Sociology OCR Crime and Deviance

Set of cards for topics 1-5 of sociology A2 Crime and Deviance :) Enjoy :)

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Key concepts

Crime: Activities that break the law, and are potentially subject to punishment. Not all criminals are caught, and not all laws areas strictly enforced, so there is room for interpretation as to whether or not a law has been broken.

Deviance: Behaviour that does not follow the norms and expectations expected of a particular group, which can be seen as postive, but criminology tends to focus on the negative.

Social Constructionism: sociological theory that considers how social phenomena of consciousness develops in social contexts.

Social control: Crimnal behaviour is controlled and reduced in society by both formal (police, prisons-arrest/fines) and informal (family, peers-criticism) mechanisms of social control.

Delinquency: antisocial/criminal acts committed by young people

Interactionist Approach: According to the values which are chosen, part of a complex interaction between different groups in society

Conflict Approach: values of society are largely dominated by a particular group (Marxists)

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(1) Official Statistics

-Stats made from Police records, published every 6 months by Home Office

-Collected since 1857, so great overview of trends in crime

-Social constructions, cannot be taken at face value because only show crimes reported to the police

-British Crime Survey (1988) found less likely to report a crime if:

1. Too trivial

2. Private matter, so will seek revenge or want no harm to come to the offender

3. Too embarassing (male ****)

-Other reasons could include not being able to give details (child abuse), or if they fear the reprisals of their actions

-People are more likely to report crimes if theres a benefit to them (insurance claim) or believer there will be a positive result from what they have done

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(2) Official Statistics

-British Crime Survey (BCS) intro in 1982, influenced by USA one in 1972

-Since 2000 carried out every year, large sample size of 40,000 people, ask what crime has been committed to them

-Problems with crime recording and police are avoided so more valid

-Sampling technique based on all households in England & Wales, and then anyone over 16 living in these homes, address selected by the Postcode Address File

-Interviews last around 50 minutes, put answers into laptops about what crimes

-Maguire (2002) argues BCS no better/worse than OCS, just an alternative way of looking at crime that fills in the gaps of some OCS problems

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(3) Official Statistics

-Police filter out infor given to them by the public based on different factors:

1. Seriousness: regard the offence too trivial

2. Social status: May view the person reporting the crime with too low a status to count

3. Classifying: Have to choose what catergory a crime fits, often related to seriousness so down to the police officers opinion

4. Demeanour: Only about 10% of offences are uncovered by the police, however demanour of the person can be more/less likely to get them arrested

5. Promotion: Police concerned about career/promotion, but need to get on with fellow officers by not creating too much work for them

-What crimes are meant to be recorded can change as laws do, so for example police weren't required to record all common assaults until 1989, and then crime could appear to be rising

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(4) Official Statistics

Strengths of the OCS:

1. Very cheap and easy to access, usually contemporary and done in a standerdized fashion

2. Can be checked and verified easily, so highly reliable

3. Few ethical problems, and does not put the sociologist in danger

4. Can compare groups, OCS covers the UK population, look at different social factors

Weaknesses of the OCS:

1. Open to political abuse (may be mainpulated or massaged for politcal advantage)

2. May not present a complete picture (does not have socio-economic background of individuals)

3. Tell us little about the human stories that underpin them like victim surveys do

4. Socially-constructed (end result of collecting a certain set of acitivites)

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(1) Victim Survey

-Another method is victim surveys, ask a sample of the population what offences have been committed on them over a period of time, championed by feminists/left realists

-The BCS is a typical cross-sectional, which means it may contain errors and hold have information about certain places

-Led to a number of location-specific ones using more interpretivst methods, most famous of these being the Islington Crime Survey (1986) and Harper et al (1986)

-These showed that BCS under-reported victimisation of ethnic groups and domestic violence

-Much of the Victim Surveys depends on what the victim percieves as a crime

-Jock Young (1988) questioned the validity of Victim Surveys as people will have different interpretations of crime, and may not what to reveal as much as others

-He maintains they have a place in criminology, but do not give a full picture of crime

