theories as neither showed concern for victims of crime. Wilson argues that affluence and prosperity may go hand in hand with rising crime. They picture young men as ‘temporarily aggressive’ and makes them prone to crime. Consistent discipline inside and outside the home encourages individuals to learn and follow societies norms and values and develop self-control. Instant gratification reduces these constraints on their behaviour making them less likely to conform and more likely to become deviant.
Right Realists Weaknesses Marxists would criticise due to them focussing on working-class crime rather than crimes of the powerful. Marxists would also argue that right realists ignore the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, creating resentment. Left realists would argue that right realists overdramatizes the crime problem and fails to understand the real causes of crime. Functionalists and Feminists would argue that Right Realists would focus on young males and street crime and ignore the extent of white collar, domestic and cooperate crimes.
Left-realism strengths Left realists say the main driving forces generating crime are relative deprivation and individualism. Crime has increased due to the disintegration of informal social controls and economic change (loss of manufacturing jobs) Unlike right realists, left realists argue that some are more prone to crime than others. Jock Young says that there’s been an exclusion of those at the base of the class structure and the mass media portray a lifestyle that they can’t achieve (“bulimic society”) People’s expectations and reality don’t match up, which causes frustration and the feeling of being marginalised.
Left-realism weaknesses Marxists would say that they pay too much attention to street crime and ignore white-collar and corporate crime (crime of the ruling class e.g. tax evasion) Left realists hint towards the criminal being the victim (marginalised and unable to have the flashy lifestyles portrayed by the media) However, right realists say that the criminal is to blame and it is their own fault. Different perspectives would criticise left realists for not recognising the real cause of frustration: Merton would say that this frustration is ‘strain to anomie’; Cohen would say that it’s ‘status frustration’; Gilroy said that all “crime is a political act”, portraying their frustration; feminists would say that it’s frustration against a patriarchal society; Marxists would say that it’s class frustration.
Postmodernism: Strengths Postmodernism view the concept of crime as having no ontological value Post-modernists are critical of all a priori claims to truth and knowledge Nothing is absolute, everything is relative to time period and place Postmodernists see the world with an unlimited number of models therefore it is incapable of being explained within any scientific theory This perspective is useful because it allows academics to discuss/question complex issues like terrorism or paedophilia outside the established paradigm of crime
Weaknesses Functionalists would argue if everything is relative and there are no established rules then how can a consensus about right and wrong be established. If there’s no right and wrong then how can people to avoid being criminal? Marxism – class and capitalism does exist, because it exists then some groups are free to exploit others and this exploitation leads to crime. Also those groups who are exploited express their frustration through criminal and deviant acts Ethinicity – you can’t get away from your ethnic background and so have no free will. Ethnic minorities are 6 times more likely to be arrested just because of their skin colour. This isn’t an abstract idea but a real not relative experience which becomes a truth for ethnic minorities