Crime and deviance theory


Functionalism- Durkhiem

 Shared norms and values creates social solidairty, this needs socialisation and social control, eg punishments for deviance. He argues that crime is inevitable and universal (in every level), crime is normal and part of healhty socities. as not evrryone brought up with same norms and diversity in lifestyles. Creating anomie, where norms are unclear resulting in deviance. Crime also fulfills two positive functions according to him, boundary maintenance- reinforcing community norms and values when they react to a crime. adaptation and change-  crime allows society to challenge and existing norms and values to help create new culture and morality. thus too much or too little crime signals malfunctioning social system, too much tears bonds too little means society controlling its members

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Functionalism- Merton


Combines two elements: structural factors- unequal opurtuntities and cultural factors- emphasis on goals but using illegitimate ways, deviance results from strain of this. The american dream  tells us everyone has the oppurtntiy to get ahead if they make the effort but realistically many groups denied oppurtuntities. Strain of lack of cultural goal for money and lack of legitimate means makes them frustrated resulting in crime. 

He uses this to explain patterns in deviance. There are 5 types of adaption, depending on if they accept, reject or replace approved cultural goals and legitimate means of achieving them. Conformity- individuals accept culturally approved goals/means and strive to achieve them. Innovation- individuals accept the goal of money success but use new illegitimate means. Ritualism- they give up on trying to achieve goals but have internalised the legitimate means, so follow the rules (lower-middle class office workers). Retreatism- they reject both goals and legitimate means and become dropouts. Rebellion- rejecting existing goals and means but replace them with new ones to bring change

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Functionalism- Davis


This acts as  safety valye for the release of mens sexual frustrations without threatening the monogamous nuclear family. (only one partner at a time) 

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Subcultural theory (neo-functionalist)- Cohen


Focuses on deviance in working-class boys in school lacking cultural depriavtion and skills to achieve, leaving them at the bottom of official staus heirarchy. They suffer status frustration from not gaining status legitmately so resolve it by rejecting mainstream values, and turn to deliquent groups. 

The deliquent groups omverts the values of mainstream society, turning them upside down, this gives them an alternative status heirarchy, through deviant actions judged by peers. 

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Subcultural theory- Cloward and Ohlin


They see some middle class youths are denied legitimate opportunities to achieve money success, leading to deviance but argue not everyone responds to this situation this way,it depends on the subculture. They identify 3 types of deviant subcultures that result: Criminal Subcultures: crime has arisen from the neighbourhood, as a long term stable criminal culture and get the right aptitudes and oppurtunities to become deviant. Conflict subcultures: arise in areas of high population turnover, resulting from high levels of disorganisation, illegitimate opportunities in gangs provides violence to release mens frustration, and alternative source of status. Retreatist subcultures: in any neighbourhood not everyone wishes to be a professional criminal, like not everyone gets a well-paid job, if both these are ‘double failures’, Cloward and Ohlin state many turn to a retreatist subculture based on illegal drug use.

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Ecological theory- Shaw and Mckay


The area you live in is significant, therefore differences in behaviour in areas varies. they applied these ideas in 'concentric zones', coming from the centre. ZONE 1 is the middle, the central business district. ZONE 2 is the zone of transition, the next inner city. ZONE 3, the respectable working class hosuing. ZONE 4 the middle class suburbs. ZONE 5, the rural/semi rural areas, inhabitated by the rich. 

Zone 2 was found to have the highest rates of crime, due to no settled community due to migration, leading to social disorganisation. 

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Ecological theory- Felson


States that crime is normal and depending on the circumstances it will be committed. If a target is not protected enough or presents an opportunity to be committed it will happen by a new criminal. Whereas crime done by regular offenders are copyright, infringement, corporate crime and employee theft.

For a crime to be committed there are 3 thing’s needs: - a motivated offender – a suitable target/victim – the lack of a capable guardian. if one of these are misisng then the crime wont go ahead. 

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Ecological theory- Brantingham and Brantingham


Also known as Environmental criminology, explains the best place to commit crime are the places you go or on the way there or back. these areas become familar to them and therefore crime becoems less random but more planned or oppurtuntistic. this movement from places creates a cognitive map, a mental visualisation of all familiar paths and places, making it easier to commit and get away with a crime. 