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(2) Victim Survey


1. Uses a large sample size and has a large response rate (only in BCS!!!)

2. Provides richer/more qualatitive data about the experience of being a victim

3. Interviewer builds a rapport/make sure they have the same meaning/central issues focus

4. Gives an excellent picture of extents/patterns of victimisation, makes up for OCS missed crime


1. Based on people's recollections, which can be faulty/biased

2. Omit a range of crimes people are unaware of (corporate), under-report sexual offences

3. Small sample size and cannot be replicated, so reliability is low

4. Data can be difficult to anayle/categorise due to sheer volume of respondents info

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(1) Self-report Studies

-Asks a cross-section of society what offences they have committed, reveal a lot about the offenders that are not caught by the police

-Possible to find out different social factors (age, class) and victimless crimes (drugs)

-Box (1981) used 40 self-report studies from diffent countries to reject the impression of the OCS that WC youth more likely than MC youth to commit crime, MC youth just less likely to get caught

-Graham & Bowling (1995) found that social class had no influence on whether young British males/females would admit to offences, only WC admitted to more serious ones

-Gold (1966) checked his own self-report study sample and found that 72% of the respondents told the truth

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(2) Self-report studies


1. Self-report Studies are the most simple/inexepensive method of measuring adherence

2. Quick and easy to administer, avoids sophisticated methodology/equipment

3. Self-report Studies which are validated can be used in clinical settings

4. Self-reporting can gather social factors about the offenders


1. Low represenativeness, mostly young people as easy, not professional criminals

2. Problem of revelance, most crimes uncovered are trival due to target group (young people)

3. Junger-Tas (1989): response will slide depending on how much CJS has been in their lives

4. Marsh (1986): people will over-report (look tough/forget) or under-report (afraid of police)

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Data Explosion and the Risk Society

-Maguire (2002): Since the 1970s info has been gathered on wider aspects of crime:

1. Unreported/unrecorded offences through the BCS

2. Subcategories of crime, literally hunderds of different crime categories

3. Hidden crime: domestic violence, corporate crime, sexual offences

4. Victim perspectives via Victimisation Surveys

-Garland (2001): During modernity people believed crime was under control, but now there is more fear and uncertanity, which led to two things:

1. Risk management: Governments gathering stats on data so it can better asses/manage the risk of different crimes

2. Responsibilization: Part of Risk management, push responsibility for avoiding becoming victims of crime back onto individuals, and stats are part of the process of informing people how to avoid being a victim of crime

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Fear of Crime

-Stats show fear of crime is rising

-Public assessment consistently overestimates amount of crime in Britain, people believe rate is going up faster than possible and many people who never will believe they will be a victim of crime

-Stark difference between level/fear of crime is attributed to the media, particuarly tabloid newspapers using alarmist headlines to shock the readers

-Home Office Statistical Bulletin (2003): Found those who read tabloid newspapers were twice as likely to fear crime as those who read broadsheets or didn't read at all

-Fletcher & Allen (2003) identify several factors which affect fear of crime:

1. Locality

2. Health/age

3. Whether or not a person has previously been affected by a crime

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Gender statistics

-Males comprise 51% and women 49% of the current England & Wales population

-Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 requires government to assess if there is gender discrimination within the CJS.

-Fewer than 1/5 of the arrests recorded by the police between 2006-2010/11 involved females

-Women account for 5% of the prison population between 2007-2011

-These states were taken from the Ministry of Justice Report (2012)

-However, important to remeber with these stats:

1. Differences may relate to various factors, including type of offences/pleas entered

2. Where gender is not known it is not recorded, and this then could comprise the validity

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(1) Gender Crime

-Smart (1976) puts foward reasons why women are typically neglected in criminology:

1. Tend to commit less crimes then men, and usually less trivial in nature

2. Sociology/Criminology dominated by men

3. Criminology:controlling behavior, and  women do not misbehave as often so are not an issue

-Pollak (1950) OCS underestimate female crime as many crimes go unreported/uncrecorded like prositution/shoplifting, women's domestic roles allow them to get away with child abuse, and there are two reasons as to why it is like this:

1. CJS is made up of men, and so are usually leninet to female offenders

2. Women can hide crimes because they are used to decieving men by faking ******/pain

-Heidensohn (1985) argues Pollak works from a stereotypical view of women, and than men do commit as much crime in certain cases, and are more likely to commit violent, sexual crime as well as the domestic roles of women are decreasing, even when Otto was writing

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(2) Gender Crime

-Pollak's work led to the Chivarly Thesis: that women are treated more lenietly for crimes because men are socialized to be protective and chivalrous towards them

-Graham & Bowling (1995): conducted a self report study of 12-25 year olds, and found that 55% of males and only 35% of females admitted to a crime in the last 12 months

-This suggests women do commit more crime than men, but the difference is not as great as depicted in the OCS

-Buckle & Farrington (1984): direct observational study of shoplifting found that men were twice as likely to shoplift as women, even though the OCS says as many men as women shoplifted, implies if women are treated more leniently it is because their crimes are less serious.

