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Evaluate 2 social theories of crime

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast Two Sociological Theories to Crime and Deviance Sociological perspectives on society are divided into two areas; Structural and Action Theories. Both these theories aim to describe how society is structured, and what contributes to that make up. This document will look at the structural theories in relation to crime. It aims to show how two sociological theories can be used to analyse crime and give differing views. The structural theory looks at society as a whole. This is called a macro theory as it takes an overall view of society. The basis of this theory is how the structure of society impacts on human behaviour. The two perspectives that will be looked at are Functionalist and Marxist they both agree that society shapes the individual and not the individual that shapes society Crime and Deviance is part of our society. To clarify the meaning of both words in the context of this essay; crime is an unlawful criminal act, whereas deviance is a behaviour which is not a social norm (breaking the social rules). Throughout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century many researchers into the phenomena of crime regarded crime as a social science in which modern scientific methods could be applied to. ...read more.

Middle

It allows the boundaries to be made clear to everybody although he acknowledges that too much crime is bad for society and it could help to bring about its collapse. A Functionalist would believe that the social stability is of paramount importance, problems in society can be solved through social reform rather than radical action. Durkheim had a belief in crime and deviance not just being the makeup of a few 'sick' individuals but is part of society and performs an important function. But there are criticisms in his theories and he doesn't completely explain why some people offend whereas others do not and there is no argument on laws and their validity on how they benefit society as a whole. Marxists would strongly criticise the way Durkheim seems to be ignorant of the 'concepts of power' and how a small number of people in power have an influence in setting laws and boundaries whereas the majority have no sat at all and to abide by these laws. The Functionalist view of crime seems to ignore the fact that conflict and power does exist in society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both concepts were interesting and provided thought and the pioneers of both set precedence and have long since been adapted by others. However both the perspectives ignore the individual motivation for crime. The question of the mental state of an individual hasn't even been raised by any of the sociologists to explain why a person may offend. Marxism has it criticisms and concepts that aren't always backed up with fact. There isn't any clear argument regarding individual motivation to commit crime only that it gets completely caught up with the concept that capitalism is the root cause. The view on high crime and the criminal being the black working class youth and biased policing and that they are simply forced into crime due to unfair laws only suiting the purpose of the wealthy and more privileged. It doesn't explain how someone of a middle class background could fall into and take on a crime spree. There is a belief in the manipulation of values, that laws are created to control and enforcement to further re-iterate the control but dismisses entirely that an individual may simply by their own choosing become a criminal. XVZ V ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 Andrea Smith ...read more.

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