Sociology G673 - Topic 2

Cue cards for Topic 2 of sociology

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  • Created on: 18-01-12 12:16

Gender differences

Carlen 1988 - Women are encouraged to conform to:
- The class deal: The material rewards that arise from working in paid employment, enabling women to purchase things like consumer goods and enjoy a respectable life and home.
- The gender deal: The rewards that arise from fulfilling their roles in the family and home, with material and emotional support from a male breadwinner.

Heidensohn - Patriarchal society imposes greater control over women, reducing opportunities to offend. This patriarchal control operates in:
- The home: Responsibilities for domestic labour and childcare provide less opportunity for crime and women face more serious consequences if they do become involved. Teenage girls are more closely supervised by their parents than boys, reducing their chances of getting into trouble.
- The public: Women are faced with controls arising from fear of physical or sexual violence if they go out alone at night. Women also face threat of losing their reputation of being 'respectable' if they engage in deviance, for example through gossip, the application of labels like '****' or 'slapper' from men etc.
The workplace: Women are often subject to sexual harassment and supervision by male bosses which restricts their opportunities to deviate. Plus, womens subordinate position prevents women from rising to senior positions where there is greater opportunity to commit fraud etc.

They put pressure on women to conform because of their greater risks of losing more than they might gain by law breaking.

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Gender differences

Chivalry thesis - Women are constantly treated more leniently by the law. Female offenders are generally regarded by the police as less serious threat than men and are therefore more likely to benefit from informal approaches to their offences, such as cautious warning rather than being charged. 

Evidence against the chivalry thesis:
- Although women are less likely to commit serious offences than men, those who do are likely to face more severe punishment, particularly for violent crime, as it violates acceptable feminine behaviour.
- Women offenders are more likely to be remanded in custody than men while awaiting trial for serious offences, but in 3/4 of cases women do not actually receive a prison sentence when  they come to trial.

Carlen (1977) Double deviance - Sentences handed out to women are partly influenced by the assessment of their characteristics and performance in relation to their traditional roles as wife and mother, rather than simply the severity of the offence.

Adler (1975) - Women in contemporary Britain have more independence than those in the past, and they are becoming more successful than men in both education and the labour market.

Denscombe (2000) - There has been a rise in 'laddette' culture, where young women are adopting behaviour traditionally associated with young men, as they assert their identity through binge drinking, gang culture, risk taking, being hard and in control and peer related violence etc.

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Gender differences

Connell (187, 1995) - There is a hegemonic masculinity (a male gender identity that defines what is means to be a 'real man'; men who do not want to be regarded as wimps, abnormal or odd are meant to accomplish this masculinity). It features things like toughness, aggression, competitiveness, control, success and power over women.

Messerschmitt (1993) - Men sometimes turn to crime and violence as a means of asserting their masculinity when legitimate and traditional means of demonstrating masculinity and being 'real men' is blocked. Those lacking legitimate masculinity - validating resources are more likely to be those from more deprived backgrounds. The nature of hegemonic masculinity might also explain why middle-class men try to assert masculinity through ruthlessness, ambition and thrill-seeking in businesses, leading to white-collar crime and corporate crimes. The nature of hegemonic masculinity might also explain why men from all social classes commit violence and ****.

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Ethnic differences

Hall et al (1978) Policing the crisis - Examined the moral panic over 'mugging' in the 1970's using Marxist insights. Selective and stereotypical reporting represented young black men as potential muggers and given the role of folk devils. It explained the moral panic in terms of a crisis of British capitalism; the state deflected attention on to a small group who could be scapegoated and on whom the state could be portrayed as cracking down firmly, using new representative policing which would be useful in tacking future unrest. Young blacks were suitable for this role because of their visibility and powerlessness in the sense of lacking organisations to speak on their behalf.

Gilroy (Neo-Marxist) - Agrees that young blacks are targeted by the media and the police, but argue that black crime is different in that it is a conscious continuation, in a new context, of anti-colonial struggles in the West Indies. It is therefore political and potentially revolutionary, a political response to inequality and discrimination. Rastafarianism is not just a religion, but contains a set of revolutionary political ideas about overthrowing white authority, and tends to bring its followers into confrontation with the police, over marijuana use.