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(3) Gender Crime

Double standards:

-Heidesohn (1985): argues CJS influenced by attitudes on gender in society, those women who deviate from gender norms are more likely to be punished

-Carlen (1997): study of Scottish courts that women are more likely to be sentanced based on how good wives/mothers/daughters they are than the seriousness of their crimes

-Stewart (2006): found magistrates perceptions of female defendents character was based on stereotypical gender roles, which influenced the case, and many feminists attribute this to the fact that the CJS is patriarchal

-Smart (1989): found judges making sexist, victim-blaming remarks in **** cases

-Walklate (1998): argues that in **** cases it is not the defendent on trial, but the victim as she has to prove her respectability as women in order for her evidence to be accepted

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(4) Gender Crime


-Moir & Jessel (1997): argues some crime is linked to chemical/hormonal imbalances in Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), particuarly spontaneous violent crime

-D'Orban & Dalton (1980): support Moir & Jessel with their study of 50 women prisoners convicted of violent crime, 44% of which had committed their violent crimes during PMS

-Adler (1975): women's liberation has led to a new type of female criminal who commits more masculine crimes (mugging/murder) as well as a female increased contribution to crime, as women are now occupying illegimate new oppurtunites as well as legitimate

-Heidensohn (2002): British women crime has increased from 1/7 in 1950 to 1/6 in 1999, but argues women who commit are generally poor and have little do with women's liberation.

-Heidensohn (1985): argues women commit less crime in men due to the control patriarchal societies enforce on them, such as time spent on housework leaves them little time to commit crime, don't go to public places because of fear of harassment/being labelled, male superiors at work control them as well as intimidation from various forms of harassment

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(5) Masculinity and Crime

-Messerschmidt (1993): analyses why different groups of males turn to different crimes in order to be masculine:

1. Accomadating Masculinity: White middle-class boys must be subservient to teachers in order to suceed, but outside of school turn to deviant acts like vandalism and excessive drinking

2. Oppositonal Masculinity: less chance of academic success and so construct masculinity around the importance of physical agression, tend to oppose authority figures

3. Lower-class ethnic boys don't expect to hold a steady job/family, use violence to express their masculinity and get involved in serious property crime which offers some material success

-Jefferson (1997): acknowledges the importance of Messerschmidt's work, but argues he assumes all men are the same in how they express their masculinity and doesn't explain how individuals express their masculinity. He has been accused of putting foward stereotypical/negative views of men

-Winlow (2001): conducted an ethnographic study of bouncers in Sutherland (de-industrialized poor area) and found their expression of masculinty through being a "hard man"

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Ethnicity statistics

-Section 95 of the Criminal Law Act 1991 requires the government to assess statistical data to see if ethnicity discrimination exists within the CJS.

-BCS (2009/10): found children in the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) category reported they avoided travelling on buses/using buses all or most of the time (22% and 30%) than the white group (14% to 22%).

-Ministry of Justice Report (2011):

1. Decrease in racist incidents by 18% in England & Wales over 5-year period (2006-2011)

2. Decrease of 26% in the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences across England & Wales over the last 5 years (2006-2011)

3. However, differences can also relate to the type of offence committed/plea given/if they can find someone to represent their case

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(1) Ethnicity Crime

-Croall (1988): argues that associating criminality with different racial groups started in the 19th century, with the Irish seen as part of the "dangerous classes"

-Phillips & Bowling (2002): argue issue has returned as to whether the black prison population is really because of there are many criminals in that group or the discrimanatory nature of the CJS, they argue that British-asians were seen as well regulated until recently in 2001 with the Burnely and Bradford riots, and the media's creation of that "dangerous gang"

-Gilroy (1983): argues that black criminality is a myth, British-asians and African-carribeans originate from colonies of the British Empire, and their struggle against these groups involved using riots and demonstrations unjustly reprsented resistance to a society that treated them unjustly, myth of black criminality has been created as a reult of police prejudice

-Lea & Young (1984): attacks Gilroy for suggesting that a disproportionate number of black males convicted by the police is police racism, arguing that most crimes are reported to the police not uncovered, and may 1st-generation immigrants were highly law-abiding, which makes it difficult to see how their "anti-colonnial traditon" could of been passed on,they argue there really has been an increase of crime with ethnic minorities, and this is largely the result of relative deprivation, marginlisation and the formation of subcultures.

