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AS and A Level: Crime & Deviance

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Top five crime and deviance theoretical viewpoints

  1. 1 Functionalism – small amounts of crime are inevitable and in fact crime has some functions for society (Durkheim); higher amounts of crime and deviance may be the result of anomie (Durkheim) or strain (Merton).
  2. 2 Marxism – the working class DO NOT necessarily commit more crime than the ruling class; corporate crime and white collar crime are underrepresented in crime figures (Croall); the crimes the working class carry out can be justified as part of a political struggle against capitalism (Box).
  3. 3 Left Realism – crime in working class areas should be considered carefully as the working class are over represented as victims; crime occurs if people suffer relative deprivation, marginalization (social, political and economic) and live in areas with deviant subcultures (Lea and Young).
  4. 4 Right Realism – People carry out crimes when the benefits outweigh the costs (Clarke); Single parent families often produce criminal or deviant offspring (Murray); zero tolerance policing would improve crime rates (Wilson).
  5. 5 Feminism – women are often excluded and ignored in discussions about crime (Heidensohn); women are often victims of crime and that issue needs consideration (Smart); women are increasingly committing crime.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 4
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  1. Outline & evaluate sociological explanations of the relationship between crime & ethnicity

    Sociologists are divided in their opinion when accounting for a relationship between crime and ethnicity. Marxists suggest that the state passes laws to benefit the ruling class and that the laws are not enforced equally in society. This often leaves lower classes and ethnic minorities in a worse-off financial state. Hall uses a moral panic theory to explain the panic over mugging in the 1970's. The media focused their attention on street crimes in inner city areas and often linked them with black youths. This then had an effect on the police, where they would then start patrolling these inner city areas more regularly.

    • Word count: 948
  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of using structured interviews to investigate the real rate of street crime.

    asking another person(interviewee) a list of predetermined questions about a carefully-selected topic. The use of structured interviews to investigate street crime has several advantages. Firstly it enables the researcher to examine the level of understanding a respondent has about a particular topic - usually in slightly more depth than with a postal questionnaire. This is through facial expressions or the way in which the interviewee responds. Secondly, because all respondents are asked the same questions in the same way, it makes it easier to replicate.

    • Word count: 481
  3. The continuing problem of knife crime and the gangsta lifestyle on the streets of London has moved beyond epidemic status and become a full-blown disease.

    It is too easy to lay blame with the music industry and hip hop culture as a whole. Where the blame lies specifically is a grey area, and differentiates between each individual circumstance. Laying blame with any one factor is naive, but growing up in South London gives one an idea of what is to blame and how best to tackle the disastrous situation. Growing up on and living within a council estate has proven to be somewhat of a mixed blessing for myself. I am unfortunately greeted with all the wonders of the "ghetto" each time I leave my doorstep, but I am also able to see where things have gone wrong, and what changes can be implemented.

    • Word count: 828
  4. Crime in Japan v. Crime in North Dakota. North Dakota and Japan keep crime rates down differently. Japan keeps crime down by preventing, peer pressure and harsh jails.

    On the other hand Japan have both small towns and large cities. In Japan crimes are not tolerated therefore if one is committed, your family and friends will not talk to you or attempt to see you. The communities in Japan and North Dakota do not tolerate crime and look down upon it. The peer pressure of the communities against people prevent crime because no one wants to be alienated by their friends and family. The second similarity of Japan and North Dakota is honor. In Japan if you commit a crime, people not only look down upon you, they look down upon your family for raising you badly.

    • Word count: 866
  5. Why do people bully? The expert on bullying, Professor Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen in Norway estimates that at any given time, 15% of students are involved in bullying.

    Some of the main reason people bully are peer pressure, mental behavior, and also family issues. In to that, bullying is also caused by peer pressure. Nowadays, bullies are popular and are liked by the majority of their peers around. Therefore, bullies do not want to be disliked. In fact, bullies with high popularity have the pressure to keep up that image of themselves (About). Furthermore, according to Craig and Pepler's study, peer-pressure to strive for social acceptance can lead to bullying.

