AQA Sociology notes for Crime and Deviance

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Sociology Crime and Deviance Notes:
1) The Difference between Crime and Deviance
Crime is an illegal act thqt is punishable by law, for example robbery and
shoplifting. If a person commits a crime and it is detected, they could be
charged and prosecuted. If found guilty, they will receive a sentence such as a
community order, fine or imprisonment.
Deviance refers to behaviour that doees not conform ro a society's norms or
social rules, for example, talking loudly in a library or cinema. If a person
behaves in a way seen as deviant and this is discovered, it could lead to
negative sanctions such as being told off, ignored or ridiculed.
Some deviant acts are also illegal. Legal deviance is behaviour that is seen by
most people in society as abnormal but it does not break the law. Illegal
deviance involved criminal behaviour that is punishable by the state.
Some illegal acts are not necessarily seen as deviant e.g. parking on double
yellow lines or using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving.
2) Individuals are encouraged to conform to social rules through social control,
which refers to the control that a group or society exercises over people's
behaviour and actions. Social control is divided into formal and informal social
Informal social control: Control of people's behaviour based on social
processes such as the approval and disapproval of others. These include:
Family: Their role is to maintain order by teaching a shared set of norms and
values and reinforcing them through positive and negative sanctions e.g. sending
a child to their room, increasing pocket money.
Peer Groups: Their role is to encourage people to conform to the group's
expectations, by supporting those who follow the norms e.g. being their friend,
or leaving them out.
Schools: Their role is to reinforce the work begum during primary
socialisation, and ensure that young people grow up to become useful members
of society, e.g. through hidden curriculum and positive and negative sanctions.
Work: Their role is to reinforce the value of hard work, acceptance of
hierarchy, and a sense of responsibility e.g. pay rises, promosions, firing
Religion: Their role is to maintain order by teaching and enforcing moral and
spiritual guidelines for people to follow in their lives e.g. through tales of `hell' and
Formal Social Control: Control of people's behaviour based on written laws
and rules. It is usually associated with the ways is which the state regulates
and controls people's behaviour. These include:
The police: Their role is to maintain order, enforce the law, investigate crimes
and arrest offenders e.g. patrolling streets.
The Judiciary (Courts): Their role is to deal with suspected offenders and to
convict and sentence those found guilty of a criminal offence e.g. looking at
evidence, evaluating it, and making their verdict.
The Penal System: Their role is to punish offenders and deter them and
others from committing crime e.g. keeping prisoners away from society.
The Legislature: Their role is to make the laws which regulate people's
behaviour e.g. new laws are discussed by MPs and the House of Lords.

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Deviance is socially defined and varies by:
Time: Some types of behaviour have become more acceptable over time,for
example being gay. Some types of behaviour have become less acceptable
over time e.g. smoking in public.
Society: Behaviour can b seen as deciant in one country but not in another,
for example drinking alcohol in Islamic countries is seen as deviant, however is
acceptable in Britain.…read more

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Labelling may help create a
self-fulfilling prophecy, by pushing someone further into deviance.
5) Crime Statistics: Existing sources of quantitative data of crimes reported by
the police.…read more

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Self Report Studies: These surveys ask people to reveal offences they have
committed e.g. the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS), which is a
longitudinal study measuring the extet of self-reported offending, drug use and
antisocial behaviour in England and Wales.
Provide information on offenders who aren't necessarily dealt with by the
police and courts.…read more


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