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(2) Ethnicity Crime

-Hall et al (1979) argues there was a moral panic over mugging which was often associated with black youth, although at the time mugging was not new or increasing, and the moral panic could only be understood in the context of the 1970s, as economic problems and industrial/social unrest meant the hegemony (ideological domination) of the ruling class was under threat, and mugging was presented as the key reason why law/order was breaking down in order to control the crisis.

-This moral panic helped in two ways:

1. Public was persuaded the problem was caused by "immigrants" rather than the faults of the capitalist system

2. Government able to justify force against groups that challenged them

-Societal reaction led to many young black people being labelled as deviant, and as labelling helps to produce the figures of the OCS, further police measures were justified

-Downes & Rock (1988) argue that this study is contradictory, arguing black crime won't rise while at the same time arguing it was bound to rise because of employment

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(3) Ethnicity

-The MacPherson Inquiry (1999): looked into the murder of the african-carribean boy Stephen Lawrence's murder and the failure of the police to bring the killer to justice, found the metropoliton police to be instutionally racist

-The Scarman Report (1981): explains that the racism in the police force of the time is the reflections of the wider opinions of society, some people are racist but the majority are not-not insitutional racism, just the way it is (disproved by the above study)

-Reiner (2000): found police have a "canteen culture", a culture of their own created to deal with the pressures of work, involves having macho values and mistrust as well as encouraging racist stereotyping and not trusting those from a white background

-Waddington et al (2004): found police do stop a proportionately high number of minorities to whites, but it is not racism-just that there are more ethnic minority young men out in inner city centres at night

-Home Office (2006): studied 16 police areas, black offenders were more likely to be given a custodial sentence than white offenders, but less likely found guilty of offences in Crown Court

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(4) Ethnicity

-Mawby & Batta (1980): found most asian in Bradford were poor and living in inner city areas, however they committed few crimes because of being afraid of going agianst the Izaat (family honour), which encouraged conformism

-Desai (1999): young asian men started to take a more aggresive stance in combating racist attacks, some Bangledeshi boys counteracting their image as weak and passive

-Alexander (2000): argues that the media image of the growing asian gang is a myth, as although there was some violence in South London, it was greatly exaggerated

-Clancey et al (2001): argue that much of the difference in victimisation can be explained in terms of social factors such as unemployment and age

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(1) Class Crime

-White collar crime: Middle-class members of the business world, invisble and complex

-Blue collar crime: Working-class members in society, often visible and more likely to be punished.

-Sutherland (1949): first used the term "white-collar crime", and he challenged the assumption that crime was a working class phenomenon, however his definiton is unhelpful in that it does not distinguish between crimes committed by a corporation (corporate crime)

-Mars (1982): found minor theft was a legtitimate part of the job in a wide range of occupations, and management often turned a blind eye to these "fiddles", acceptin them as a perk

-Merton (1938): subcultural theories like his are based around the working class, however Merton acknowledges upper/middle class crime because there is "no limit" to success

-Becker (1963): he does suggest in his theories that those from lower incomes may be more likely to be labelled than those from higher ones

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(2) Class Crime

-Murray (1989): argues that an "underclass" exists which does not share the same values as the rest of society and is responsible for a large proportion of crime, he blames welfare benefits being able to allow single mother not to hold down a job, and consequently no father influence means the child grows up with criminal values

-Taylor (1997): argues young un-skilled working class males have been affected by increasing inequality and declining job prospects-material deprivation rather than an unacceptable culture has made the "underclass"

-Tham (1998): compared Sweden and England welfare policy, and found crime increased in England rapidly between the 1980-1990s even though it had a more generous welfare state, he claims that crime is closely linked to levels of ineqaulity

-Mooney (1998): argues there is no link between single parent-hood and criminality, in fact single parents are more likely to be victims of crime than to become criminals themselves

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(3) Class Crime

-Karstedt (2004): estimates that middle-class such as car tax fraud and damaging items once worn in order to return them may cost the UK something in the region of £14 billion a year

-Goodchild & Cole (2001): pointed out that there is a pattern where the most vunerable people are housed next to those most likely to be found guilty of offending behaviour. Victimisation rates are often highest in areas where crime is particuarly high

-Charest (2009): analysed the legitimate and illegitimate earning fo 204 prisoners during the 3 years of prior to the admission in Canda, and found that those with a higher earning gained much more from criminal activities, and those who were poorer earned much less.

