A.C. 2.2 + 3.2 - Describing and Evaluating Sociological Theory (UNIT 2) (1)

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  • A.C. 2.2 Describe Sociological Theories.
    • A.C. 3.2 Evaluate Sociological Theories.
      • Advantages
        • Research by Snider, Gramsci, Chambliss, Mankoff, Carlson and Pearce support the idea that a Capitalist society creates more crime
        • By showing the link between law making and law enforcement, and the interests of the ruling class it is able to use wider structural context and reinforce labelling theory.
        • Capitalism is Crimogenic, it is the root cause of crime. All classes commit crime but selective enforcement mens crime appears to be only a working class problem
        • Communist China is ranked 83rd whereas UK (Capitalist) is ranked 42nd in crime rate.
        • Statistically: Police are up to 28x more likely to stop and search young black people. and 3% leads to arrest.
      • Disadvantage
        • Not all Capitalist societies have high crime rates for example Japan and Switzerland have lower crime raters than US. this can mean that not all research may be valid and reliable to use.
        • Reductionist: as it largely ignores other non-class inequalities such as gender and ethnicity, as well it just predicts that all poor and working class people commit crime, and that the ruling class do not commit 'White collar' crime.
        • Interpretivists argue official statistics are invalid and so do not give a true picture, of crime rates. as police do not report all crime and so many crimes go unreported for various reasons.
    • Marxism
      • Karl Marx was critical of the economic system of Capitalism which had developed in Western societies. He felt that this system benefited the few at the expense of the many
      • Law and Enforcement: Law is biased in favour of the ruling class. Police and courts arrest and punish the working class. they do not enforce law so harsh on the ruling class
      • Individual Motivation: Capitalism leads to competition, selfishness and greed. Crime is the normal outcome of these values. poor people are driven by crime by desperate situations.
      • Gramsci 1971: Hegemony is used to maintain social control. Institutions such as the legal systems, socialise everyone into accepting ruling class ideas.
      • The Basis of Law: Laws are interests of the ruling class. they impose their values through their agencies such as education and media. laws protest the rich and powerful
      • Statistically: Police are up to 28x more likely to stop and search young black people. and 3% leads to arrest.
      • Crime and Control: crime supports ideology of Capitalism, diverts attention from exploitative nature of Capitalism. focuses peoples attention on evil and certain groups of people. this allows for heavy policing on stop and search.
      • Chambliss and Mankoff 1976: wrote that most laws serve to keep working class people away from the property and class of the rich. the ruling class uses the law to protect the private property because Capitalist exploitation is built upon it.
      • Snider 1993: Argues that legislation regulating large companies is restricted in a capitalist society because it could threaten ruling class interests.
      • Pearce 1976: suggested that even the laws which supposedly protect the working class. e.g. Health and Safety Regulations, are really in the interest of the ruling class, he said that system needs a healthy, safe and loyal workers.
      • Carson 1971: found that laws on health and safety are rarely enforced. out of 200 firms,  all have broken health and safety laws but only 1.5% have been prosecuted.
      • Bonger 1916: said that robbery and property theft are an inevitable response to the extremes of wealth and poverty. Individuals are forced into crime by the structure of society.


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