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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.

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  1. 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
  2. Examine the ways in which social policy and laws may have influenced families and households

    But not all countries are suffering from decline in population; some governments have to introduce polices aimed to try and decrease the rate of the population, such as china, they have now introduced a new 'one child' policy, and if a family has more children they have to pay 5% more tax on each child. Although having been influenced on the family, this policy helped the government stabilize population in the country. To encourage people to get married and not divorce the government may put a policy in place were, if you get married you get to pay less tax

    • Word count: 1075
  3. 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
  4. Examine the main trends in the birth and death rates in the UK since 1900

    In the early 1900's the birth rate was 28.7 births per 1000. Since the start of the 20th century the birth rate has been in long term decline; in 2007 the birthrate was only 10.7. The fall in birth rate can be explained by many reasons, one is that due to woman's rights, the position of women has greatly increased, meaning that the old stereotype stating that woman must look after the house and children ect is shunned; as some women may not want children due to increased educational opportunities and the fact that if they go on maternity leave they are at risk of losing their job - or having a large deduction of wages.

    • Word count: 787
  5. Critically Evaluate The Contribution Made By Subcultural Sociologists In Understanding Crime & Deviance

    Its thesis is dependent upon a social structure that holds the same goals to all its members, without giving them equal means to achieve them. This is best illustrated by the 'American Dream' which sees materialism as a measure of success - By everyone sharing the same goals it can produce more 'strain' for those unable to fulfil this collective goal. Merton presents five modes of adapting to strain. He did not mean that everyone who was denied access to society's goals became deviant.

    • Word count: 1362
  6. anti-social behaviour

    2.4 The structure of this report is as follows: Section 1: Abstract- This is a statement that briefly conveys the essential information of the report the objectives, method used, results, conclusion and recommendations. Section 2: Terms of reference- To explain the context, a brief history of ASBO's has been provided. Their stated aims and the criticisms have been examined. These include how local authorities have gone about tackling anti-social behaviour and why their effectiveness has been questioned. Section 3: Procedures- This incorporates the aims and objectives, design and techniques used in this study.

    • Word count: 3887
  7. Free essay

    Assess the extent to which we can uncover the true figure of crime.

    Not only is this but it is open to mistakes due to relying on the memories of its participants, which may mean the results are wrong. Also there is a problem in that victims are categorising the crimes themselves, and so it may exaggerate some forms of crime, making them out to be more or less serious. Studies found too that types of corporate crime tended to be ignored; due to there it is seen as 'minor' compared to assault for example.

    • Word count: 974
  8. Outline and assess that most crimes are committed by young urban males.

    Evidence shows that men are much more likely to commit crime than women. In 2002 over 80% if crimes committed were by men (Home office, 2003). This shows that most crimes are committed by men. The Chicago school research by Shaw and McKay (1942) shows that most crimes were committed by people from Zone 1 location e.g. 9.1% of males from Zone 1 were charged with criminal offences. Zone 1 was where new comers began their urban life and this was a zone of transition (A zone with shifting population of people coming in and people going out).

    • Word count: 984
  9. Outline the view that white-collar and corporate crime are under-represented in criminal statistics.

    White collar crimes are divided into two parts. Firstly occupational (crimes committed at the expense of the organisations) and corporate crime (crimes committed on behalf on the organisations e.g. non payment of VAT). Fraud only accounts for 6% of recorded crime but its monetary value is far greater than suggests e.g. WorldCom, the second largest long-distance telephone company in the USA, was forced to admit a $4 million hole in its account. These crimes do not enter police records because they are dealt with administratively by organisations such as the Inland Revenue.

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  10. Crime and Deviance

    Deviance and crime are not synonymous, although in many cases they overlap. The concept of deviance is much broader than that of crime, which refers only to non-conformists conduct that breaks the law (Giddens; 2006). The notion of anomie was first introduced by Emile Durkheim, who suggested that in modern societies traditional norms and standards become undermined without being replaced by new ones (Collins; 2006). Anomie exists when there are no clear standards to guide behaviour in a given area of social life.

    • Word count: 1686
  11. 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
  12. Some People are just Born Deviant. Discuss.

    In Lombroso's own words: "At the sight of that skull, I seemed to see all of a sudden, lighted up as a vast plain under a flaming sky, the problem of the nature of the criminal!" (Carrabine, 2004, p36) Years later, Charles Goring, an English physician who took an interest in Lombroso's theories, decided to examine more closely some of his conclusions. Goring studied thousands of prisoners in British jails. He compared their physiological traits to members of a military unit, the Royal Engineers.

    • Word count: 1711
  13. what can social science tell us about the formation of identities

    Woodward (2004, p 151) identified that multiple identities can lead to diversity. This essay will examine what factors contribute to shaping identity: discussing how much control is exercised by social structure, and how much control an individual or society have constructing identity. The link between the personal and social. Furthermore, this essay will answer, what can social science can tell us about the formation of identities? There are three key concepts in social science regarding the formation of identity. According to Woodward (2004, p 13)

    • Word count: 899
  14. crimes committed by males and females

    Hence, this leads me to my hypothesis which is that 'females have a different attitude towards committing crime than males and therefore female crime rates are low.' In order to investigate into my hypothesis I will be carrying out primary research so that I can get an insight into views that male and females have on crime and how this affects their behavior in society. What initially motivated me to this topic of investigation was that in today's society there are significantly higher rates of crime committed by females than there was in the past.