-Reiss (1986): points out the very poor tend to live in communites that are deprived, there is little social mixing in housing and some estates become notorious for things like unemployment, disabilities and alcoholism, and these areas are often those with a high number of "nuisance neighbors", and children who are raised in such neighborhoods are often far more likely to end up convicted of offences than those who live in rural areas or where they are socially mixed

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Class statistics

-OCS generally support the view that crime is concentrated on the working class, however many sociologists believe that OCS is a social construction and does not provide a reliable picture

-SPCR: Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (2012):

1. 64% of prisoners recieved benefits in some form before coming in

2. 1/3 of prisoners reported being in paid employment 4 weeks before custody, but 13% admitted to never having a job

3. 47% of the prison population had no academic qualifications

4. 15% of the prisoners admitted to being homelss before custody, and 8% admitted to "sleeping rough"

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Location statistics

-Institute for Econonmics and Peace (2013: found Broadland was the most peaceful place, compared with least peaceful of Lewisham, incidents including homicide, violent crime and public disorder, UK crime rate is at it's lowest since 1978, but violent crime rate is still higher than European national average, despite recession only crime to rise was drug offences

-IEP claims lack of peace is linked to deprivation:

1. Income

2. Employment oppurtunity

3. Health and Education

4. Access to housing services

-Office for National Statistics (OCS) (2012): risk of being a victim is higher in deprived urban areas, in 2009/10 London was the place with the highest recorded crime rate, 62% of robberies in England & Wales was recorded by Metropolitan/Greater Manchester/West Midlands that comprises of 24% of the population at the time

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(1) Location Crime

-Social spatial criminology: examines where offenders live and where crime is committed and sees neighborhood (spatial characteristics) as a factor in crime rates.

-Shaw & McKay (1942): of Chicago School used a system devised by EW Burgess where city is divided into 5 concentric zones, centre of cities was business district, with the transition zone next to it being the zone with the highest offending rate, result of population turnover, poverty and poor housing which led to social disorganization (no community forms=no shared values to prevent offending), although later revised to mean an alternative set of non-conformist values, passed on through generations via socialisation or cultural transimission

-Morris (1957): highest rates of crime in particular non socially-disorganized council estates not centre of city, more evidence suggests they had tightly-knit community, more likely to be middle-clas residental areas socially disorganized as they don't interact with each other a great deal

-Wilkstrom (1991): found highest offending rates near centre of stockholm, as well as in poor areas and in rich areas adjacent to poor areas

-Bottoms (2007): S&MK confused where people live to where they commit offences, people outside zone come in, concentric zone model doesn't fit most European social housing models

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(2) Location Crime

-Felson (2002): Oppurtunity theory related to oppurtunity, depends on:

1. Target attractiveness: thieves prefer valuable smaller items than larger lower value ones

2. Accesibility: how easy it is for item to be stolen without being witnessed

-Felson (2002): routine activity theory, more crime takes place where suitable targets and likely offenders are in close proximity, more likely to offend in areas they live in or close too

-Cohen & Felson (1979): crime more likely to take place where no active guardian (police/homeowner) can witness it, time of day also important (e.g at night it's dark and more people likely to be out drinking so more crime), also routine activity important (go to a city centre drinking several times a week more likely to become a victim of violent crime)

-Brantingham & Brantingham (1991): cognitive maps (people have different perceptions of area of towns and cities of where they live/leisure/work and routes between these areas), offences more likely to take place when an oppurtunity arises in areas which the offender is familiar with

-Theories collectively known as Administrative Criminology, tries to prevent crime

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(3) Location Crime

-Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2008): publised a report on territorality in young people in cities, study of 6 different "anti-territorial projects" (ATPs) in 6 different places in England and Scotland (such as Bradford and Glasgow), most of these areas experienced higher levels of crime than the national average

