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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. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the Usefulness of Official Crime Statistics to a Sociological Understanding of Crime

    4 star(s)

    Theft of a vehicle has a high incidence of this crime being reported and recorded because in order for a claim for insurance to be processed it has to be reported to and recorded by the police. The same applies to a burglary with loss whereas often victims of vandalism or assault will not report the crime either because of a mistrust of the police or feel that the police will not see it as serious enough to record it.

    • Word count: 2066
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Asses the arguments and evidence which suggest women commit much less crime than men

    4 star(s)

    Can sociological situations affect the crime committed by gender? If so, how and why? Frances Heidensohn (1985), a famous feminist, believes that women do commit less crime than men. She looked at women and social control, saying that it was difficult for women to commit a crime in a male dominant society; a patriarchal society. She believed that women spend all their time in housework and do not have enough time to get involved in crime. If women tried to get out, the 'man' of the house would force them to stay in.

    • Word count: 2481
  3. Access the strengths and limitations of Subcultural Theories in explaining deviance.

    He argues that people either show the conformity displayed by most people, or they adopt one of the four forms of deviance: Innovation- Poor education or unemployment means that some people accept the shared goal but do not have the means of achieving them, so they turn to crime as an alternative. Ritualism- They accept their goals but give up on achieving it, e.g. a teacher giving up on pupils success. Retreatism- These neither accept the goals or have the means of achieving them so they just drop out, like drug addict and tramps, and give up altogether.

    • Word count: 2169
  4. The Strengths and Limitations of Left Realism and Right Realism Theories in Explaining Crime and Deviance.

    Subculture- Groups sharing a sense of relative deprivation see subcultures as the collective solution to the group's problems and develop lifestyles which allow them to cope with this problem. Second generation West Indian immigrants for example, advocated subcultural strategies such as street crime in the form of 'hustling' for money, as well as joining Rastafarian and Pentecostal religious movements. Marginalisation- Groups find themselves 'pushed to the edge' of society as they lack organisations to represent their political interests and also lack clearly defines goals.

    • Word count: 2386
  5. Assess the view that crime is functional, inevitable and normal.

    The elimination of crime is impossible because there are, and always will be, differences between people, and these differences will constitute a form of deviance. Durkheim (1964) believed that a certain amount of crime was necessary for any society. Durkheim argued that a collective conscience which provides the framework for people to distinguish between acceptable behaviour and unacceptable behaviour was evident in society. However, he found that there were problems in society when these boundaries become unclear; he stated that the boundaries change over time.

    • Word count: 2300
  6. The effect of appearance on the percieved criminality of young individuals

    The question to be piloted is "How are young people's perceptions of the criminality of other young individuals affected by the appearance of the latter?". I am interested to discover whether young people from certain ethnic backgrounds are perceived as being more criminal than others, whether boys are perceived as being more criminal than girls or vice versa, and whether wearing certain styles of clothing affect how the potential criminality of young individuals is perceived by their peers. Due to practical constraints of time and resources, and because this is only a pilot study, I will only be comparing two different ethnic groups, and two different styles of clothing.

    • Word count: 2743
  7. Tacking crimes involving in juvenile

    Parkhurst was opened in 1838 as prison for young boys aged 10 and 18 years and meted out punishments before its end an area of century. This cruel system had to come an end in 1908 as liberal came to power, abolishing prison for children and setting up special juvenile courts. The development of young people had changed so fast and the work of the court was to look after welfare and not punish them. In 1948 remand centres and detention centres were introduced for juveniles.

    • Word count: 2036
  8. Assess the usefulness of consensus theories for an understanding of crime and deviance in contemporary society.

    Merton argued how strain of shared social goals results in deviant or criminal behaviour. Whereas Cohen and Cloward & Ohlin spoke about subcultures and the effect that they had on society. Durkheim described how a little bit of crime was inevitable and could be seen as functional for society. He linked the inevitability of crime to poor primary socialisation. Marxists would disagree that crime is due to poor socialisation but more due to the working class rebelling against an exploitist capitalist society. Durkheim described the positive functions of crime explaining how it maintained boundaries within society as crime unites members of the community in condemnation of the wrongdoer, thus, reinforcing the society's norms and values.

    • Word count: 2459
  9. Describe competing criminological theories

    The idea of human conscience is central to his theory which he believes to be a leaned reflex. He disputes that people are hereditarily gifted with specific learning skills that are learned by stimuli in the surroundings. It is said that people learn the rules of society through the development of a coincidence. This is obtained by learning what happens when you participate in particular activities. Eysenck explains three different kinds of personality: extroversion - impulsiveness and sociability and which are fairly independent of each other - neuroticism and psychoticism. Each one takes a form of a continuum that ranges from high to low.

