Sociology - Crime and Deviance - Interactionalism

Interactionalism views on crime and deviance in sociology A2

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Douglas (1967) - There is no single act which can be termed 'suicide'. It has different meanings for different people, eg; a means of transforming oneself for others, a means of achieving fellow feeling or gaining revenge. Statistical comparisons are therefore useless.

Atkinson (1971) -
Suicide is a social construction due to the differences in the coroners' decisions.  

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Ecological Theories

The Chicago School was influenced by 'symbolic interactionism'. These sociologists conducted detailed studies of the slums to examine such life from the perspective of those who were involved within it. 

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Hall (1979) - 'mugging' and deviancy amplification. The media attention on 'mugging' meant that there was a greater police presence and concentration on street crime. This led to more street crime as police approached suspected 'muggers' in military style and caused more violence. Copycat crimes and increased reporting also led to the social construction of statistics surrounding mugging

Lea + Young (1984) - The framework of crime - combines structure with meaning. The interplay between the offender, the victim, the public and the state is examined. 

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Moral Panics

Cohen (1972) - Folk Devils and Moral Panics - a study of the development of the 'mods' and 'rockers'. Media coverage defined the groups and emphasized the violence when there was little other news available. 
'Deviancy amplification', 'self fulfilling prophecy' and the 'amplification spiral' are terms to use when explaining these ideas. 

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 Clemente and Kleinman (1977) - The myth of women as victims - Women's fears of crimes are exaggerated, which leads to women not venturing out at night and therefore crime becoming much easier to commit with less people on the streets to witness it. 
"fear of crime has become a problem as serious as crime itself."  

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'Stop and search' figures are a social construction as suspects in the street are treated differently according to their colour. It used to be the case that a black person was more likely to be 'stopped and searched', but this has dramatically decreased since the Mcphearson report - the inquiry into the work of the police following the death of Stephen Lawrence. 

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