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Marxism- Criminogenic Capitalism

Marxists argue the law is enforced disproportionately against the working class. There are two classes the ruling capitalist class (bourgeoisie) and the ones who own means of production, working class (proletariat). To them crime is inevitable, as capitalism is criminogenic, by nature it causes crime. capitalism exploit the working class, using them as means of production, as crime could be their only way out.  

But crime is not just related to the working class, as there is competition amongst capitalists. . Profit motive encourages greed and self-interest. These are crimes of the powerful. Marxists agree with labelling theorists that although all classes commit crime, when it comes to the application of the law, there is selective enforcement, ignoring the crimes of the powerful. The law, crime and criminals also perform an ideological function for capitalism. This encourages workers to blame the criminals for their problems, rather than capitalism. 

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Marxism- Gordon

He argues that crime is a rational response to the capitalist system and hence it is found in all social classes, even if these are different crimes. Even though the official statistics make it appear to be a largely working-class phenomenon. 

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Marxism- Snider

They argue that the capitalist state is reluctant to pass laws that regulate the activities of businesses or threaten their profitability. Agreeing with how the ruling class also have the power to prevent the introduction of laws that would threaten their interests.  

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Marxism- Chambliss

He argues that laws to protect private property are the corner store of the capitalist economy.  He uses the example of the law onto Britain’s east African colonies that needs local labour. The law served the economic interest of the capitalist plantation owners. The ruling class have the power to prevent the introduction of laws that would threaten their interests. 

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Marxism- Pearce

They state that laws performing an ideological function to benefit the working class eg health and safety laws often benefit the ruling class too, as keepoing workers safe, gives capitalism a caring face and create false consciousness for workers

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Marxism- Sutherland


The more likely a crime is to be committed by higher-class people, the less likely it is to be treated as an offence, with the criminal justice system taking a more forgiving view.

‘White collar crime’- ‘a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status due to their occupation’. 

This definition fails to distinguish between 2 types of crime: occupational crime, committed by employees simply for their own personal gain and corporate crime committed by employees for their organisation in pursuit of its goals. These types of crime cause more harm than street crime. T

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Marxism- Tombs


He extends the defintion to 'an illegal act or omission that is the result of deliberate decisions or culpable negligence by a legitimate business organisation and that is intended to benefit the business'. He notes that corporate crime has enormous costs including physical eg deaths, injuries, illnesses, environmental eg pollution and economic eg to consumers, workers etc.

Corporate crime covers a wide range of acts and omissions, including financial crimes, crimes against consumers, against employees, against the environment and state-corporate crime.

High status professionals occupy positions of trust and respectability, in which they can abuse. In Sutherland’s view this makes white collar crime a greater threat to society than working class street crime, because it undermines the fabric of society and causes distrust of social institutions.

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Neo-marxism- Taylor, Walton and Young


These are influenced by the ideas of Marxism but combine ideas with other approaches such as labelling theory. Taylor agrees with Marxists that: 1. Capitalist society is based on exploitation and class conflict, characterised by extreme inequalities of wealth and power 2. The state makes and enforces laws in the interest of capitalist class, criminalising working class 3. Capitalism should be replaced with classless society, reducing extent of crime or abolish completely.    However, this views also differ from Marxists in some ways. 

He argues that Marxism is deterministic, seeing workers driven to commit crime for economic necessity, but they regret this instead talking a voluntaristic view, in particular with a political motive, deliberately striving to change society.

He wanted to create a ‘fully social theory of deviance’, with a complete theory needing to unite on six aspects.1. Wealth and power are the main causes of crime, must study society first to understatnd power relationships.2. looking into the reasons behind why someone comitts a crime, understanding local pressures eg subcultures, 3. understanding the act itself and knowing the meaning behind it 4. The immediate social reactions, such as the police, family and community 5. the way in which power creates the rules, wider reactions, and deciding what is news worthy 6. The effects of labelling on deviants future actions. These must be understood together to become a unified theory. 

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Interactionalism- Becker


Social groups create deviance by creating the rules which are broken, causing deviance, and applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders. Thus, the deviant is simply someone that a label has been successfully applied.

Labelling theorists therefore look into how and why rules or laws are made, in particular moral entrepreneurs. This causes 2 effects: the creation of a new group of ‘outsiders’ who break the rule and the creation or expansion of social control agency to enforce the rule and impose labels on offenders. 

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Interactionalism- Piliavin and Briar


Not everyone who commits a crime is arrested, charged and convicted, as it depends on: 1. Their interaction with agencies of social control 2. Their appearance, background and personal biography 3. The situation and circumstance. Making theorists look into how the laws are applied and enforced. Finding they are more likely to label certain group as deviant.