    • Word count: 2144
  10. The Sociology of Crime and Deviance

    As time changes so does crime and this assignment will show how these changes have taken place and how some changes are a means of social control. A reference and conclusion are also added to highlight the main points discussed. Theories of Crime and Deviance Functionalist Theory of Crime Emile Durkheim (April 15, 1858 - November 15, 1917) was a French sociologist who is described as being the "Father of Sociology". Amongst his works, Emile looked at deviance in general and not at crime alone, while in the process of trying to explain social problems and patterns.

    • Word count: 2884
  11. Evaluate Functionalist Theories of Crime and Deviance

    Durkheim also sees Crime and Deviance as a provider of employment for law enforcement. Durkheim's idea behind deviance as a force for social change is supported by the gradual legalization of behaviour once seen as deviant (abortion, homosexuality) over time as social attitudes and consensus changed. However, Durkheim's view of crime has some flaws. Other theorists, including Erikson (1966) argue that powerful groups within any society are able to impose their views upon the majority by a process of ideological manipulation. Marxist theorists including Mannheim and Chambliss criticize the idea that the concepts of crime and deviance are defined by consensus, and instead argue that the capitalist ruling class decides what constitutes crime and deviance.

    • Word count: 2320
  12. subcultural theory

    In the 1930s, Robert Merton tried to locate deviance within a functionalist framework. He believed that crime and deviance were evidence of a poor fit (or strain) between the socially accepted goals within society and the socially approved means of obtaining these desired goals. He begins his argument from the functionalist view of value consensus - the idea that all members of society share the same values. However, as some members of society are placed lower down in the social structure, they do not always have the same opportunity of realizing the shared values and attaining their goals.

    • Word count: 2963
  13. The widespread nature of crime, its very normality, makes the search for the causes of crime less attractive'. Discuss this statement in relation to the developments in British criminology during the second half of the twentieth century.

    It is not interested in crime per se, it is interested in the possibility of crime, in anti-social behaviour in general, whether criminal or not, in likely mental illness or known recalcitrance: in anything that will disrupt the smooth running of the system. Such an administrative criminology is concerned with managing rather than reforming, its 'realism' is that it does not pretend to eliminate crime but to minimise risk. (Back, 2006, p.62) It has given up the ghost on the modernist aims at change through social engineering and judicial intervention, it seeks to separate out the criminal from the decent

    • Word count: 2792
  14. Free essay

    Theory of Utility

    Any action, which conforms to the principle of utility, is that when "the tendency to augment the happiness of the community is greater than any it has to diminish it.2" At this point one may argue that happiness varies from person to person; it is a subjective quality. Although this is a valid criticism of utilitarianism as a whole we shall first examine how this consequentialist theory is applied to the criminal justice system. Jeremy Bentham proceeds to apply the utility principle to the legal system and provides a justification for punishment.

    • Word count: 2005
  15. Using the seminar case study material consider to what extent train crashes such as Hatfield, Paddington and Potters Bar should be seen as examples of White Collar crime.

    White-collar crime; however, can have more of an impact than violent crimes. The victim of a violent crime can recover were as the victim of fraud for example can have endless impact. Bribery, computer crime, abuse of power, false statements, fraud, obstruction of justice, racketeering and tax crimes are all white collar crimes. There are a number of characteristics of white collar crimes. Only some of these characteristics make the defining of whether something is criminal or not difficult. White collar crime is often open to endless discussion and debate.

    • Word count: 2360
  16. What arguments have been put forward to explain the relatively low crime rates of some societies?

    Switzerland's capital city Geneva is relatively small, compared with the cities of New York and London, both of which have comparatively high crime rates. There are no 'slums' in Switzerland, as typically associated with the 'inner city'. Clinard (1978) proposed that this slower process of urbanization could contribute to its low crime rates. At the risk of generalizing and stereotyping, generally, lower classes make up a large proportion of conventional crime, because in the inner city are concentrated the worst housing, highest unemployment, the greatest number of poorer people and consequently the highest crime rates (Heidensohn 1989).

    • Word count: 2681
  17. There is a need in the community for a drastic reduction of crime. Such technologies that can be used to cut this problem down can be found in the Data Capture and Control and Monitoring categories.