MacPherson report (1999) - Followed the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence and found institutional racism within the police force. Lord MacPherson concluded that the police were characterised by institutional racism. By this he meant the police have 'procedures, practices and a culture that tend to exclude or disadvantage non-white people'. The key point about institutional racism is that it is not necessarily intended by any particular person in the organisation but that normal day to day activities of the organisation are based upon racist ideas and practices.

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Ethnic differences

Reiner (1992) Canteen culture - Argues that police officers have developed distinctive working values as the result of their job. They develop a culture in response which helps them to deal with the pressures of their job and gives them a sense of identity. The core characteristics include a thirst for action, cynicism, conservatism, suspicion, isolation from the public, macho values and racism.

Bowling and Philops (2002) - Higher levels of robbery among black people could be the product of labelling that arises from  the use of regular stop and search procedures, which in turn leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sharp and Budd (2005) - Black offenders were most likely to have contact with criminal justice system in their lifetime and were more likely to have been arrested, been to court and convinced. This is despite their lower levels of offending compared to white people generally and white youths in particular. Black and Asian offenders are more likely to be charged rather than cautioned, remanded rather than bailed, given prison sentences rather than probation/community punishment compared to white people. This suggests they are treated unfairly by the criminal justice system.

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Ethnic differences

Lea and Young (1984) - High levels of crime really do exist in inner city areas where there are often high numbers of members of ethnic minorities, and draw attention to the fact that those who live here are the main victims of crime as well.

  • Relative deprivation - Refers to the gap between the expectations people have, and the reality of what they can obtain. Afro-Carribean's often find their paths to status and economic success blocked by discrimination. Crime can thus arise from the experiences of particular groups even if living standards in general are rising.
  • Marginalisation - These groups lack both clear goals and organisations to represent their interests. Groups such as workers have clear goals and organisations to put pressure on employers and politicians. As such, they have no need to resort to violence to achieve their goals. By contrast, unemployed youth are marginalised; they have no organisation to represent them and no clear goals, just a sent of resentment and frustration. Being powerless to use political means to improve their position, they express their frustration through criminal means such as violence and rioting.
  • Subculture - These arise in response to such problems; they are not completely separate from wider society since they share, for example, a high value placed on material wealth. In these ways crime is related to the economic structure of society.
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Age differences

Cohen (1971) Status frustration - Young people are fustrated at being caught between the transition between child and adult status, they lack independent status within society. The lack of responsibilities and status, and the search for excitemnet and peer-group status mean that many young people drift into minor acts of delinquency. Peer-group pressure may also five young people the confidence and encouragement to involve themselves in minor acts of deliquency which they would not engage in on their own. This problem of status fustration affects all young people, and explains why many of them, from all social classes, occasionally get involved in deliqeunt and deviant activity. However it is a problem suffered mostly by working class youths.

Miller (1962) Peer group status and working class subcultures - Lower working class young males are more likely to engage in delinquency because their subculture has a number of focal concerns, which carry with the risk of law breaking. The six focal concerns are; fatalism, autonomy, toughness, excitement, smartness and trouble. These focal concerns are shared by many working class males of all ages, but they are likely to become exaggerated in the lives of young people as they seek to achieve peer-group status by, for example, demonstrating how much tougher and masculine they are to get into fights than their peers.

Katz (1988) - Suggest that much youthful criminal activity is motivated by what is called 'edgework' rather than material gain. The pleasure of thrill-seeking and risk-taking, and the 'buzz' generated by the excitement involved in living on the edge in acts like shoplifting etc. is gratifying seductive adventure, and more important than any worry about the risk or being caught or need for items stolen.

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Age differences

Matza (1964) - Status fustration weakens young peoples sense of identity. This, in combination with the weakened bonds of control, means that young people lack a sense of identity and direction. In this period of drift the peer group can provide us a sense of identity, excitement and status, which makes young people vulnerable to criminal acts.