He found that police decisions to arrest a youth were mainly based on physical cue eg manner and dress, in addition to their gender, class and ethnicity, as well as time and place. 

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Interactionalism- Lemert


He distinguishes between primary and secondary deviance. Primary Deviance- Acts that have not been publicly labelled yet Secondary deviance- The result of societal reaction, the further deviance from acting out the label. He argues it is pointless to seek the causes of primary as it is so widespread it is unlikely to have a single cause. They have little significance for the individual’s status or self -concept. Whereas secondary is being caught and publicly labelled as a criminal. This becomes their master status or controlling identity, overriding all others. This can provoke a crisis for the individual’s self-concept. A way to resolve this is for them to see themselves as the world does ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, creating more hostile deviant behaviour.

It is not the act itself that creates serious deviance but the societal reaction, the social control processes that are meant to produce low-abiding behaviour may in fact produce the very opposite. A deviance amplification spiral is caused as more and more control creates more and more deviance. A great example of this is Cohen’s theory of the media portrayal onto folk devils, exaggerating an event, creating a bigger moral panic. 

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Officers decisions to arrest are influences by their stereotypes of the offenders. Typifications (Their common-sense theories or stereotypes of what the typical delinquent is like) made by officers led them to concentrate on certain types of offenders and therefore law enforcement shows a class bias. This led to them patrolling working class areas more intensively, resulting in more arrests. Other agents of social control also took this bias eg probation officers held common sense theory that juvenile delinquency was caused by broken homes, poverty and lax parenting. Therefore, he argues justice is not fixed but negotiable.

His study highlights how official statistics do not give us a valid picture of the patterns of crime and cannot be used as a resource.

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Interactionalism- Triplett


Increasing tendency to see young offenders as evil and to tolerant minor deviance less, as well as re-labelling small offences to be more severe, resulting in them with harsher sentences.This indicated labelling theory has important policy implications. Logically we should create fewer rules for people to break. It implies we should avoid publicly naming and shaming since this is likely to create a perception of them as evil outsiders and excluding them from mainstream society, pushing them into further deviance. 

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Interactionalism- Braithwaite


He identifies a more positive role for the labelling process, distinguishing between 2 types of shaming (negative labelling):

Disintegrative shaming- where not only the crime but also the criminal is labelled as bad and the offender is excluded from society.

Reintegrative shaming- labels the act but not the action, saying they did a bad thing not that they are a bad person. This makes them aware of the negative impact of their actions upon others and encourages others to forgive them. This avoids secondary deviance and crime rates are lower where this approach is used. 

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Interactionalism- Douglas/Atkinson


Douglas is critical of the use of official suicide statistics as they are socially constructed and tell us about the activities of the people who construct them. Whether a death comes to be officially labelled as suicide depends on the interactions between social actors such as the coroner, relatives, friends, doctors etc. 

Atkinson says it is impossible to know for sure what meanings the dead gave to their death. He focuses on the taken-for-granted assumptions that coroners make when reaching their verdicts. Ideas of a typical death were important eg modes such as hanging, location and circumstances, and life history. 

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Right Realism- Murray

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Right Realism- Wilson

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Right Realism- Clarke


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Right Realism- Tackling crime


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Left Realism- Lee & Young

They see crime as a real. prblem to be tackled. like marxists they are opposed to the inequality of capitalist society. But instead believe gradulally reform is the best way to acheieve eqaulity. they argue the changes are:
- relative deprivation: how deprived someone feels relative to people around them. eg if someone feels other unfairly have more then they resort to crime.  

- subculture- this is a groups solution to the problem of deprivation, wanting materialistic goals but using illegitimate means to acheive it

- marginsaltion- powerless groups in society eg unemployed youths have no organisations to protect their interests and no clear goals, creating a sense of powerlessness/frustration. pushing them to feel like outsiders, rejecting norms and values creating deviant behaviour

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Left Realism- tackling crime

- the polcie msut become more accountable to the local communities, involving them in deciding policies and priorties

- crime control should involve a multi-agency approach

- police ned to spend more tiem investigating crime, building relations with the public 

the main solution lies in reducing the unequal structure of society eg inequal oppurtuntiy, unfairness of rewardsm discrimination, providing decent jobs, imrpove hosuing and community facilties

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