Crime and Deviance (Social Groups)

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  • Created by: atm
  • Created on: 19-05-18 19:53



  • Gilroy would argue that black criminality is a myth created by racist sterotypes and labelling by the police and the media 
  • Gilroy argued BME crime is a form of political resistance to inequality, the racism in white culture, and police racism, harassment and oppression.
  • Stuart Hall argued black youth have been used as scapegoats on which to blame social problems which have their origins in the wider social system.

Left Realism

  • Marginalisation- some BME groups are marginilsed and lack power , and so legitimate opportunities to achieve mainstream goals are blocked
  • Relative deprivation- Many BME people are deprived

subcultures arise from marginalisation and relative deprivation

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Ethnicity 2

Poverty, Social exclusion and the search for Identity

  • Bowling and Philips suggest higher levels of robbery by black people are linked to higher levels of poverty and social exclusion amplified by racism.
  • Crime can provide peer-group status and a sense of a powerful black identity otherwise denied.
  • Pakistanis and Bangladesh suffer worse poverty but have lower crime rate this is due to clearer cultural identity and stronger controls limiting the opportunities and desire to establish status through crime.

Labeling, Stereotyping, and racism in the criminal justice system (CJS)

Labeling theorists and Marxists argue that statistics suggesting BME people are more likely to be offenders than whites are evidence of racist police stereotyping and of selective law enforcement rather than more criminality.

Philips and Bowling suggest evidence of indirect racial discrimination in the CJS is shown:

  • Institutional racism
  • Discrimination in sentencing- Black people face greater likelihood both of being given a prison sentence and of receiving longer sentences.
  • BME people, especially youth, are targeted for heavier policing, and stop and search, as they fit police stereotypes of 'troublemakers'.
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There is a link between ethnicity and offending because ethnic minorities especially blacks are in disadvantaged areas which means they are materially and economically deprived therefore they have unequal access to legitimate opportunity structures.

Left realists would argue that there are real differences in offending rates and that these differences. Lea and Young would argue that BME youths have much higher risk levels of unemployment because they have been marginalised and alienated by society, therefore, makes them form subcultures within deprived areas. This means they join gang culture in order to receive peer group support. By joining gangs they receive frustration through violence, and they earn status by winning 'turfs'. -->, for example, London 2018 postcode war / Knife crime.

Bowling and Philips suggest that higher levels of robbery by black people could be linked to poverty and social exclusion, which black people are more likely to be victims of.

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Social Class

Theoretical explanations

  • Status Frustration: Sense of frustration because individuals or groups are denied status in society. Therefore leads to illegitimate status hierarchy.
  • Strain theory: 'innovation' the use of new deviant means such as theft, fraud, to gain wealth. Merton's view this explains why working-class crime is at a higher rate of utilitarian crime than the middle class.
  • Miller-Focal Concerns: Young working men commit crime because of six focal concerns- smartness, excitement, fatalism, autonomy, toughness and trouble.
  • Lower class have developed an independent subculture with its own norms and values that clash with mainstream culture. 
  • Katz: Edgework-Crime committed by youths is motivated by 'edgework' and 'thrill-seeking'.
  • Right realist: inadequate socialization and lone-parent households lead to crime.

etc. Add all the main theories for the explanation of working-class crime 

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Social Class 2

White Collar Crime: Crimes committed in the furtherance of an individual’s own interests, often against the corporations of organisations within which they work.

Corporate Crime: Those crimes committed by or for corporations or businesses which act to further their interests and have a serious physical or economic impact on employees, consumers and the general public. The drive is usually the desire to increase profits.

Sutherland first studied white collar crime and defined it as 'crimes committed by persons of higher social class and respectability in the course of their occupation'.

  • Labour law Violations: offences which neglect health and safety regulations, falling to pay for legally required minimum wage
  • Financial Offences: offences of tax evasions and concealing losses or debts 
  • Manufacturing offences: an offence of incorrect labels and misrepresentations of products and false advertisement (unsafe or dangerous products)
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Social Class 3

White collar crime UNDER-REPRESENTED 

  • Difficult to detect as there are no obvious Victims 
  • Bribery and Corruption everyone involved benefit from it, therefore, no one will own up.
  • The power and influence of those involved usually mean the authorities 'turn a blind eye'.
  • cases of Professional misconduct is solved internally 
  • Even when reported, however, offenders are more likely to be found not guilty
  • 'Money is power'--> Higher powers are able to pay their way to freedom 
  • The media 
  • Lack of political will

However, since the financial crisis of 2008, there have been an increase in campaigns against cooperate crime, especially on tax avoidance.

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Gender 1

How do women fit into existing explanations?

Malestream criminology: Women are ignored in recorded crime (Heidensohn) e.g. women committing  domestic violence and **** (they are the ideal Victim)

The Chivalry thesis: the criminal justice system (police, magistrates, judges) treat women more leniently (Pollak) --> women who sleep with their students or woman who stabbed her boyfriend because she was an Oxford student as a doctor she was let off.

or against the Chivalry thesis: sentences are no different (Farrington and Morris); women shoplifters more likely to be prosecuted (Buckle and Farrington); commit less serious offences (Box)

  • Women are more likely to shoplift because women are fewer risk takers 

Women simply commit fewer crimes 

The criminal justice system is more biased against women (Heidensohn and Carlen) When women deviate from gender norms

-->  e.g. Child abuser, murderers.

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Gender 2

  Why do Women commit crime?

Women's Liberation (Adler): trying to go against the patriarchal View of Women/Catching up to men/more opportunities to commit crime --> because women are now in the public sphere 

Women increasingly engage in risk-taking behaviour like 'looking hard' (Denscombe) --> Being equal to men = Questioning and challenging stereotypes. e.g. Mad Max Imperator Furiosa

Working class women turn to crime if the 'class deal' and/or 'gender deal doesn't offer any rewards i.e. poverty and oppressive family life (Carlen)

^^ Rational alternative (crime) in an oppressive relationship they turn to crime to move away and also a rise in consumerism.

Women are reconfiguring their identity in a more confident, forceful way (Westwood) --> Feminist have liberated women to become Criminals 

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Gender 3

Why do Women no commit crime ?

  • Biological explanations = Expressive role, Naturally Nurturing
  •  Sex role theory: socialisation (Parsons) and social control (Heidensohn) = More surveillance for women Because they feel like they are being monitured> they can't Win to crime
  • Risk-taking = Women are more anxious about the consequences 
  •  Marginalisation = less part of public life and less likely to be on their own
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Gender 4

Why do men turn to crime?

Connell and Messerschmidt: Being a 'real man': Less powerful men will turn to crime to be successful at masculinity (a need to prove themselves)

Katz: Seductions of crime: Thrill of committing the crime (excitement/ Risk-taking )

Police Assumptions and stereotyping: Labelling and stop and search.

Matza: Many young men are in the state of drift (in and out of crime) and boredom and unsure of who they are.

Lyng: Young males search for pleasure through risk-taking seen as 'edgework' --> Thrill + excitement 

Winlow: Changing Nature of the economy 

  • Structural argument 
  • Increase in office work (catered to women) and a decrease in Manuel labour 
  • Crisis of Masculinity 
  • May not be able to fulfil their instrumental role, therefore, turn to crime
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