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AS and A Level: Crime & Deviance
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Top five crime and deviance theoretical viewpoints
- 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 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 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 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 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
The chivalry thesis claims that women will be treated more leniently for committing certain crimes, generally shoplifting is often associated more with females than males, but the statistics suggest that males commit many more acts of theft than women, an4 star(s)
This could be because the statistics of crime are so male dominated, a police officer may not think convicting a woman of petty theft is worth it, when there may be, in his opinion, a man selling drugs elsewhere, it may not be worth it in his view. Similarly, men are more likely to be convicted of theft because the criminal justice system seemingly victimises males over females, while it is probably more likely that males are more likely to commit crime than females, the gap between the crime rates between gender may not be as large as first assumed.
- Word count: 1144
He claimed that a limited amount of crime was necessary for any society. Durkheim argued that as societies develop and grow, the collective conscience, or shared values, which guide our actions and provide boundaries, are weakened. Thus, as societies become more complex the boundaries become unclear, and also change over time. It is here that a limited amount of crime has its place. Durkheim discussed three elements of the positive aspect of crime: 1. Reaffirming boundaries - every time a person breaks the law and is taken to court, the resulting court ceremony and publicity in the media, publicly reaffirms the existing values.
- Word count: 1102