Crime and Deviance

Q and A of AQA

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  • Created by: Raj
  • Created on: 10-06-09 19:49

exam q's

Identify and briefly explain one advantage and one disadvantage of using overt

rather than participant observation to study crime and Deviance?

Advantages

· Researcher does not have to pretend to be .one of the gang.: this may be difficult as the researchermay lack the specialist knowledge/skills needed to play the role convincingly.

· More ethical: researcher is not compromised by having to participate in deviant or illegal acts, or by deceiving those being studied.

· Less risk of going native: by being less involved, researcher can avoid becoming over-sympathetic to deviant behaviour and producing a romanticised account of wrongdoing.

· Easier to get out at end of research: deviant groups may expect a high degree of commitment from members and may prevent them leaving, but the overt researcher was never a member and so can leave with less difficulty than a covert member.


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exam q's

Identify and briefly explain two ways in which knowledge of one of the following areas may help us to understand crime and deviance: families and households;health; mass media;education; wealth, poverty and welfare; work and leisure; power and politics;

Two marks for each of two appropriate ways identified from one area, such as:

· matrifocal families may fail to socialise boys appropriately, resulting in delinquency

· domestic violence

· mass media may produce .copy-cat. deviant behaviour in audiences

· teachers. negative labelling of pupils as deviant

· educational failure as a cause of crime

· religious movements may reject mainstream norms and values

· internationalisation of crime.


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Disadvantages

· More difficult to gain access to deviant groups: because they are likely to be secretive and

· suspicious/untrusting of .respectable. outsiders such as sociologists.

· Researcher cannot become fully part of the deviant group: eg can.t participate in illegal activities, so can.t truly see things from their .underdog. perspective or obtain such a valid account.

· Group is more likely to conceal information: eg because members fear the negative consequences of exposure.

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Identify and briefly explain two problems of using

Two marks for each of two appropriate problems identified, such as:

· They may lack detail about the deceased that the sociologist considers important;

· Not all instances of suicide may have been recorded;

· Incorrect categorisation of cases;

· Suicide statistics are a social construct;

· The official definition of suicide may differ from that of the sociologist;

· Some states may not have collected suicide statistics.


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Identify and briefly explain two criticisms made o

Two marks for each of two appropriate criticisms, such as:

· It ignores non-utilitarian crime;

· It ignores collective deviance;

· It ignores law-making;

· It wrongly assumes value consensus;

· It takes official statistics for granted;

· It ignores actors. capacity to choose.

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Two further marks for each of these satisfactorily explained, such as:

· Matrifocal families may fail to socialise boys appropriately, resulting in delinquency. In the absence of a father, boys lack a normative role model and turn instead to deviant ones.

· Mass media representations of deviance may produce .copy-cat. behaviour in audiences, eg by rewarding such behaviour or by repeated exposure/drip effect producing its normalisation.

· Teachers. negative labelling of pupils as deviant may produce a self-fulfilling prophecy in which pupils. behaviour becomes increasingly deviant, eg through disruption in class, truancy etc.

· Religious movements may reject mainstream norms and values and require their members to behave in ways that wider society regards as deviant or illegal, eg practising polygamy.

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Identify and briefly explain one advantage and one

Advantages:

· gives insight into motivations and causes of crime;

· provides a corrective to, or more valid picture than, official statistics.

Disadvantages:

· respondents lying about offences committed;

· not all offences are included in the questions;

· correctives to official crime statistics may not be generalisable.

Two further marks for each of these satisfactorily explained, such as:


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Advantages:

· Gives insight into motivations and causes of crime: self-report studies allow researchers to ask questions about motives for and attitudes to offending as well as about the offences themselves.

Disadvantages:

· Respondents lying about offences committed: eg some may exaggerate the number of offences committed so as to look .tough.; others may conceal out of shame etc.

· Not all offences are included in the questions: researchers decide what to include, and in so doing limit the number of offences the respondent can report.

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Two further marks for each of these satisfactorily explained, such as:

· They may lack detail about the deceased that the sociologist considers important: eg Durkheim found that some French suicide statistics did not record the religion of the deceased, which was of importance to his hypothesis about the causes of suicide;

· Not all instances of suicide may have been recorded: eg an attempted suicide may not come to the attention of officials because the individual survives without official intervention. Other suicides may never be discovered because the body is not found;

· Incorrect categorisation of cases: eg a coroner may categorise a suicide as misadventure to spare the feelings of relatives;

· Suicide statistics are a social construct: they do not represent objective reality or the real rate of suicide, but merely the number of deaths labelled as such by social actors.

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Two further marks for each of these satisfactorily explained, such as:

· It ignores non-utilitarian crime: because it sees crime as motivated only by the desire for money success, it fails to explain crimes such as vandalism, violence etc;

· It ignores collective deviance: it fails to see that some deviance is the product of subcultural norms and values, not just individuals striving to achieve societal goals;

· It ignores law-making: by focusing simply on who breaks the law, it fails to consider who makes the law and who benefits from it.

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