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Crime and Social class - Hypothesis - 'There is a relationship between social class and crime and there are reasons for this based on wealth and power'

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Introduction

Crime and Social class My Study is based around the hypothesis 'There is a relationship between social class and crime and there are reasons for this based on wealth and power' I chose this because crime interests me greatly. My interest was sparked in class when we studied crime. I was particularly interested in class and crime and why prisons seem to be full of working class people. I live in a working class area, which most people seem to think is a 'rough' area. When anything happens around the area the police are always patrolling round the area in which I live. I intend to find out why. This topic gives me a chance to look at the facts for myself. I intend to carry out this investigation to the best of my ability, incorporating things I have learnt during Social Science and secondary sources along with my own knowledge. I will carry out in depth research and use a variety of methods to find the reasoning for my hypothesis. I will be through in my investigation and organized in my presentation of the facts. Methods of Investigation I intend to use a number of different sources in order to prove or disprove my hypothesis. I will gather a wide range of information from a variety of sources. I will collect primary and secondary data to obtain a fair range of information. Primary Methods The first method that I have chosen to use is a questionnaire. This is a good choice because there is a wide range of questions available e.g. open and closed questions. It is also a relatively cheap way to get information and it is also easy to fill in as people can work at their own pace and not be nervous about what to say as they are anonymous. There is a major flaw with questionnaires. The people who are answering them may treat it as a joke or not bother to answer them. ...read more.

Middle

Sociological Explanations of crime and delinquency. 1. The subculture approach This approach has a number of variations, some of which are mentioned below. However, they all share the basic belief that those who commit crime share a set of values, which is different from the values of society as a whole. That is they have a subculture Generally the explanation is that their parents bought them up, to have a set of values sympathetic to crime. Lower working class values Walter miller widened the scope of subculture theory. He argued that the values of working class could often lead to crime. For example, it is often central for men to exhibit their masculinity by being tough. This could easily lead to violence and fighting. Status frustration. Albert Cohen put forward a different theory in his study of delinquent boys. He suggested that boys who fail at school feel frustrated and lack any status. They therefore engage in delinquent acts to get back at the society that condemned them. This approach is known as the status frustration explanation. Criticism of the sub cultural approach. Matza has strongly criticized the sub-cultural approach. He argues that there is no clearly distinct subculture of deviance. Indeed, most delinquents and criminals are generally law abiding and support the law in general. In other words, criminals are little different from any law-abiding person. Instead, Matza says that we are all deviant at times and we usually make excuses, e.g. we were drunk or the other person deserved and so on. All that happens is that criminals extend the excuses that are normally made. Matza goes on to point out that most crimes are committed by young people who are that their most uncertain as to their own personality and might be therefore less restrictive of the use of their excuses. Research David Downes studied a group of youths in London. ...read more.

Conclusion

LOWER-MIDDLE is the class, which always answers "getting by" or "living paycheck to paycheck" to those surveys. They are suburbanites or soon-to-be suburbanites because they're always looking for some faraway subdivision to "flight" to. They tend to be active in churches and some civic affairs, but generally are not interested in politics except for taxation issues. UPPER-LOWER or the Working Class is the largest class in America. They make up the bulk of the labor force in both skilled, semi-skilled, and service professions. Apartment or mobile home dwellers, usually, this group is living in so much debt nowadays that it's almost like economic slavery. Interestingly, they tend to concentrate much of their attention on the so-called "classes beneath them", and they have extremely strong pride and a lot of contact with the criminal justice system. LOWER-LOWER or the Underclass is a fairly permanent class that is so dependent on government services, subsidies, and assistance that they might even starve if not for some kind of intervention that always seems to be needed. Lower-lower class membership is not the same as poverty or welfare, however, because we're talking about measuring class by lifestyle, reputation, or other means. Poor health and lots of contact with the criminal justice system occur regularly with this class. One of the more controversial and under researched areas of study is the Sociology of Values. Everyone realizes the importance of values, especially as they relate to an understanding of class structures, but few people actually try to improve on what follows below, which sounds awfully stereotypical given what we know about stereotypes: MIDDLE CLASS VALUES LOWER CLASS VALUES Deferred gratification Verbal skills Rationality Asceticism Ambition Individual Responsibility & Talent Courtesy & Chivalry Instant gratification Motor skills Spontaneity-Expressiveness Sociability Generosity Childhood-like approach to Responsibility Sensuality & Sexuality Now, some of this may be outdated and deserving of criticism as myths, but a whole bunch of criminological literature (strain theory, subculture theory, learning theory, drift theory, etc.) is premised on social class value differences like these Chris Deaville ...read more.

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