Briefly explain how the concept of 'male stream' knowledge referred to in Item A has effected sociological explanations of behaviour with reference to family and households
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Crime & Deviance 5 a) Briefly explain how the concept of 'male stream' knowledge referred to in Item A has effected sociological explanations of behaviour with reference to family and households. (8 marks) One effect of male stream knowledge in sociological explanations of behaviour is that men tend to be very much in favour of positivist methods, like scientific research and proof. Whereas feminists think that the sympathetic approach is better therefore using things like observations, this mainly due to the fact that positivist research has many flaws. Another effect is that due to the fact that men develop most sociological explanations of crime and therefore they only talk bout men. They exclude the fact the females commit crime which is evident in all of the theories apart from feminism because these ideas are predominantly about women. This means that women are left out of the equation meaning that men place there patriarchal views on the sociology of crime. b) Briefly evaluate the usefulness of social surveys as a source of information on crime and deviance for sociologists. (12 marks) Social surveys are a way of finding out information from a large number of people. An example of a social survey is a questionnaire, which is the easiest and quickest way of getting a large amount of information from a population. Official statistics were primarily used to help sociologists work out who and how much crime exists. These were then criticised saying that they do not show unreported crime, which could be a far greater number than that provided in the official statistics. Therefore, victimisation studies were formed, which are a form of social survey. They use questionnaires to ask people in a chosen population whether they have been a victim of crime. One form of this is the British Crime Survey (BCS), this is done yearly and the information is released to the public every two years.
He also says that every criminal act could potentially be revolutionary. An example of this is Nelson Mandela, who committed a crime and was sent to prison but now he is a hero because he formed civil rights. Another interpretation of Marxism is Crude Marxism; James Graham said that there was collusion over ideas of the Drug Abuse Act in the USA. This was formed of the drug enforcement agency, Nixon administration (who were having trouble with peace protesters) and the chemical corporations, who produced slimming pills, which were basically amphetamines. They decided that drugs like cannabis and heroin should be illegal because otherwise they would be supporting anti-capitalist lifestyles. For example the fact that the bourgeoisie don't control those drugs production therefore they don't get any profit out of it. Another thing that Graham highlights is that the bourgeoisie use this to highlight proletariat crime therefore hiding the corporate crime that they commit. Chambliss is also a Crude Marxist, he was writing in the 1970's in Seattle. He said that most of police control is on the proletariat, when in fact there is a lot of crime within the bourgeoisie too. He found that the kind of people in criminal syndicates which do things like protection scams are police officers and local politicians. Therefore the whole capitalist class is criminal but is being overshadowed because the people who commit crimes are the people that are trying to stop it, so they focus the attention on the proletariat to make them look good. Chambliss therefore agrees with Marx that crime is found in all social classes. He also noticed that laws are to control the proletariat rather than the bourgeoisie because the bourgeoisie are the ones who make the laws. However, Functionalists believe that crime is only within the working class rather than all social classes. They think Marxists are naïve because they only blame capitalism for crime rather than seeing it as a function.
I believe that feminism is a simplistic way of looking at crime and doesn't outline the causes of female crime, which is the problem with all the theories. Post modernism is probably the most adequate way of looking at crime. Carol Smart is a post modernist and is very critical of positivism in criminology. She says that all most theories try to do is find the causes of crime and assume that their theories will help to eradicate crime. They also assume that scientific methods for investigating crime is the best which as I previously stated Smart doesn't believe positivism is the best method. She says the claim that we can solve problems is Phallogocentric; therefore they try to provide answers, which she says is a typical male obsession with domination. Carol Smart believes that there are lots of causes and all are different for each crime, therefore she believes that there is no such thing as crime and that it is male criminologists which have decided to put all 'crimes' together an generalise them which she thinks is a typical male view. Post modernism does have its faults as well, that if you believe this idea then nothing will be done and there is proof that show that people do suffer from crime. You wouldn't be able to prove anything or say anything and nothing will ever be solved. I don't think there is one good theory, which helps to explain both male and female crime, but at least feminism tries to explain why females are not shown on official crime statistics and the fact that it is the criminal justice systems fault. Therefore Feminism is a very good theory if you put it alongside other theories to create the whole picture of crime therefore Marxism etc explains why men commit crime and feminism adds to that to say why females don't get convicted. Therefore there isn't a perfect theory you need to run theories alongside other theories to provide a rounded explanation of crime. Christina Denyer Page 1 12/18/2007
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