    • Word count: 753
  6. Violence against women has gradually come to be recognized as a legitimate human rights issue and as a significant threat to womens health and well-being.

    Women abuse refers to various forms of violence, mistreatment and neglect, which women particularly experience in their intimate and dependent relationships. In a typical abusive relationship, the abuser frequently maintains the control of his partner's actions by physically, sexually, and psychologically abusing her. The devastating impact of abuse can create wide ranging and long lasting physical, emotional scars in victim's lifetime. For instance, being abused may undermine virtually every aspect of a woman's life, including her ability to work and her relationships with children.

    • Word count: 835
  7. Identify and briefly explain 3 limitations of using victim surveys to study youth offenders

    Researchers have to be especially aware of this when surveying young people. Due to the possible distress that may be caused, it may be inappropriate to ask young people about certain issues, such as being victims of violent or sexual crime. Surveys on these issues try to overcome this ethical problem by asking older respondents about their experiences when they were younger. However, retrospective data relies on the respondent's memory and poses problems of validity. Thirdly, many self-report studies (such as victim surveys) concentrate on the reporting of less serious offences. Due to fear of the possible consequences, few people will admit to a serious crime, even if anonymous, but most will acknowledge minor law breaking.

    • Word count: 974
  8. Assess the value of the right realist approach to crime and deviance

    They also regard theories such as labelling and critical criminology as too sympathetic towards the offender and too hostile to the agencies of law and order. Right realists are more concerned with what they see as realistic solutions to crime rather than causes. However, they do in fact offer an explanation of the causes of crime. Right realists reject the idea put forward by Marxists and others that structural or economic factors are the causes of crime. Instead they argue crime is the product of three causes: individual biological differences, inadequate socialisation and the underclass, and rational choice to offend.

    • Word count: 985
  9. Assess the contribution of religion to social change

    Many religions defend their traditions if they are not seen positively by society. Functionalists see conservative force in religion as a positive force in three ways; it promotes social solidarity as people feel a stronger sense of belonging when they have other people in society to relate to and share views and beliefs. This then creates a value consensus and keeps social order as people all live by the same rules and beliefs. It also helps to deal with stress, as when something bad happens people are able to turn to religion for comfort and answers that may not necessarily come from anywhere else.

    • Word count: 615
  10. This essay will evaluate the claim that deviant behavior is the result of dysfunctional socialization and will be looking at views from Albert K. Cohen, Richard A. Cloward and Lloyd E. Ohlin, and Emile Durkheim.

    A high value is placed on activities such as stealing, vandalism and truancy. Therefore, we can say that because there is unequal access of opportunity, there is greater pressure on certain groups within the social structure to deviate. However, Cohen's views cannot be totally accepted as Steven Box believed Cohen's theory was only plausible for a small minority of delinquents. He questioned Cohen's view that most delinquent youths originally accepted the mainstream standards of success. Rather than experiencing shame and guilt at their own failure, Box argued, they feel resentment at being regarded as failures by teachers and middle-class youths whose values they do not share and cannot accept.

    • Word count: 929
  11. 'The world today is as furiously religious as ever it was and in some cases more so' to what extent is this statement supported.

    Berger (1997) one of the foremost advocates of secularisation during the 1960's has formally retracted his claims, 'the world today with some exceptions is as furiously religious as it ever was and in some places more so than ever'. Stephen Moore (2009) said that religious revival among Christians in the USA, Jewish people in Israel, and Muslims throughout the world has gone unexplained by proponents of the secularisation thesis.