-Method: researchers did not specify areas in order to avoid stigmitisation by the media/police, methods involved interviews with ATP members and focus groups of youths who lived in these areas, define territorality as a social system which a geographical defined area is claimed by one group and defended against others

-Findings: "super-place attachment" has both positive (gain identity, respect and mutual support from peers) and negative (failure to conform leads to isolation, bullying and violence) for young people, often used "recreational violence" and gang membership became ritualised with rules and ceremonies, boys aged 13-17 most likely to join in activities, females were used by males with percieved ownership of women and needing to protect them from rivals, afraid to cross bounadires into different territories which rival gangs might see as an insult and deal with them

-Weaknesses: 6 case studies geograpahically varied and this was not looked into so not precisely comparable, youth focus groups did not want to open up about gangs to low valditity

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Age statistics

-Citivas (2012): report crime on Youth Crime in England & Wales:

1. Found average number of under-18s in custody was 2040 in 2010/11

2. There were 15,499 recorded crimes and anti-social behaviour by 10-17 year olds

3. Nearly 20,000 people electronically tagged in 2008, a 40% increase in 3 years

-Minimum age of responsibility is set at 10 in England & Wales, tagging is used as part of an Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Program (ISSP), which is usually a condition of bail, Court order can insist offender remain away from certain areas and these infringements can be recorded, Home Dentention Curfew (HDC) issued by prison governors to monitor prisoners on early release

-Some argue measures are working (Home Office (2006): found 3/4 of those released did not commit any of the 20 core offences in the past year) while other argue they are failing (2009-2010 Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson argues police are too intent on issuing ASBOs).

-Newburn (2007): more than 20% of offenders in England and Wales cautioned or convicted are aged under 21, whereas amongst middle/older aged people offending rates decline

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(1) Age Crime

-Jefferson (1976): teddy boys were part of a white working-class attempt to recreate class loyalty where they felt it was threatned by ethnic minorities, urban redvelopment and growing affluences

-Hodkinson (2004): studied goths, found that they were not oppositional to society despite being deviant (way they dress), more interested in dressing up and socilising/making friends

-Caspi & Moffit (1993): adolescence transition from childhood to adulthood and thus seek independece, but this is difficult and remain dependent on their parents, solution to create situations which express autonomy and gain respect from peer group, crime and deviance can be seen as expressing independence, and for peer groups this gives them the respect they wanted from the adult world

-Smith (2002): shown by age-crime curve in his study, as young people grow older they gain independence and adopt adult status, which means they no longer need the gesture of independence from their youth

-Pearson (1983): always been moral panics about certain types of crime, youth crime in particular exaggerates these fears.

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(2) Age Crime

-Hirschi (1969): Control theory, argued all people are likely to commit crime unless they have a reason to do so, "social bonds" is what prevents this, and when these break down or weaken crime happens, there are 4 key elements to control theory:

1. Attachment: socilisation develops conscience preventing us from doing harm to others

2. Commitment: time+energy we put into certain activities to have a "stake in society" and something to lose if we become criminals

3. Involvement: spending time on socially conformist activities giving us little time to be deviant

4. Belief: commitment to the cultural goals of the society we live in

-These types of bonds grow as we get older (family and mortage) and our beliefs are also likely to change over time, which explains why older people are less likely to be criminal.

-Quinto and Rutter (1988): evidence proves this, young reoffenders stopped once got a relationship

-Weaknesses: can't explain why people enage in certain kinds of behaviour (****), fails to explain corporate/white collar crime which is committed by those Hirschi claims have strong social bonds

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Functionalism Introduction

-Society is good and order is necessary, and crime can be beneficial to society

-Too high crime rates are negative, as early functionalist Hobbes (1651) argues it would lead to anarchy and the selfish and greedy preying on the weak

-Crime should be prevented, and deviance should be discouraged, as social order is essential for the weak and anarchy will just disrupt society and slow it down

-Crime can only be explained by the structure of the social order rather than individual's circumstances (structuralist theory of crime)

-Crime and Deviance also provides employment within the system (e.g judgesm lawyers, social workers, police etc)

