DefinitionsCRIME: behaviour that breaks the formal laws of a given society. The punishment of crime will be more severe than the punishment of deviance.DEVIANCE: behaviour that deviates or moves or away from norms of society. It is considered abnormal. Deviant behaviour is considered unacceptable but depending on the context it may be viewed differently by some.SOCIAL CONTROL: ensures people conform to social rules and societies accepted norms and values. Done through formal and informal agencies of social control.SOCIAL ORDER: refers to the patterns and regularities in life.
Types of crime:• White collar crime: middle class crime that is mainly invisible which means many are not caught. An example would be fraud.• Corporate crime: large scale crimes based on companies i.e. Bhopal disaster. May be committed against employees, consumers, the general public or the environment.
Research... On corporate/white collar crime• Bonger: argued that since the capitalist system is based on greed,selfishness and exploitation it was hardly surprising that crime was amain feature of such a society. The system is driven on making profitrather than human need.• Strider: notes how governments are often reluctant to pass laws thatthreaten the profitability of large companies.• Michalowski and Kramer: says that some firms are attracted tocountries that have a weak enforcement of health and safety pollutioncontrols for production. This means they do not have to so strict andcan evade laws which saves them money and therefore makes moreprofit.• Box supports this saying that companies move to underdevelopedcountries in order to “dodge” the developed countries laws.
MARXISMIDEASCrime is inevitable as it is based on the exploitation of the proletariat. Alienation and lack of control may lead to frustration and this could be the cause of crime.Chamberliss: laws to protect private property help the ruling class. They also have the power to prevent laws that might affect their property and wealth from been issued.Reiman: street crimes such as assault and theft are much more likely to be pursued by the police than white collar crime is.Gordon argues that this selective enforcement of the law maintains that the ruling class stay at the stop, giving the impression that crime is situated among the working class.Pearce argues that when laws are passed the look to give more health and safety in the workplace, it is actually just to give capitalism a “caring face.” Creates a false class consciousness and keeps the working class happy and working for the ruling class.
CRITICISMS Ignores individual motivation. Its highly deterministic, rarely considering notions of individual free-will. Ignores the relationship between crime and other inequalities like gender and ethnicity. Not all poor people commit crime Not all capitalist societies have high rates of crime Left realists argue that Marxists focus largely on the crimes of the powerful and ignores crimes such as burglary and murder which happens among all classes causing great harm to victims.
NEO-MARXISMIDEASStuart Hall – “policing the crisis”. Hall argues that the government created the scapegoats of “young black muggers” in order to create moral panic among the public. This took away the attention away from economic problems and unemployment that were current at the time.CRITICISMS Does not show how capitalist crisis led to moral panic and they also provide no evidence that the public were in fact panicking. Left realists argue that inner-city residents fear about mugging are not panicky, but realistic.
NEO-MARXISMIDEASTaylor et al: believe that people are committing crime in order to strive to remove capitalism (anti-capitalist protests.) They argue that crime is a political motive, for example to redistribute to wealth from the rich to the poor.CRITICISMS Feminists say they are gender biased Left realists argue this is romanticising working class criminals as ‘robin hoods’ when many criminals are simply preying on the poor. This suggests that Taylor et al are not taking crime seriously.
FUNCTIONALISMIDEASEmile Durkheim: crime is inevitable and a normal part of everyday society. A certain amount of crime is functional for society.Crime varies from society to society and it can be reduced but never completely eliminated. Even in a “society of saints” populated by perfect individuals, someone would eventually “slip up”.We have a “collective consciousness” of what is acceptable and what is not. However, over time these norms and values we all hold will change.
Functions of crime?1. By publically enforcing formal sanctions or punishments, collective ideas about social morality are reinforced. Boundaries are reinforced and existing values are reaffirmed. When particular “nasty” crimes occur, communities are strengthened by their collective dislike for it (i.e. 9/11)2. When crime occurs and sympathy for the criminal occurs, it may prompt a debate and signal a change in values and laws.