    • Word count: 477
  12. examine ways in which the media stimulate moral panics and create folk devils

    A folk devil is the group/issue at the heart of the panic, which are condemned, feared, labelled and/or blamed. An example of a folk devil would be youths, in relation to knife crime, terrorist, or 'mods and rockers 'established in the 1960s. These moral panics and folk devils are created and exacerbated by 'moral crusaders ', the media is most likely the biggest agency that does this. Media reports often greatly exaggerate certain and specific areas of crime or deviance that are aimed to be a moral panic, and to victimize certain groups as folk devils. It reports on, for example, the alleged rising number of knife related crimes, and how a high percentage of youths in a neighbourhood near you are carrying a knife, even if this is a fallacy.

    • Word count: 604
  13. Assess sociological explanations of social class differences in crime rates

    One of the main problems when discussing official statistics on crime is the fact that traditionally middle class crime is often unreported, unpunished (or treated leniently) or ignored. These kinds of 'white collar' crimes could be things like bank fraud, environmental offences, and health and safety violations when it comes to employees. These kinds of crime are often more damaging to society on a bigger scale and cause a lot more expense then 'blue collar 'crime. Despite this, corporate crime is largely ignored or treated softly by the authorities and public.

    • Word count: 925
  14. Sociological View On Suicide

    Durkheim believed after his research that suicide rates were determined not by a persons psychological state but by their relationship to society. From his research, Durkheim was able to identify two social facts which he felt determined the rate of suicide; these were integration and social control. Integration meant how a person was connected, involved and bonded to society and social control meant how much freedom a person felt they had and the regulations and controls that were placed upon them.

    • Word count: 982
  15. PILES

    Their brain's develop by their senses, touch, sight, hear, taste and smell. As the baby grows into a young child they start to explore their understanding through their senses. At this age children who have not been tought properly by their parent's would also not know how to share thing's but it's important to know it because if they don't know how

    • Word count: 200
  16. Differences in ethnic experiences of criminal justice system

    prison and at each stage it appears that blacks, and more recently Asians, are much more likely to face injustice, abuse or negativity within the criminal justice system. Phillips and Bowling note that since the 1970s many allegations of oppressive policing towards ethnic minorities have been put forward with "mass stop and search operations... excessive surveillance, armed raids, police violence". With policies such as the Stop and Search and the Terrorism Act (2000), police officers may stop at any time or place, any vehicle or person and search them for any or no reasons, but the patterns of how these

    • Word count: 781
  17. Sociology is not, cannot be, and should not be a science

    Durkheim was a positivist and conducted a study on suicide. Durkheim thought sociology should study society and generate laws or social fact to explain how things operate. He believed that behaviour is socially determined rather than internal urges. We know that he was a positivist by the way he gathered his data and the way in which he got his results. Durkheim used suicide statistics, correlation, causation and multivariate analysis to gather and record his data.

    • Word count: 526
  18. Examine the effectiveness of situational crime prevention as a means of reducing the impact of crime on society (12 marks)

    One of the main crime in society today is shop lifting, situational crime prevention as a means of reducing the impact on society today use blue inked tagged on clothes stores, this tags are put on clothes and when some one is trying to come out the shop without paying normally it will make a noise that way the shop assistants will know that the person hasn't paid, or if the do try to come out of the shop there is a tag that is difficult to take off, even the person does manage to take of the tag it will leave a blue stain on the piece of clothing.

    • Word count: 695
  19. Free essay

    Assess the strengths and limitations of quantitative methods as a means of investigating crime and deviance

    He concluded that the stability of the suicide rates suggested that suicide was determined by structurally determined social factors. Interpretivists critises the statistics which positivists base their theories of suicide on. The validity and reliability of official statistics is questions, as interpretist claim that suicide statistics are the product of complex process of interpretation, negotiation and desicion making by various social factors, for example family members can influence suicide verdicts by revealing or withholding certain evidence of information about the deceased.

    • Word count: 806
  20. Assess the sociological explanations for why boys underachieve at school

    There has been a rapid decline in semi-skilled and unskilled jobs due to the increasing automation of production. Manual jobs fitted in with the masculine identity of a traditional working class man and therefore the deterioration of jobs in the manual sector has left these identities threatened. This deprecation of masculinity could questionably make boys feel uncertain and confused regarding their future, and therefore instead of working towards a manual job, amidst the uncertainty, wouldn't try as they would believe there isn't a chance of getting one. However, this view is subjective, as there isn't a significant correlation between the de-masculinization of jobs and educational achievement.

