A Level sociology paper 3

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  • A Level Sociology paper 3: class differences in crime
    • the working class commit more crime because of;
      • Functionalism
        • not everyone is well socialised into society like functionalists say we are
          • the working class often develop their own set of values which clash with mainstream culture
      • Strain theory
        • Merton viewed deviance as being caused by individuals not being able to achieve societies goals
          • lower classes had little access to legitimate means so are more likely to be deviant
      • Interactionist theory
        • focuses on the stereotyping and labelling of the working classes
          • their activities are more likely to be defined as criminal because the police spend more time with them (Becker and Lemert)
      • Marxist theories
        • the ruling class define crime so make sure the rules enforced go against the working classes
          • Crimes of the powerful such as white collar crime and tax evasion for example, tend to unnoticed .
      • Right realism
        • the rise of the underclass who raise children in lone parent families who live on welfare benefits
          • this leads to a collapse in moral behaviour
      • crimes of the powerful
        • laws are often biased towards the higher  class
          • Sutherland (1949)
            • crime was not a working class phenomena
              • there is also white collar crime such as tax evasion; this is less likely to be prosecuted .
      • types of cooperate crime
        • white collar crimes actually cause more harm than blue collar crimes
          • this is because they cover things such as tax evasion and health and safety violations
            • abuse of trust
              • high status professionals sometimes abuse their trust
                • eg, Doctor Harold Shipman who was allowed to continue practicing despite murdering 15 of his patients.
      • the invisibility of corporate crime 'crimes of the powerful'
        • the media
          • very little coverage is given to corporate crime
        • politics
          • politicians often make a promise to be 'tough on crime'
            • however, this only applies to visible crimes such as street crime
        • Difficulty
          • these crimes are often seen as complex and its hard to fund
            • these make lengths of investigations difficult
        • under reporting
          • the victims of corporate crime is oppressed to being an induvidual
            • when the victim is an individual they may not realise
    • explanations of corporate crime
      • 1. Strain theory
        • Merton's strain theory focuses on achieving material wealth being blocked
          • Box argues that a company cannot achieve goals through legal means so do it through illegal means eg, cutting costs in health and safety  .
      • 2. differential association
        • it is argued if we socialise with criminals, we are more likely to engage in criminal acts
          • employees of a company that commit crimes may be socialised into this criminality
      • 3. Marxism
        • Box argues that corporations are criminogenic
          • because when real opportunities are blocked they resort to illegal means
            • this is usually seen in developing countries eg sweatshop workers
        • The extent to which corporate crime happens is over exaggerated
          • these theories also dont explain corporate crime in non profit organisations such as the police


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