A2 AQA Sociology, Crime and Deviance Revision Guide

Revisoin guide to the crime and deviance section of the paper (not theories or methods in context)

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  • Created on: 15-06-12 23:11
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Durkheim Functions of Crime
Durkheim argues that crime is inevitable, and even beneficial for society
The right amount of crime will help prevent anomie/normlessness
There are two main reasons for this:
Not everyone is socialised into the same norms and values, so some will be prone to be
There is a diversity of lifestyles, so different subcultures have their own norms and
Durkheim's positive functions of crime:
Boundary Maintenance
Crime creates a reaction from society, uniting them against the baddy! The punishment
given to the criminal/deviant reinforces shared rules of society, showing the
This links to Cohen's "folk Devils", whereby the media dramatizes crime and deviance.
Adaption and Change
Durkheim says that all change that has happened has started with an act of defiance.
People who have new ideas, values and ways of living must ignore some social norms and
control. For example, persecution of religious visionaries
These new values may, however, lead to a good thing. E.g gay rights activists have
brought on more acceptance, and more recently, the majority of MPs are backing gay
Durkheim therefore argues that neither a high or low level of crime is wanted, just
somewhere in the middle. Too much crime threatens bonds of society, and too little is
repressive and prevents change
Other Functions of Crime:

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Page 2

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Davis supports the idea that crime can be positive.…read more

Page 3

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Merton ­ Takes official crime statistics at face value, as official statistic over
represent working class crime, so Merton sees crime as a working class phenomena.
Marxists say Merton ignores how the ruling class enforce laws that benefit the rich
and not the poor
He assumes that everyone strives for money and success, but not everyone does E.g
the Economics graduate in England who decided to live without ANY money in the
Doesn't account for non-utilitarian crime that ISNT about money e.…read more

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Conflict subculture ­ arise due to low social cohesion and a high population
turnover. = high levels of disorganisation illegitimate opportunities are the only
ones available.
Retreatist subculture ­ are the result of being unsuccessful in society and in
conflict and criminal subcultures. They don't succeed in society OR in a criminal
subculture haha! They are double failures.
People can drift in and out of subcultures.…read more

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Moral Entrepreneurs ­ people who lead a crusade to change the law to benefit those to
whom it has been applied to. He argues it has two effects : 1. Creates new groups of
outsiders 2. Expansion of social control to impose labels on offenders (e.g.
However, these control agencies can also campaign for change themselves, e.g.…read more

Page 6

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Secondary deviance IS labelled, and is te result of labelling of society. Once the
individual is labelled, they may only be seen as that label and the label becomes
the master status. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy
LINK ­ links to interactionism theory as it sees social reality as a construct
through interactions, e.g between the police and the suspect.
HOWEVER! Although not everyone who is labelled will have a deviant career.…read more

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Glamorising offending
Cohen ­ Moral Panics
Mods and Rockers ­ Mods worse smart dress and rode scooters and rckers wore
leather jackets and rode motorbikes. The media over reacted to a tuffle when some
stone throwing and broken windows occurred. The media do 3 things:
-Exaggerate and Distort situation
-Predict what will happen next
-Make symbolisations ­ e.g mods wear leather jackets. Be afraid. Links now to
"hoodies" and Chavs.…read more

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Criminogenic Capitalism
Capitalism is criminogenic as by its nature it leads to crime. It is based on exploiting
the working class: Poverty can make crime the only way for working class to
survive, only way to get consumer goods and lack of control and alienation leads
to frustration.
However crime is not only for working class, as capitalism is "dog eat dog", so there is
also ruthless and even criminal competition between capitalists.…read more

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Not all capitalist societies have high crime rates, e.g Switzerland and Japan have very
little crime
Corporate crime does get prosecuted.
Neo Marxists combine traditional Marxism with ideas such as the labelling theory
Taylor, Walton and Young ­ New Criminology ­ They agree with traditional
Marxists on these things....
-Capitalist society is based on exploitation and class conflict, with extreme inequalities
of wealth and power.
-They say the state enforces laws at capitalists interest.…read more

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Fully Social Theory of Deviance Taylor Walton and Young
= a comprehensive understanding of crime and deviance to help change society:
-Ideas from both traditional Marxism (unequal distribution of wealth) and
interactionism/labelling (meaning of deviant act and effects of a deviant label)
Needs six aspects
1) Wider origins of a deviant act
2) Immediate origins of a deviant act
3) The act itself
4) Immediate origins of social reaction
5) Wider origins of social reaction
6) The effects of…read more


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