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Sociological Theory and Methodology - Crime and Deviance.

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Introduction

Sociology Assignment 2: Task 1 Sociological Theory and Methodology. Crime and Deviance. It is generally agreed on by sociologists that crime equals breaking the written laws of society whereas deviance involves breaking the unwritten rules in a way that involves diversifying from the norm with an act that involves anti social or morally unacceptable behaviour i.e. it is socially constructed and can change over time. However, crime and deviance can overlap with some behaviour being both deviant and criminal. The three sociological perspectives have different views on the causes and cures for crime and deviance, which will be discussed in the following essay. The functionalist believes that society needs strong laws as without them society would fall into anarchy. It also states that crime and deviance is inevitable. Durkheim argued that crime is functional and by punishing criminals, society reconfirms it own standards and deviant behaviour is necessary for progress in society. This perspective blames crime as the outcome of inadequate socialisation, with poorly functioning families and minority communities that condone deviant and criminal behaviour. They believe that the blame for criminal and deviant behaviour lies firmly at the feet of the individual. This theory however is heavily criticised by the conflict theorist for not taking into account other reasons why the lawbreaker, offends. ...read more.

Middle

However through meritocracy a working class person should in theory be able to achieve upward social mobility. The functionalist sociologist would argue that the underclass or working class create their own problems through uncooperative attitudes to work and education. However, it cannot be ignored that however intelligent a child is, if they are living in poverty, the conditions for them to learn in are going to be far from ideal. When this is compared to a child of the same intellect from a middle class background that has their own computer, possibly a tutor and space to study, it is evident whom is going to achieve more. The inequality is plain. Economically there have been changes to the working class, with a wider social stratification within this group, although there is the road sweeper and factory worker there is also the almost millionaire plumber. The upper working class person is able to afford to live in a consumer society with advantages of the middle and upper classes. Nonetheless, although this group's economic state has changed studies show that their lifestyles have not. This can only be contributed to education and health care, perpetuated by those in power. The educators are still less likely to recognise the potential in a child of a plumber than they would a child of a doctor. ...read more.

Conclusion

The report is based on the victim's perspective and is wholly judgemental and written from a functionalist perspective. It gives way to stereotyping and prejudices of the writer often creating an inflammatory reaction. The broad sheets are thought of as having a more objective approach to reporting. However typically there is still a shock element to broadsheet journalism with negative statistics and little explanation for the reasons behind criminal acts. For instance in the http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml %2Fnews%2F20 03%2F09%2F07%2Fnladet07.xml. the " Ladette Culture" article sites a 76% rise in girls aged 10-17 sentenced for an offence. It doesn't take into account till further into the report the fact that there is a greater crack down on crime with magistrates having more power to detain young offender. Some readers by the time they have read the dramatic opening will have made their opinions. Although the reporting sounds less like a soap opera than the tabloids it still puts the same message across. Generating, insecurities among the public and reinforcing negative stereotypes, of working class young people. Both these reports offer only a correctional view and the functionalist perspective, whereas it may be more useful to focus on the sociological reasons that lead to criminal and deviant behaviour with a greater social action perspective. Thus creating a greater interest, in preventing criminal behaviour, before it occurs and addressing some of the inequalities in the society today. ...read more.

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