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  • Created on: 12-05-14 16:41

Crime and Deviance


Crime - Activities that break the law and are subject to punishment by law Delinquency - Criminal and or anti-social act that are committed by young proplr Deviance - Culturally determined and varies from society to society


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Social Construction of Deviance


Deviance is a relative concept! Becker (1963) - "Societies create deviants by making rules that lead to their infraction ----Each society or culture creates rules of behaviour which its members are then governed by. ---- Deviance is not a quality of what people do, it is about how people react.

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Culpable and non-culpable deviance


Culpable Deviance- acts which the individual can be held personally accountable Non-culpable Deviance - Acts which the individual is not held personally responsible Hagan - three main ways to measure the seriousness of deviant behaviour: 1) the degree of agreement for the wrongness of act 2) Evaluation of harm inflicted by act 3) degree of severity of the social response


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Agencies of social control


Family - Primary socialisation - individual learns basic values and norms of society School - Sanctions in school Peer group - A sense of identity - approval of others - peer pressure/young people


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Agencies of social control continued


The workplace - Work related norms Mass Media -Social control through norm setting/encourage conformist behaviour Religion - Reinforces values/norms of society - rewards in heaven for good behaviour


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Approaches to crime


Marxist inspired - Durkheim (1895) Left realists - Merton (1938) - Strain Theory - Social inequalities Right Realists - Becker (1963) - Labelling Theory - Individual characteristics


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Social distribution of crime


Who commits crime in britain? What types of crime is committed? Knowledge about crimes is based up these two forms of information: Official statistics - collected by police - published by govt Victimisation studies - social survey of people - british crime survey most authoritive - has been carried out by home office

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Crime statistics


What do we need to know: how much crime is committed? - What crimes are committed? - Is crime on the increase? - How many criminals? - How many victims? Why are crime statistics useful? basic planning and spending historical records research and comparative studies

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British crime survey

records all crime told by adult victims - ignores crimes against children, corporate victims and murder Why a crime may not be recorded insufficient evidence little or no chance of detection/prosecutions victim withdraws complaint complaints not deliberately recorded Hale (2005)

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Self report studies


This method is often used to test an hypothesis about the reason for crime rather than how much criminality is committed. Record levels of criminal statistics above official figures - so useful in assessing dark figures


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What do statistics tell us?

  • Geographical nature of criminality - more/less opportunities Class based crime - crimes highly visible in poverty and unemployment Women under represented - female crimes less visible Young people over represented - lifestyle/petty crime - labelling/ peer pressure Minority ethnic groups over represented - do they commit more crime? is criminal justice system biased?

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