Studying Society Lecture 6


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These are the slides from my Studying Society course at Durham University’s Foundation Centre. This week are looking at crime and deviance, including what functionalists, marxists and feminists would say about them, and how we create crime statistics.

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  • Brainstorm a variety of crimes, teasing out the interesting/ debatable ones (speeding? Illegal downloads?)
  • Laws have a long history (e.g. Bible, Romans)Crime can be positive (reinforcing values, e.g. property crimes, private property, marital rape – equality of women)
  • Riots – anomie? Or different values??Rioting could reinforce fundamental values (rule of law etc.)
  • On board outline what the dominant cultural goal might be (money, perhaps family/ childhood)? Then outline the accepted means. Use this to outline the different deviant groups.
  • e.g. ‘illegal’downloads
  • Ask class to think of reasons for rising recorded crime rate
  • From (chapter 2)Which crimes are most likely to be reported, and why? And which are least likely?
  • Studying Society Lecture 6

    1. 1. Crime and Deviance
    2. 2. Outline•Social construction of crime•Merton‟s Deviance•Functionalist and Marxist views on crime•Dark figure of crime•British Crime Survey
    3. 3. What is crime?
    4. 4. Crime Vs Deviance• Crime is behaviour which is against the law of a particular country and is punishable.• Crime is socially constructed • Focus on criminalization • No „natural criminal‟• Deviance is behaviour that does not conform to the norms of a given society • Deviance can be positive (heroism, genius) or negative (slacker, chav)
    5. 5. FunctionalismSociety‟s laws reflect norms and values (consensus)Crime is both positive and negative how can crime help society function?Functionalist-inspired sub-cultural theory wouldstress importance of crime in identity
    6. 6. Emile Durkheim - Anomie„Anomie‟ means being insufficiently integrated into society‟s norms andvaluesExplains why some people become dysfunctional and turn to crime.causes society to become less integrated and more individualisticcauses individuals to look out for themselves rather than thecommunity
    7. 7. Anomie?
    8. 8. Marxist views on CrimeMarxists recognise the systematic bias in favour of the powerfulin the application of the law • Laws are not consensual • Capitalist focus on property laws (e.g. illegal downloads) “The heart of the capitalist system is the protection of private property, which is, by definition, the cornerstone upon which capitalist economies function. It is not surprising, then, to find that criminal law reflects this basic concern” (Chambiliss 1976) How many of you have downloaded music? How many have paid? Is this a crime?
    9. 9. Marxist views on crime“The state is reluctant to pass – or enforce – stringent laws against pollution, worker health and safety, or monopolies. Such measures frighten off the much sought-after investment” (Snider 1993)These criminal acts can be exported to un(der)regulated countriesAs a general rule, the higher people are in the social system, the lesslikely they are to be arrested, charged, prosecuted and found guilty.Marxists stress the significant „dark-side‟ of white-collar and corporatecrime that is largely invisible and absent from crime statistics.
    10. 10. Feminist views on crimeLaws reinforce patriarchyMarriage as slavery • Women as chattels • Options for divorce • Marital rape (criminalised in 1991 in England) • Domestic violenceCriminal Justice System reinforces patriarchy • Male judiciary and police • Gender stereotypes
    11. 11. Break
    12. 12. How might we measurecrime?
    13. 13. Measuring Crime 1:Recorded crime Where on this chart does a crime become a crime?
    14. 14. Crime in the UK
    15. 15. Reasons for rising report crimeMore state action: as policing gets better more crimes are detected.More laws: Because of more legislation on the statute book, there aremore possible crimes (traffic offences, financial fraud, computer relatedcrimes, etc.)More sensitivity: People are more sensitive to reporting crimes physicaland sexual violence to the police.More victims: Because of increased affluence there are more things tosteal. As opportunities have risen, so have crimes.
    16. 16. Dark Figure of Crime
    17. 17. Group workWhy is the crime rate higher in urban areas?Why are most convicted criminals young?Why are most convicted criminals male?Why are most convicted criminals working class?
    18. 18. BCS – British Crime SurveyThe BCS measures the amount of crime in England and Wales by askingpeople about crimes they have experienced in the last year • 24,000 interviewsThe BCS includes crimes which are not reported to the police, so it is animportant alternative to the Official Crime Rate.Victims do not report crime for various reasons. Without the BCS thegovernment would have no information on these unreported crimes.
    19. 19. Comparing reported with BCS
    20. 20. ConclusionsDeviance Vs CrimeCrime is about powerSocial construction of crime statistics (but still useful!)Different stats useful for different purposes