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Functionalism Durkheim

-Durkheim (1893): argued that crime was inevitable, believed that crime and deviance was created by lack of acceptance of general consensus over collective values, and not everyone will ever accept it-"society of saints", speed of modern world reinventing iteself generates crime and deviance (change in technology alongside social and georpahical mobility), as people find themsleves unsure of what is the correct way to behave (anomie) as consensus/community/social controls weakens their committment shared values and rules, leads to crime and deviance

-Argued crime benefited society in a number of ways: 1. Create social cohesion (people bond together in tragedy, divisions begin to mend, 2. Helps to reaffirm boundaries of what are acceptable: deviants can made an example, 3. May help society progress, challengin existing norms can lead to better ones e.g Pankhurst

-Weaknesses: never explains why certain groups commit crime, some crimes are always dysfunctional (e.g ****), how much crime is the rigth amount, Marxists argue that he underestimates the amount fo inequality and conflict within society

-Cohen (1966): develops Durkheims views, arguing that deviance can act as a safety valve (e.g cheat on wife with prostitue, man keeps mrraige intact) and a warning system (bullying can be picked up straight away so larger problems like abuse/cultural deprivation is avoided)

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Functionalism Merton (1)

-Merton (1938): starts from value consensus, members of American society strive for success measured in material possessions, accepted way of doing so is through talent and ambition, but less emphasis put on legitimate means, idea of "American Dream" but the inequality of opportunity for poorer people whose paths are blocked and this results in a unbalanced society where rules aren't important and winning is all that matter, too much emphasis on cultural goals and not enough on instiutional means (solution is to put more emphasis on this)

-Individuals may respond in different ways:

1. Conformity: strive for succes through accepted channels

2. Innovation: lower class less qualified, turn to crime to achieve material succes

3. Ritualism: mostly middle class, abandon goal of wealth but conform to their class respectability

4. Retreatism: "drop-outs", reject both goal and ways in which to achieve it

5. Rebellion: reject both goals/means but want to replace them with a new set and creat an entirely new society

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Functionalism Merton (2)


1. Doesn't explain why individuals commit crime, yet is able to explain different responses

2. Theory does not explain crimes that are not motiated by material gain (****/violent crime)

3. Marxists criticise it for failing to ask who benefits from the capitalist system, theya argue the ruling class do and especially the way in which law legislation has been designed

4. Taylor et al (1973): doesn't account politcally-motivated crime, people break law for a cause


1. Reiner (1984): Merton acknolwedged not all americans buy into the dream, however this goal is spread across the lower-strata to account for their deviance, rebellion category for Taylor ?

2. Salvesburg (1995): Merton explains Poland anomie from capitalism, 1989-1990 crime rose 69%

3. Young (1995): UK meritocracy, chaos of inequality results in anomie resulting in violent crime

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Functionalism Evaluation


1. Demonstrates useful purpose served by crime

2. Offers a social (rather than biological/psychological) dimension to crime

3. Explains reasons for unhealthy level of crime that can be change via social engineering (e.g introducing new laws, government policies etc)


1. Doesn't explain individual motivations and why some people commit crime

2. Over emphasis on the degree of consensus within society

3. May result in a pessimistic approach regarding crime control (more laws, stricter policies etc)

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Subculturalist Introduction

-Accepts OCS, seek to explain rising crime levels committed by young working class (often black) males

-Offer a structural explanation of crime, in that the causes lie within society and it's subcultural groups

-Originated/built upon Merton's strain theory, which they argue did not adequetely explain the nature of group criminality

-Cohen (1955) when coming up with his theory had two main criticisms of Merton's work:

1. Deliqeuncy is collective rather than individual (Merton saw it as individuals joining up in their class structure, Cohen sees it as a class response)

2. Merton fails to account for non-utilitarian crimes, eg. he can explain why older thieves and criminals might commit things like white-collar crime, but fails to explain crimes like vandalism, and this questions whether or not these criminals were motivated by society's success goals

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Subculturalism Cohen

-Cohen (1955): Working class boys hold mainstream sucess goal, but cultural deprivation (absence of cultural phenomena in their environement means they cannot adequetely respond in a social context) causes them to fail at education and taken up dead-end jobs with little chance of success

-Also suffer status frustration (angry about their low status in society), so they reject the success goals and replace them with their own norms/valus which make a deviant subculture, and a high value is placed on activites like stealing and those who adopt these norms succesfully get recognition from their peers, and by doing so can therefore be succesfull in their own way