Other functionalist ideas...• Kingsley Davis: some crimes can act as a safety valves that releases pressure in order to prevent worse things happening. He gave the example of prostitution been a crime which prevents the family been threatened by providing sexual outlets.• Ned Polsky: pornography safely channels desires away from alternatives such as adultery.• Albert Cohen: deviances can also act as a warning to that institutions or policies are not working and that changes need to be made.
CRITICISMS Some crimes have no benefits in society – who does child abuse help? Functionalism fails to explain why crime happens in the first place, only gives the functions that it serves. It ignores individuals in society. For example, how is crime functional for victims? Overall, many argue that functionalism is out-of-date.
STRAIN THEORYIDEASRobert K. Merton. Strain refers to when people are places in a position where they can not achieve what they want in society – they cannot reach the accepted goals that society sets.He believes there is an ‘American dream’ – where society has set ideal goals and everyone wants and feels they need to meet them. People are often unable to reach these goals and this leads to strain and tension in which deviance is often the result.
Criticisms Doesn’t consider the change in norms and values over time. Post modernists would argue that people want lots of different things now. (Valier, 2001) Merton is a white, middle class man in 1930/40’s. Therefore he is limited in his views and possibly biased against other people. This can be seen as he ignores issues of gender, ethnicity and age etc. and the impact these have on people committing crimes etc.
IDEAS CONTROL THEORYTravis Hirschi: crime occurs when people’s attachment to society is weakened. There is 4 crucial bonds that hold people to society: 1. Attachment: caring about other people’s wishes and opinions. 2. Commitment: other people’s investments and what we have to lose from committing crime. 3. Involvement: is there more time and space for us to commit crime deviance (i.e. The responsibility we have – employments, friends, family etc.) 4. Belief: strentgh of belief in whether or not rules should be broken. Evidence: Hirschi researched into the lives of 4,000 you people (age 12-17) in California. He reported bonds with parents and teachers were more significant when looking at involvement in crime, compared to material factors (i.e. Committing crime like theft in order to get things they want.)
ETZONIApplied control theory to areas of American social policy aimed at reducing crime. He maintained that policies that aimed themselves at developing communities and bonds increased social integration and prevented crime. This is therefore evidence in support of control theory. Criticism Selective view of crime that mainly focuses on street crime (violence, delinquency and theft.)
SUBCULTURAL THEORYS. N. EISENSTADTThere is a youth stage across all societies that is universal. It is a transitory stage following childhood and culminating in full adult status. There are 3 functions of this youth stage: 1. Development of individual personality and self control and self regulation 2. Society shapes young adults into what it wants them to be 3. Self identity happensIn modern industrial societies, youth are given too much freedom. Peer groups influence this and therefore young people become isolated and segregated from the adult world.
Research...• Albert Cohen: Status frustration: individuals experience frustration because they cannot achieve status. Reaction formation results from this as young men replace societies norms with different ones that they are more able to achieve. Therefore still achieving some sort of status.• Cloward and Ohlin: young delinquents become involved in a criminal subculture where they learn from established older criminals. There is also conflict subculture which is gang violence which occurs due to a lack of achievement. Therefore they do this to release frustration. Finally, retreatist subculture which mainly revolved around drugs.
Research...• Walter Miller: believes there is a lower class subculture which have normal working class norms. They have developed 6 focal concerns: toughness, smartness, excitement, fate, trouble and desire.• David Matza: everyone shares subterranean values of greed, crime etc. and these emerge during times of stress. Young people have less control over these values and therefore drift between crime and deviance and subcultures
CRITICISMS Limited knowledge as big subcultures aren’t easy to access. Not every criminal is part of a subculture – i.e. Those involved in domestic violence. It focuses on group mentality rather than individual personalities. Male stream = its wrote by men about men. Ignore the idea of free will
THE NEW RIGHT• Murray: mainly blames the underclass. He believes they don’t want formal employment, choose short-term sexual liaisons and have children outside of marriage. These children then miss out proper role models and do not learn norms and values, which leads to them committing crime.• Coleman: believes that when family bonds are strong, there is good interaction and a good spread of norms and bonds. However, when there is low levels and poor family relationships children develop poorly, leading them to turn to crime.• Dennis: the lack of social control is causing crime.