    • Word count: 1642
  15. Examine the similarities and differences between the sub cultural theories and the strain theory as an explanation for criminal and deviant behaviour.

    Merton was aware that not everyone shared the same goals, and he pointed out that in a stratified society the goals were linked to a person's position in the social structure. Those lower down had restricted goals. The system worked well as long as there was a reasonable chance that a majority of the population were unable to achieve the socially set goals then they became disenchanted with society and sought out alternative (often deviant) ways of behaving. Merton used Durkheim's term anomie, to describe this situation.

    • Word count: 1379
  16. Assess the usefulness of official statistics to a sociological understanding of crime.

    embarrassment and fear. Secondly the police don't record all crimes that are reported as they use their own discretion to decide upon how important a case is and thirdly not all offences count as crimes because they have differed from time e.g. until 1988 common assault weren't recorded. One method of collecting data is via the victimisation surveys and a positive thing about then is that they include crimes that are not reported to the police, these are collected by the home office.

    • Word count: 1459
  17. Evaluate the importance of the mass media in the amplification of deviance

    Cohen established that this was achieved through formal content analysis of the media, as suggested by Ray Pawson's, and this kind of reporting created concern amongst the readers, the police and moral entrepreneurs'- who are individuals that start a moral crusades which is a campaign to eradicate what they perceive as immoral behaviours and they gain mass coverage through media saturation which is a over reporting on a particular agenda, and the police are sensitised by these issues on the public agenda which the media creates and amplifies and through the masculine views created by the polices canteen culture a

    • Word count: 1119
  18. Does the media heighten fear of crime?

    Research suggests that this is direct and instant upon the viewer. (Howitt, 1998). However, the progression of this view became replaced by a dominant view that 'the media are quintessentially integral aspects of modern society and that social factors attenuate any direct influence of the media.' And as such, influences of the media are more likely to be of a long-term and cumulative nature. (Howitt, 1998:45). The view that the media causes a fear of crime originates in several masses of content analysis by Gerbner, 1972; Gerbner et al., 1977; Signorielli and Gerbner, 1988.

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  19. Information: Currency of Democracy

    The Act provides members of the public with a general right of access to official government documents held by public authorities which would have otherwise been inaccessible. The Act was made applicable to the following ministries and agencies (public authorities): The Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of Local Government, Office of Cabinet, Office of the Prime Minister, Jamaica Information Service, National Works Agency, and The Planning Institute of Jamaica. In addition, The Act also "reinforces and gives further effect to certain fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy..." (The Access to Information Act 2002, Part 1: Preliminary, no.2).

    • Word count: 1065
  20. Assess the Sociological explanations of social class differences

    The middle-class minority who were arrested were usually cautioned and released. Thus they were more likely to b arrested, and take up numbers in crime statistics. One of the explanations of crime and deviance was given by Karl Marx. He believed it was generated by the structure of capitalist society. Capitalism is an economic structure base on the private ownership of the means of production and the maximisation of profit. It is a competitive system which encourages aggression and emphasises the importance of winning.

    • Word count: 1061
  21. Free essay

    Assess the usefulness of Marxist approaches in explaining the causes and the extent of ethnic-minority offending in society.

    As a reaction to this, more police were put on the streets to control this young ethnic group. Hall's analysis can be credited in the sense that it acknowledges that fact that the media can generate panic in society whereby we are made to think something is worse than it actually is. In the case of ethnic minority groups and offending, therefore, we are made to believe that young black groups, for example, are heavily responsible for crime in Britain, when in actual fact, the situation is far more complex than that.

    • Word count: 917
  22. Free essay

    Assess sociological explanations of the different crime rates of men and women.

    One theory is that of "sex-role" theory. This theory argues that women are less likely to commit crime than men because there are core elements of the female role that limit their ability and opportunity to do so. Talcott Parsons argues how the values that girls are brought up on are values which do not lead to crime. He points to the fact that as most child-rearing is carried out by mothers, girls have a clear role model to follow that emphasizes caring and support.

    • Word count: 1032
  23. Assess the usefulness of interpretive approaches to the study of suicide.

    Jacobs studied 112 suicide notes written by both young and old people in Los Angeles. By reading the suicide notes of people who had either attempted suicide or actually committed suicide, he found that very often the note-writers put forward sensible and rational arguments for wanting to commit suicide. Jacobs' study therefore shows that suicide notes can provide a means of finding out peoples' motives for wanting to commit suicide. When ones' motives are found out, it is then possible to categorise different types of suicide (which is what he did). Whilst Durkheim, too, categorized types of suicide, he failed to prove that people actually commit suicide for the reasons he gave after not using qualitative data like Jacobs did.

    • Word count: 823
  24. Asses the Marxist Perspective on Crime

    Marxist criminology is based around the view that crime is a product of the fundamental 'class conflict' in capitalist societies. Marxists argue that the structural-conflict model of capitalism systematically generates crime by holding at its centre severe social inequalities whilst encouraging people to strive for monetary success. The nature of the system is competitive, promoting personal gain rather than collective well-being; it often leads to the exploitation of millions for the profit of a few. Right across the social spectrum, people are persuaded of the importance of material possessions through adverts of the latest fashion item and through the media's portrayal of exclusive lifestyles.

    • Word count: 1259

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