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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. A Failing Justice System

    Yet the meaning of justice cannot be clarified, it is a fact that injustice is inevitable. For instance, a nineteen-year-old teenager who is bound just to watch the three men raping his mother and his lover kills those men one year later. Is this man really guilty? Or, can a twenty-year-old boy born to murder parents and having no education be responsible for the actions that he doesn't even know as a crime? Likewise, in "Franchise Affair", the counselor searches the background of the girl to find out whether any genetic factors are present.

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  2. Compare the ways in which crime is presented in Moll Flanders and Roxana? Assess how far these criminal episodes have a continuing appeal

    Therefore it can be argued that women were more likely to engage in criminal activities as a way of escaping poverty, and to an extent improve their quality of living. Defoe aims to make the two protagonists heroic figures as they manage to succeed against the odds, they're renegades that reject the norms and values of society and do not conform with stereotypical female roles, such as domestic duties instead they distance themselves from the morals of society and beautify their lives by either using men or preying on rich objects to fulfill their needs.

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  3. Compare and Contrast the Main Sociological Theories of Deviance.

    It was not really until the 1950s that sociological explanations started to compete with biological or psychological explanations. Even then, these sociological approaches were similar to the existing theories, in that they were positivist - based on the modernist idea that it is possible and desirable to attain rational and verifiable knowledge. The difference was, that for sociologists, the causes of deviant behaviour are found outside the individual. Such explanations then, as with much sociology, are a rejection of individualistic explanations of behaviour.

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  4. As in other areas of sociology, criminological studies have traditionally ignored half the population.

    This silence is, we are led to believe, a product of men's hesitation to disclose vulnerability." (Stanko and Hobdell, 1993) Heidensohn (1989) however dismisses the 'chivalry' idea and suggests that women offenders are branded as doubly deviant, firstly by ignoring appropriate female behaviour and also by breaking the law. Heidensohn points out the double standards within the criminal justice system, where male aggression is seen as natural phenomenon and female offences are explanations in 'psychological' terms. Heidensohn has also tried to explain the apparent fewer crimes committed by women by using control theory, which states that patriarchal societies control women more effectively than they do men.

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  5. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century.

    This was due to many people thinking that the police force handled situations violently and aggressively. It was during the 1840s where detectives were introduced to the Metropolitan Police Force, this caused many troubles as people thought that they was too plainly dressed and that there was no distinction between detectives and ordinary civilian. Detective work started to begin during the 1960s when the first murder was investigated, photos were taken at the crime scene and so were the criminals, as it was believed at the time that you can tell a criminal from the size of their head.

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  6. What have theories of deviance added to our understanding of crime? Why are there so many theories of crime and deviance?

    Statistically, deviance is anything that varies too widely from the average. However, this has the problem of giving a "mixed bag" since people who have done nothing wrong such as redheads are seen as deviants. In its medical analogy, deviance is pathological and reveals the presence of a "disease", where the human organism is not fully "healthy" and thus not working efficiently (Becker, 1973). However, people cannot agree on what constitutes 'healthy' behaviour, with no single definition being able to satisfy even a single group.

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  7. How closely was criminal activity linked to economic circumstances in early modern England?

    Secondly during the period there was fundamental disagreement between the poor and their 'masters' over what was illegal. 'Old customs' for example such as the collecting of firewood and the taking of 'perks' in jobs were not considered criminal by the perpetrators but were technically 'illegal'. The problem which therefore arises is one of determining which of the 'social crimes' actually constitute 'criminal activity'. Thirdly one must bear in mind the efforts being made on the period to try and 'control the poor'.

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  8. How far does Becker's account (The Outsiders 1963) of the processes underlying the selective enforcement of criminal law help us to understand and explain the policing of domestic violence and white collar crime?

    The central fact about deviance is that it is created by society. According to Becker, "Social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance".2 Deviance is therefore a consequence of the responses of others to a persons act. A classic example that can describe the principle of whistle blowing is Malinowski's visit to the Trobriand Islands.3 The story is about a boy who had sexual relations with his maternal cousin and killed himself because his girlfriends discarded lover started to tell people about the incestuous relationship. He had no choice but to commit suicide because otherwise he would have to face the consequences of being a deviant as that he would have been labelled as by society.

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  9. Is the judicial system racist?

