SCLY4 Crime and Deviance Notes

Notes covering all aspects of the Unit 4 exam in June 2012.

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  • Created on: 05-06-12 12:57
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Behaviour that goes against conventional norms and values and generally accepted behaviour. This is behaviour
which most people would regard as inappropriate, unacceptable and wrong. Deviance is usually subject to a variety
of social controls ranging from mild disapproval to severe punishment. Downes and Rock 2003 said that `deviance
may be considered as banned or controlled behaviour which is likely to attract punishment or disapproval'. This
definition covers act such as murder and rape which are explicitly banned in most cultures and are subject to severe
punishment, and are actually more like crimes.
Crime is a much more specific category than the wide and varied range covered by deviance. It is defined as an
infraction of the criminal law ­ as lawbreaking. They are usually seen as particularly serious and negative forms of
deviance. Pease 2002 said that `crimes are those actions deemed so disturbing to citizens or disruptive to society as
to justify state intervention'.
Questions of ethnicity and gender were barely looked at by sociologists of crime and deviance until the 1970s. The
primary focus was on class. Since the 1970s, sociologists have recognised the need to focus on ethnicity and gender.
It was assumed that the CJS treated all ethnic groups fairly. A major investigation into police immigrant relations in
1972 argued that `black people were more law abiding than the general population' and there was little evidence of
racist attacks against Black and Asian immigrants. However during the 1980s, relations between the police and the
Black community deteriorated and there was increasing evidence of racist attacks. The Scarman Report 1981 into the
Brixton disorders emphasised how the riots were essentially an outburst of anger and resentment by young African
Caribbean's against the harassment they received by the police. A Home Office Report in 1985 looked at racial
attacks. It revealed that South Asians were 50x more likely and Afro-Caribbean's were 36x more likely to be the
victims of racially motivated attacks than whites. Phillips and Bowling 2002 argue that the UK criminal justice
system is racist. They point to the higher number of stop and searches of black men (5-8 times higher than whites),
higher numbers of arrests, over policing in inner-city areas and the use of racially abusive language. After the racist
murder of the black youth, Stephen Lawrence, in 1993 the Macpherson Inquiry was set up to examine the
circumstances of his death. It concluded by saying that the police were institutionally racist. This means that
procedures, practices and a culture that tend to exclude or to disadvantage non-white people. The Macpherson
Inquiry effectively confirmed what many sociologists had been arguing for years. Waddington et al 2004 agree that
the police do stop a proportionately higher number of minority ethnics compared to whites, but do not agree that
this is due to racism. They argue that there are simply more, young minority ethnic men out at night in city centres
compared to whites. In other words, the police will target anyone in high crime areas, and if these people are
disproportionately Black or Asian, they are targeted not because of their ethnicity but simply because of their
presence in the area.
Lea and Young argue that Afro-Caribbean's are more criminal because of relative deprivation, subcultures and
marginalization. New Criminologists such as Hall and Gilroy also argue that when black men did turn to crime it was
down to structural factors such as poverty, unemployment and poor housing. They therefore contradicted
themselves when they claimed the high black crime rate was just a moral panic.
1. Lack of educational success -
- afro-Caribbean boys leave school with the lowest qualifications of any ethnic group
- in 2006, only 23% of black boys gained 5 or more good GCSEs compared to the national average of 44%
2. Family structures -
- 60% of young black children live with just one parent, normally the mother, compared to 20% of white
- lack of male role models

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Influence of the mass media -
- black RAP artists
- media over reporting (Cohen)
- creation of folk devils
Official statistics of crime and gender show that 8% of the total UK prison population are female which does not
show how many women commit crimes, just how many have been caught and recorded.…read more

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There is also a lack of awareness that a crime has been committed because lots of
people are now doing it which means that a lot of people will just be following suit from others. White collar crime
might also occur because crime may benefit both of the parties involved. The Strain Theory suggests that white collar
crime occurs because the middle class still feel deprived of certain things even though they are in a high social status
already.…read more

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Consensus, community and social controls are weaker, so people are more likely to experience anomie - a sense of
moral confusion that weakens their commitment to shared values and rules, encouraging crime and deviance.
Durkheim believed that crime can be beneficial for society in the following ways:
By strengthening collective values ­ values can waste away unless people are reminded of the boundaries
between right and wrong behaviour, for example child abuse cases reinforces social control against child
abusers.…read more

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Cohen was criticised as other sociologists suggest that most working class boys actually conform at school despite
educational failure. He was also criticised for ignoring female delinquency. Cohen neglects the role of agencies of
social control in the social construction of delinquency, for example police stereotyping of working class youths might
mean that they are more likely to be stopped and searched.…read more

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This cultural transmission ensures that young criminals, whether male or
female, learn criminal skills and traditions from the older generation, and that social disorganisation is reproduced
and maintained.
Sutherland and Cressey suggest that cultural behaviour is shaped by those around them. This is known as
differential association. If people who live in a socially disorganized urban area frequently associate with people
who make their living from crime, then the choice to pursue a criminal career may not be a difficult option.…read more

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Snider notes that the capitalist state is reluctant to pass laws that potentially threaten capitalism, for
example tax cuts.
Reiman argues that white collar crimes are under policed and under punished.
Box notes that the powerful kill and steal from ordinary members of society but these killings are not
covered by the law.
Law enforcement is selective and it tends to favour the rich and the powerful.…read more

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He read this as a challenge to class inequalities. In
evaluation of this that there is little empirical evidence to support it.
This theory has been criticised by saying the Marxists neglect gender and ethnicity as influences on youth
subcultures. They also underestimate the extent to which changes in youth culture are created by capitalism and
shaped consumerism.…read more

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Marginalisation. Some groups find themselves politically and economically `on the edge' of society,
through factors like poor educational achievement, unemployment, and a lack of involvement in community
Subculture. Working class deviant subcultures emerge as group solutions to problems arising from social
inequality, though they take different forms over time and in different concepts. These can act as motivators
for crime as some working class subcultures see offending as acceptable behaviour.…read more

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Criminals foresee the little risk of
being caught and they view punishment if they are caught as weak and ineffective.
Control theorist, Hirshi argues that people are generally rational in terms of their actions and choices ­ they weigh
up the costs and benefits of their behaviour, and on the basis they make choices about their actions. He also argues
that most people do not commit crime as they have four controls in their lives.…read more


vikki toria




Ibrahim - Team GR

Totally great resource with content and nicely ordered with headings aswell separating each part, I really like this! As a minor suggestion, Could have used more colour? Thanks Ibby.




just no

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