Crime and Deviance


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  • Created by: jac
  • Created on: 06-11-12 14:16



An act which breaks the laws of scoiety and leadsd to social control beign enforced


Behaviour moving away from the conventional norms and values of society

Deviant Behaviour is not always Crininal


Criminal Behaviour is not always Deviant

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Biological Explanations
Ceasre Lombroso  Tried tof ind physical characteristics/explanations for crime such as sloping forheads and long arms
However scoiologists criticies theory of born bad as deterministic.
Prefer to normalise crime - we all commit it and social factors influence our behaviour

Crime as SociallyConstructed
If what we see is criminal/deviant changes it can't inherently be wrong but culturally specific, defined by certain society and not universal

Crime and Deviance as Relative

It changes due to time and place and culture. On society may not see whatsome do as crime ie polygamy, homosexuality, sucuide etc.

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Emile Durkheim

- Certain amout is positive
- Innovationoccurs if idea challenged, therefore crime needed for change
- Helps clarify boundaries of behaviour
- Creates social cohesion done by agencies of social control

#2 crime and deviance is dysfunctional
- threat to society, norms and values and value consensus and social stability

Result of Anomie (normalessness) - which beleived would occur during times of great social change (revolution) when society unsure of norms and values

Soical order result over consensus of norms and values due to institutions succefully implementing social controlmongst individuals

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Robert Metrton Strain Theory

  • American sopciety socialises indivduals to meet shared goals - "American Dream" - meant to be able to be achieved through ahrd work and effort
  • However capatalsit socities suffer from ANOMIE - a strain conflcit between goals set by society and legitimate means of reaching them
                      -  Due to the class structure being blocked
                      -  found five responses to anomie - INOVATION most important/significant
  • Innovation used to explain material crimes maongst the working class -reject approaved means and turn to illegal ones to obtain desires

- It is a difficult term to operationalise by amount of crime.

-Merton dosen't explain where goals and means initially come from

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Five reactions to Anomie

Conformity: Conform to success goals and to normative means of achievement.

Innovation (Deviant): Merton argues that lower levels of society will tend to select this route as they have little access to conventional and legitimate means for becoming successful. Despite the fact that they have abandoned institutionalised means that still retain success aspirations.

Ritualism: Lower Middle-class, Strictly follow rules, Have given up on striving for success,  Deviant because they reject success goals held by society.

4.Retreatism: Abandon goals/strive for success - They are defeated and resign to failure
 Deviant due to rejection of cultural goals and instituionalised  means. 

5. Rebellion : Those who adopt rebellion wish to create a new society with new goals and means.

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Emile Durkheim Weaknesses

  • Not clear whe right amound is
  • It beign beneficial is questionable due toa ffevt on victim
  • deterministic as a structural macro theory
  • dosen't explain why people commit crime
  • Dosent reconsider its the ruling class who ar eimposing these calues into society
  • assumes norms and values reflect wishes of population

Durkheim generate a karge dealm of subsequnt research which influenced other sociological theories and suggetss he is a major contributor to the study of Crime and Deviance

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When a group of people reject mainstream socities norms and values. It adapts and distorts those values in order to defy scoiety. Groups develop oppositional subculture as a colelctive response to the problems which they experience.

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Why do People join Gangs?

Conformity to peers


Status Frustration (m,erton)


No male role model


Deprived areas lacking Social Solidarity

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David Downes Deliquent Solution (1996)

  • Studies youths in East London
  • Found youths participated in subcultures for fun due to boredom
  • lack of adult responsibilities
  • at times brought them in conflict with law
  • downs sympathetic of amrixist ideologies however was a functionalist
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Khadija Elahi

Your spelling are abit mistakened 

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