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Theories of crime and
Key questions: Key information
1. What is crime and Definitions of crime and
deviance? deviance, social construction
and biological explanations.
Functionalism ­ Durkheim &
2. Why do people commit Merton
crime? Subcultural strain theory
Labelling theory
3. What happens if a person Marxism and Neo-Marxism
is labelled as a criminal? (white collar crime)
Left and Right Realism
4.…read more

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Crime Deviance Deviant not
Any act which breaks Behaviour which Deviant and
the laws of society, moves away from Burping, not criminal
such as murder or rape. conventional queuing
norms and values Rape,
Social control is murder,
such as burping Criminal not deviant
enforced by agencies paedophilia
and farting in
such as police and the Speeding, parking on
courts. public.…read more

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Durkheim ­ Key ideas Crime and society Positive functions of
1. Crime is inevitable and Society is only healthy when
necessary to society. social order is maintained 1. Re-marking social
through the police and boundaries ­ affirms
2. Crime has positive
courts. We need a small social norms and
amount of crime to remind us values.
3. The perfect amount of what we believe in. Only a
2.…read more

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Merton - Key idea
1. The goals of
People engage in society ­ American
deviant behaviour Deviance is the
when they are result of the
unable to achieve strain between
socially approved 2. Your legitimate
goals. means of achieving
1. Conformity Strain produces
Five frustration which creates a
Most of America not pressure to deviate, what
criminal or deviant Merton calls the strain to
anomie.…read more

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TYPE Goal of Means Type
Conformity Accepts Legitimate Most people
Innovation Accepts Illegitimate Gangsters (Tony
(Criminal) Montana)
Ritualism Rejects Legitimate People in dead end
(Deviant) jobs.…read more

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Subcultural group Albert Cohen ­ Status
A group with its own Cloward and Ohlin ­
distinctive norms and A Subcultural strain theory Opportunity structures
values, sometimes which argues lower class people
A Subcultural strain
although not always are frustrated because they
theory like Cohen but
deviant. want to be successful but lack
more concerned about
the qualifications and skills to do
the different types of
Contemporary examples so. They solve this frustration
crimes groups commit.…read more

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Lower-class feel the strain
Strain theory Robert Merton and commit utilitarian
crime (money)
Lower-class feel the
strain but start
Albert Cohen subculture and commit
Subcultural non-utilitarian crime
Strain theory
Lower-class feel the
Cloward and strain but what crime
Ohlin they commit depends
on the area they live in
Lower-class doesn't
Subcultural feel the strain each
Walter Miller
theory subcultural group has
different values…read more

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Interactionism Howard Becker Labelling process
Doesn't focus on the Focuses on the process of a 1. A label is attached
structures of society but person and act getting by police and courts.
how people and society labelled as deviant. He
interact and how this argues that no act is 2. Label becomes a
affects criminal intrinsically deviant but master status ­
behaviour. relies on its context to overrides other
determine its acceptability. status as sibling,
Examples: nudity, injecting friend etc.
Deviancy amplification oneself even murder.…read more

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Blue collar crime White collar crime Corporate crime
Crimes committed by Crimes committed by Crimes carried out on behalf of
manual factory workers office workers a company such as tax evasion or
(working class), these (middle/upper class) toxic waste dumping.
are street crimes like like fraud, these are
Occupational crime
theft which are in often hidden from
public view. public view. Crimes carried out at the
expense of companies like fraud.…read more


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