Crime and Deviance Theme 11 - Social Class, Age and Crime

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Social Class and Crime

MARXISM:

  • The working class are no more criminals than anyone else, however, the law protects the Bourgeoisie so the working class become easier to criminalise 
  • The working class get harsher punishments compared with those who commit white collar crime                                                                                                                                                                           

WHITE COLLAR CRIME

  • White collar crime is difficult to prosecute due to who is considered responsible and who is considered the victim
  • Only serious cases go to court
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Relationship between Social Class and Crime

CONSENSUS THEORY:

  • Lack of social control in working class areas
  • Lack of male role models - Father Deficit
  • Poor socialisation                                                                                                                                                                                      

LABELLING THEORY:

  • The working class are labelled as the offender as they fit the stereotype of a criminal
  • Leads to a self-fulling prophecy or even worse, master status                                                                                                                                                                                      

LEFT REALISM:

  • The working class and the underclass are marginalised from society so they turn to crime
  • Most crime is committed by working class people against working class people - because of relative deprivation, individualism and the fact that we live in a bulimic society (we're exposed to consumer products but cannot consume them)
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Relationship between Social Class and Crime 2

RIGHT REALISM:

  • Single parent families fail to socialise their children effectively due to a lack of male role model and they also grow up to be welfare dependent                                                                                                                                                       

NEO-MARXISM:

  • The working class are marginalised from society and are labelled as folk devils to create moral panics
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Age and Crime

KEY FACTS:

  • The peak rate for offendin is 17, the average age of someone in prison is 27
  • The young, working class are more likely to commit criminal acts than the older, middle class
  • A typical prisoner in the UK will be under 30 and working class
  • Offedning rises steeply from 10-18 and then declines after 24                                                                                                                                                                                      

CONSENSUS THEORY:

  • Functionalism - Merton argues that young, working class people commit crime because they strive for success but lack the necessary educational skills to achieve their goals, so they turn to crime
  • Subcultural theory - young, working class people join gangs because they are frustrated at their status/position in society. They deal with this frustration by rejecting society's norms and values and conforming to their own deviant norms and values                                                                                                   

LABELLING THEORY:

  • Young, working class boys are more likely to be stopped and searched and labelled as criminals by the police and courts 
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