    • Word count: 607
  21. Free essay

    Outline/provide sociologist explains to why does people join a sect or cult.

    He argues that, as people seek to make sense of both the world and their social position within it, religion provides a "ready made" ideological structured for interpretation. The attraction of sects to marginal social groups was that they provide both an explanation of a person's position in society and, most importantly, they provide a source of prestige or status - the members of a sect feel as if they are an elite (whether this involves a privileged position in the eyes of God, access to knowledge denied to the "non-elite" or whatever).

    • Word count: 837
  22. Examine the reasons for changes in the position of children in the family and in society

    Many people were for the abolishment of child labour including the sociologist, Karl Marx who called for "Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form" in his Communist Manifesto. After the First World War, the amount of children working in places such as factories was very low and nowadays is non-existent. So the position of children in society has changed from a strong working force to support the nation to being dependent people being looked after through their families.

    • Word count: 776
  23. Free essay

    Assess the view that crime is functional, inevitable and normal

    If, then, this society has the power to judge and punish, it will define these acts as criminal and will treat them as such.' His idea of crime being a positive aspect to society is based around the idea that people are unclear of the boundaries as they change over time. Durkeim discussed three elements of this positivist aspect. He believed that crime is a universal feature of all societies as it serves a vital social function. Through the punishment of offenders the moral boundaries of a community are clearly marked out, and attachment to them is reinforced.

    • Word count: 709
  24. Marxism and Functionilism

    Functionalists on the other hand believe that these factors in our society are core values. They all depend on each other to function as a whole, instead of a principle value that dictates the others. For example education and the family are core values which integrate everyone into the same norms and values. Marxism is a conflict theory. This means that the main rules that govern social behaviour are based on conflict.

    • Word count: 552

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Assess the usefulness of consensus theories for an understanding of crime and deviance in contemporary society.

    "Also a lot of the research carried out on this topic was carried out in the early 19th century therefore research into this topic was very androcentric. As a result it ignores the fact that women also commit crimes which in contemporary society is higher than it was when Merton and Cohen were carrying out their research. Feminists would argue this point along with the point that they ignore the crimes commited by males such as domestic violence, such as sexual abuse, however, Davis' argument that the legalisation of prostitution could hinder domestic violence within the family. In conclusion, although consensus theories are outdated some of the points argued could help develop a more in depth understanding of crime and deviance within contemporary society."

  • Assess the view that ethnic differences in crime rates are the result of the ways in which the criminal justice system operates.

    "As we have seen, official statistics on the criminal justice process show differences between ethnic group. The question is therefore how we explain these patterns. There are two main explanations for ethnic differences in the statistics; Left realisms and the Neo-Marxism. The left realists see the statistics represent real differences in rates of offending. Whereas the Neo-Marxists see the statistics are a social construct resulting from racist labelling and discrimination in the criminal rates of offending. From a left realist perspective, the justice system does not necessarily act on the differences of ethnic minorities but demonstrates a true representation of the rates in offending. On the other hand from a Neo-Marxists view the statistics is just a myth of the social construct and they see that is what the justice system acts on. To an extent, the left realist perspective seems to be valid as it is inane to believe that the ethnic minority community could be the fault of most crimes simply as a result of their race. However, it is also conceivable that their race, religion and ethnicity has a significant contribution ."

  • 'The world today is as furiously religious as ever it was and in some cases more so' to what extent is this statement supported.

    "The statement 'the world today is as furiously religious as ever it was and in some places more so', could be perceived as being true in that some cultures and continents still have religion and religious beliefs high on their agenda, but it could be argued that in European cultures especially, there is a decline in religious values and beliefs, statistics back up both sides at the argument, so it could just fall down to personal beliefs and opinion about the subject matter in hand."

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