    Too much crime is being committed and therefore there is a higher need for crime reduction in Brent. In recent years, there have been about 1540 accident casualties per annum on the roads in the Borough of Brent. Each of these casualties represents a personal tragedy for someone, and many could have been avoided by greater care. Accidents also result in an enormous economic cost to the community. Right now there are a lot of road accidents; therefore I think we need to have a reduction in road accidents. Interviewing people in areas around schools, I have learnt that children feel that there is too little road crossing areas and that areas around schools aren't fitted with road humps which may encourage drivers to keep speeding around these areas.

    • Word count: 2896
  18. Functionalist accountDurkheim argues that crime is a universal feature of all societies. This is because crime serves a vital social function. Through the punishment of offenders, the moral boundaries of a community

    Humans then don't just identify differences, they also evaluate them: good/bad, normal/abnormal, natural/unnatural. (Giddens (2001), p. 200) Another argument put forward by Durkheim, is that crime can have a positively beneficial role in social evolution. Individuals, who anticipate necessary adjustments of social morality to changing conditions, may be stigmatised as criminals at first. Crime is the precondition and the proof of a society's capacity for flexibility in the face of essential change. In Some societies, the crime rate may become pathological and as such, this indicates a society that is sick, which means that it is suffering from social disorganisation.

    • Word count: 2496
  19. Deviance in Society A person would be considered to be acting deviantly in society if they are violating what the significant social norm in that particular culture

    The most knowledge acquired for why people act deviantly is from the sociological perspective. There is need for more research, if possible, in the psychological and biological perspectives, but there is a lot more known in the sociological viewpoint. The reality that the definition of deviant behaviour is considered different by everyone makes it complicated and unknown if a truly accurate answer can ever be found (Pfuhl 18). This is why this topic is important to the study of sociology. Sociologists have more information, and therefore may be closer to finding the cause. For this reason, my main focus in this paper is at the sociological stand point of deviance with some explanations from psychologists and biologists.

    • Word count: 2417
  20. Do people choose to commit crime or are they propelled in to criminal activity?'

    All of these historians have sought to relate crime and the control of crime to specific economic, social, and political context; and all have acknowledged that crime is something defined by law, and that the law was changed and shaped by human institutions. To analyise the question fully I have identified the different areas of thinking throughout the Criminological spectrum. These are the classical school of thinking, the positivist school of thinking, and the labelling perspective - concluding whether criminal's act on the basis of free will or whether they are propelled in to criminal activity.

    • Word count: 2018
  21. Punishment is difficult to apply in the workplace. Explain why, what might be done to overcome such difficulty and identify what alternatives to punishment exist

    where he receives a public dressing down and is showered with harsh words. However the problem here is that it decreases the likelihood of behavior. Punishment can play a useful role in suppression of behavior rather than teaching the correct behavior. Taking an example of an employee who is reprimanded for taking unauthorized breaks at work. His behavior might stop when the manager is visible but the threat of punishment vanishes when the manager is no longer present. The quote "when the cat is away the mice are at play", relates to punishment is only effective when the threat of punishment is present.

    • Word count: 2024
  22. Identify five sentences that are available to the courts.

    * Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Order (previously the obtuse but at least not farcical 'combination order') * Curfew order * Attendance centre order * Supervision order Community Rehabilitation Order This order involves being supervised by a probation officer. This can be experienced as penalising offenders in many ways including; * Having to face up to the crimes they have committed and the changes in which they need to make in their behaviour. * The time the order takes. However, the court may include additional requirements to the order which could make it even harder for the offender.

    • Word count: 2961
  23. It has been claimed that hate crimes are an 'Orwellian response to prejudice'. How convincing are the justifications provided for such laws and what are the chief objections against them?

    There are thousands and thousands of other hate crimes that occur behind these headlines. In 2003/2004 the British crime survey recorded 200,000 racist incidents. This large number of incidents provides evidence that there is a need for some sort of action to stop these crimes from happening. Britain differs with the United States in that there is no legal term of 'hate crime', instead it is an offence under racially or religiously aggravated offences within the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Anti-Terrorism Act 2001.

    • Word count: 2723
  24. How influential is the media in shaping public understanding of crime?

    Today, perhaps never as vividly before, crime stands at the centre of public consciousness. The mass media serve up a regular diet of stories of rising crime, vulnerable victims and callous offenders. According to Naylor (2001) the public persistently voice their fears and anxieties about crime in opinion surveys and in official government studies prioritising their concern with the issue. The success of the police in dealing with the crime problem in general comes under ever more scrutiny, and the effectiveness and rigour of the criminal justice and penal systems generate never-ending controversy.

    • Word count: 2381

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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