5 techniques of neutralisation

  • Denial of responsibility: Claiming the circumstances were unusual e.g. being drunk or on drugs
  • Denial of injury to the victim: e.g. in cases of vandalism of rich people's property, for which insurance will pay
  • Denial of victim: e.g. after beating up a bully in order that he will stop bullying others
  • Condemnation of condemners: e.g. claiming that people who condemn their behaviour had no right to do so, as they were being unfair or were just as bad or corrupt themselves
  • Appeal to higher loyalties: e.g. saying that they were only fighting because they had to stop their brother being bullied
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Location differences

Shaw & McKay - Certain parts of cities have higher levels of crime than others, these are zones of transition. These are run-down areas, with poor deteriorating housing, where the poorest people live, and where there is a high turnover of population. There is therefore little social stability, and a concentration of social problems like crime, prostitution, poor health and poverty.

  • Social disorganisation - The high rates of population turnover prevented the formation of stable communities, and weakened the hold of established values and informal social controls over individuals, which is more stable and established communities discourage deviance and crime.
  • Cultural transmission - In areas of social disorganisation, different delinquent values develop top which children living in such conditions are exposed. These delinquent values are passed from one generation to the next.
  • Differential association - If people associate with others who more commonly support crime over conformity and live in a situation where it seems that everyone is involved in deviant or criminal behaviour, then they are more likely to commit crime themselves.

- It is unclear of how subcultures form and cultural transmission is possible. Zones of transition are so socially disorganised with constantly changing populations, then it is hard to see how a delinquent subculture develops, and is able to pass its ideas on between generations, as there must be at least some continuity and stability for this to be possible.

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Location differences

Marshall & Johnson - Rural areas are more 'close knit', with higher levels of social interaction between people in the area, including kin relations. People are more likely to know other members of the community through informal knowledge of their family and community history, rather than through their formal positions e.g. their job.

Brantingham & Brantingham - Urban areas have more crime generating and crime attaching areas than rural areas that offer more opportunities for crime, and attract offenders who go there in search of crime.

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Social class differences

Merton (1968) - Those living in deprived communities have fewer opportunities to achieve the goals they aspire to. These circumstances push people to 'innovate' and find alternative means to reach success of their goals, such as crime.

Cohen - The status fustration that all young people experience is particularly accentuated amongst working class youths.

Miller - The focal concerns of working class subcultures often carry with them risks of brushing with the law.

Cloward & Ohlin (1960) - In some working class neighbourhoods, legitimate opportunities for achieving success are blocked, criminal subcultures may develop.

Sutherland (1949) - Defined white collar crime as "crime committed by the more affluent in society, who abused their positions within their middle class occupations for criminal activity for person benefit" and tried to show that crime was not simply a working class phenomenon, but widespread throughout all classes.

Katz (1988) - Please, thrill-seeking and risk-taking may be motivations for crime than simply material gain.

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Social class differences

Gross (1978) - Studied a range of individuals who had been successful in large companies and found that they shared similar personality traits. They tended to be ambitious, to see their own success and had an 'undemanding moral code'. The more successful they were, the lesser their sense of obligation to conform to wider social obligations. They accepted that personal and company success were more important than legal constraints.

Box - Argues that if an organisation is unable to achieve its goals using socially approved methods, then it may turn to illegal methods of achieving its goal of maximising profit. He suggests there are a number of potential obstacles which organisations may have to overcome to achieve their goals. These include:

  • The government - Who impost laws to regulate production and commerce, e.g. on insider trading in investments, or pollution as a result of productive practices in manufacturing.
  • Employees - May not wish to work as hard or to perform the sorts of tasks the organisation wants.
  • Consumers - May not wish to purchase certain products if they knew the full facts concerning their production or may not be willing to pay the additional costs to make the product of good quality and safe.
  • Public - Pressure groups which may want to influence consumers and the government to change or enforce legislation. The proposed regulations might harm the profits of the companies.
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Social class differences

Braitewaite (1984) - Argued that corporate crime could be seen as 'an illegitimate means of achieving any one of a wider range of organisational personal goals when legitimate means are blocked'. He found in his study of the pharmaceutical industry that scientists were willing to fabricate their results in order to have their products adopted by their companies. The motivation for this was often not solely financial greed, but as often as not the desire for scientific prestige.

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