    Lastly I will try and find out if either the questionnaire or secondary research affect the police force and jury's judgment when arresting/convicting certain ethnic groups (aim3). The difficulties that I might run into while carrying out my research are that figures that I collect may not be up to date. Other difficulties that I will run into are that people will not have answered truthfully as they do not want to be seen as the odd one so go along with the majority of answers, or do not want to say that they have committed crimes.

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  10. This research project attempts to contrast local crime trends with the British Crime Survey (BCS).

    Gathering statistics never uncovers the reasons people commit crime. This approach tends to favour observational methods. It is worth remembering that most sociological perspectives lie somewhere in between these polar approaches. There are a number of theories and studies in criminology but due to restrictions, this investigation will look specifically at the perspective of the left realist In the late 1970's, Taylor Watson and young began to modify the Marxist approach to crime, which is concerned with the political, social and economic conditions in which crime occurs. The result was a new approach to criminology that advocated a change in social conditions.

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  11. Gender and Grime

    Heidensohn has also tried to explain the apparent fewer crimes committed by women by using control theory, which states that patriarchal societies control women more effectively than they do men. Thus making it more difficult for women to break the law. Socialisation theories also look at the way women are influences at work, in public and at home. Women's lifestyles are more centred around the home and caring for children and relatives; this therefore reduces women's opportunity to commit crime as their lifestyle is based more around the home than men's.

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  12. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century

    This would become a major problem when dealing with big cases like the mystery of Jack the Ripper. The Met caused no real revolution in law and order. Training for police constables was minimal mostly spent on military drill. Most of the work involved standing at a fixed point, terribly boring job however, the police force was only just about qualified for even this. Up until 1890, recruits were drafted in from the countryside in the hope that they would be stronger than city folk as well as being 'uncorrupted'.

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  13. How Crime is Detected and Prevented

    This can then be traced back to the make of the gun and even the gun itself. When the guns make is discovered it can be traced back to the shop it was purchased from and even the buyer. When a bullet is collected from a crime scene, it would usually be deformed of crushed from the impact. Forensics would usually test fire the suspected type of gun so that they could compare the results. This would give them a clear view as to whether it is the same gun. BLOOD: Blood is of value in such crimes as murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary and hit-and-run accidents.

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  14. Briefly explain how the concept of 'male stream' knowledge referred to in Item A has effected sociological explanations of behaviour with reference to family and households

    The BCS has found that crime varies year on year, which therefore contradicts the official statistics. The BCS also asked the victims why they didn't report the crime committed against them and they found that people either thought to themselves that it was a trivial crime or the police thought that it was trivial. They found that police only report 50% of crimes that are reported to them, either because of lack of evidence or they don't believe that the crime has happened.

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  15. Describe Law And Order In The Late Nineteenth Century

    The police uniform was slightly altered in 1870 with a distinctive police helmet. There were two popular names that the police were called those were 'Peelers' and 'Bobbies'. These names were made up after the Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel. The Metropolitan Police Force was divided into seventeen divisions; each one had a superintendent, 4 inspectors and 144 constables. Every officer had to be in good health, aged 35 and under, at least 5"5 tall and able to read and write.

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  16. Assess The Contribution Of Control Theory To Our Understanding Of Crime And Criminality

    Some of the main voices of this field are Travis Hirschi, Michael Gottfredson, Walter Reckless, and Ivan Nye. We will look at their contributions in detail especially that of Gottfredson and Hirschi. Finally we will discuss the worth of control theory and evaluate what implications it has had on modern society along with whether it is regarded as being axiomatic. Crime and Criminality Prior to the seventeenth century the law was greatly influenced by that of monarchical and religious authorities.

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  17. Assess the view that crime and deviance is the result of labelling, the media and public opinion

    The second idea in the interactionist approach is that a person?s experience may lead to a deviant career i.e. there is a social process that takes certain people down a path that leads to rejection by society. Interactionist theorists argue that in society there are always different groups who are competing to have their particular values or interests elevated to the position whereby they are passed into law. These values may or may not reflect the views of the bulk of the population. The most important thing is that the group, who are promoting their own values, are successful in doing so and thereby have their values made into the law.

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  18. What is a gang?

    Their behavior is sometimes unacceptable as they may be carrying a gun or knife as their mystic weapon. Weapons such as weapons with steel blades of various lengths designed to pierce or cut and also it's not just a knife, it's a 15" extension of a bad attitude. There is a high volume of crime and members that take place outstanding to their relationships. The situation that they are in is as bad as a warzone. Moreover, some people may have been very assertive gangs.

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