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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
(Scott & Marshall, 2009) History has shown us that incidents which were once considered deviant or criminal are now not and have developed over time to conform with today?s principles within society. A clear example of this would-be homosexuality. Homosexuality was a criminal act until eventually, the act was decriminalised and the law changed in 1967 for two men to be in a relationship together without the fear of being arrested. Previous to this law males who engaged in any sexual activity with other males could face a prison sentence (BBC, 2017).
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The individual side emerges when social bonds are weak, resulting in the person committing an act of deviance or crime. Durkheim also came up with the term anomie, a sense of normlessness within society. This is when there is a disagreement on the norms and values. He also argued that crime is inevitable, and it would happen within society regardless. Durkheim also argued that crime was on one hand necessary and functional for society, but then went on to say that is was also harmful and dysfunctional.
- Word count: 1000