Theories of crime and deviance 

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  • Created by: Molly
  • Created on: 28-11-12 16:01
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  • Theories of crime and deviance
    • biological and psychological theories
      • suggest that deviant/criminal behaviour is determined by physiological/ psychological conditions which prevent some individuals form conforming.
        • something wrong with criminals rather than society
      • biological- something in the genetic make up for criminals that make them turn to crime
        • born a criminal
        • personality characteristics/ poor relationships with parents
      • sociologists tend to reject these explanations as they fail to recogonize meanings attatched to crime are created by social and cultural factors.
        • everyone at some point in their lives commit acts of deviance. crime.
    • functionalism
      • sees the source of crime and deviance located in the structure of society
      • benefits of crime (durkhiem)
        • inevitable feature of social life.
        • 1. strengthening collective values
        • 2. enabling social change
          • new ideas to develop
        • 3. acting as a safety valve
          • releasing stress
        • 4. acting as a warning device
          • society not working properly
      • strain theory
        • MERTON (1968) functionalist theory
          • he suggested that social order is based on a consensus around social goals and approved means of achieving them
          • most people share goals.. financial success etc..
            • in an unequal society Merton argues that not all individuals have the same oppurtunity to of realizing thees foals.
              • sense of strain   , give up, drugs, criminal acts, turn to crime as an alternative.
        • evaluation:
          • not everyone want financial success- more about job satisfaction
          • focuses on individual responses and doesent recognize that there is a social pattern of crime and deviance, linked to age, gender, ethnicity etc..
          • he dosent explain why most people who face strain do not turn to crime


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