CRITICISMS It is questioned whether a nuclear family is always best as it can provide an unstable setting – domestic violence. Ignores the impacts that poverty has on society. Post modernists: norms and values are changing dramatically – new types of family. You don’t need to be married in order to provide social control. Blames individuals for crime when society may also be at blame too.
RIGHT REALISMRational choice theory• James Q. Wilson• Getting rid of poverty will not reduce crime as many poor people do not even commit crime (i.e. Elderly and sick). Crime comes from rational calculation of the costs and benefits of crime (will the cost of getting caught outweigh the benefits.) Currently, perceived costs seem low to people.Broken window thesis• Wilson and Kelling• When social control is absent, anti-social behaviour and crime spirals and areas decline. (analogy= when a window is broken in a disused building, it leads to more damage when no repairs are made. The area builds a reputation for crime as more people commit crime because of the way the areas looks.
Policy recommendations:1. Zero tolerance policing – control in public places prevents disorder and escalation by dealing with minor issues straight away. Example: New York’s zero tolerance policing.2. Target hardening – CCTV, lockable windows, security guards, street lighting etc.3. Strengthening local communities to fight crime (neighbourhood watch groups) and introduction of new legal authorities. Police should be made more visible, introduction of ASBO’s, curfews, dispersal orders etc.
CRITICISMS Blames individuals. The ideas are stereotypical and judgemental. Not all solutions are working – police receive little respect and ASBO’s are considered as trophies by many people. Too much control could lead to conflict which could create rebellion – riots. Jones: more serious crimes happen still. Lack of investment in areas – no parks etc. this is what is needed.
LEFT REALISMJock Young et al.They explain crime through 3 key concepts, highlighting the fact that working class, black street crime is a problem that should not be romanticised: 1. Relative deprivation: rising crime is linked to rising standard in the way people think they should live. Materialism. 2. Subcultures 3. Marginalisation: groups who are not represented politically or who don’t have regular employment used violence and rioting as an attempt to be heard.Also: there is flaws in policing including the public decline in confidence of the police. This has led to police having to resort to military and surveillance techniques which alienate communities further.
Policy recommendations• Job opportunities – work experience for younger people.• Youth club and activities to occupy young people’s time.• Give the working class a voice. Give them a chance to become involved in councils and to be able to recommend what they want.• Improved leisure activities and housing• Improve the relationship between the community and police system
CRITICISMS• Most policies involve people having to get involved for themselves and a lot of people lack this motivation.• Not all subcultures are deviant• Right realist: believe the policies are expensive and not tackling the correct things
LABELLING THEORYMaster status: when people are known for certain things and this is seen as their main quality. Everyone may see you as a criminal or deviant person.• Pillavin and Briar: found that police decisions to arrest youths were mainly based on physical cues (such as manner and dress) from which they made judgements about the youth’s character.• Cicourel: police officers typifications leads to them concentrating on certain types. They hang around working class areas more which confirms stereotypes.• Lemert: primary deviance is when the act is committed but not yet labelled as deviant. Secondary deviance is when the act has been committed.• Becker: those who become labelled are treat like outsiders which leads to them turning into their behaviour even more.• Jock Young studies hippies who were taking marijuana but police persecuted them and labelled them which led to them starting their own subculture where drug taking was a central feature.
CRITICISMSDoes not explain why deviant behaviour happens in the first place.The person who is labelled plays little or no role in the defining process.People might carry on deviant behaviour because it has rewardsIgnores victim of crime and seems to focus on the ‘underdog’. Once again another theory that seems romanticise crime.