-Matza (1964): most delinquents are not committed to a subculture, shift in-and out of delinquency during their lives, so concept of highly intergrated/distinctive subcultures is a myth

-Feminists argue that Cohen ignores female delinquency (e.g laddettes)

-Phemonologists argue that he neglects the role of agents of socialisation in the construction of delinquency, for example police stereotype working-class youths to stop, "ideal criminal"

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Subculturalism Cloward and Ohlin (1)

-Cloward & Ohlin (1961): Combined Merton/Cohen's insights, both failed to explain why the different forms  of deviance (why some vandals and some violent), Merton explained legitimate oppurtunity structure/legitimate success but failed to explain illegitimate oppurtunity structure/illegitimate success,working class delinquency starts because there is great pressure fothem to deviate as they have less oppurtunity to suceed by legitimate means, and then individuals have 3 different responses to the situation:

1. Criminal subcultures: emerge in areas of established organized crime, and a "learning environment" is provided for young criminals, allowing criminal skills/values to be passed on and provide "role models", these mirror legitimate businesses as employees have specifi roles and can be promoted upwards (much like what Venkatesh (2005) saw in Gang member for a day)

2. Conflict subcultures: emerge in ares with no access to il/legittinmate oppurtunity structures, leads to gang violence which is a way of achievein prestige from peers in the subculture

3. Retreatist subcultures: organized mainly around illegal drug use and occurs for members who are  "double failure", could not succeed in either oppurtunity structure

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Subculturalism Cloward and Ohlin (2)

Evaluation of their theory:

-More sophisticated version of Merton/Cohen's work by combining them and adding the concept of illegitimate oppurtunity structure they attempt to explain the variety of form deviances takes

-Burke (2001): identifies 3 main criticisms:

1. Based on work surronding gangs of the 1920/1930s in Chicago, debateable how far the analysis is applicable today

2. Theory is based on the false assumption the working class is a homogenus group

3. Provides a simplistics explanation of drug use, which in reality is fairly common with middle-class professional people as well as working class people

-Taylor et al (1973): criticise Merton, Cohen and Cloward and Ohlin for assuming everyone is committed to the same goal of achieving wealth, point out other goals (not taking a promotion over family disruption it would cause) and that some groups (hippies) consciously reject these goals

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Subculturalism Marxist

-Some Marxist theory has focused on working-class subcultures, such as that of the mods and rockers (1960s) and the skinheads (1970s), argue that groups can be seen as ideological resistance to the dominant adult value system shaped by middle class/capitalist values, Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) argued youth subcultures should be read as a challenge to class ineqaulity that characterizes capitalist society

-Hebdige (1979): found in a study of punk rockers (1970s) that although they adopted symbols that shocked/resisted dominant cultural values of the UK at the time (such as bonadge gear/swastikas), capitalist society quickly commercializes these looks and puts them on sale, stripping them of their ideological significance and just making them another consumer item

-Brake (1985): argues resistance of working class lightens up a dull world of adult/conformist values, each generation of WC will face education system destined to fail them and dead-end jobs due to the exploitation of capitalism, each generation will adopt different response but all ultimately end up trapped by ideological messages or economic restraints (rent/credit)


-Neglect gender/ethnicity/globalization (particuarly American) on working class subcultures

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Subculturalism Evaluation


1. Argue that those under strain of anomie tend to largely be the working class

2. Because of status frustration, many of the subcultures commit crime in order to gain status within their subculture

3. Argue that not everyone looks for material success, which is why non-utilitarian crimes happen


1. Interactionists argue that subculturalists suggest that WC commit crime, rather than trying to explain why the WC are labelled as criminals

2. Right/Left Realists argues that it ignores the free will of the individual, and it too deterministic

3. Subculturalist theories are too ready to accept OCS, and fail to explain white-collar crime

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Marxism Introduction

-Power is held by those who owns the means of production, superstructure reflects the relationship between powerful and powerless: the ruling and suject class

-Superstructure, state, agents of social control and the law exist to serve ruling class interests

-Laws are not value consensus, nut of ruling-class ideology, committment to them is part of a false class consciousness, since laws only benefit a ruling minority

-Althusser (1970): invented the concept of Ideological State Apparatus (ISA) that has important functions in the creation of crime and law creation:

1. Supresses/ridicules radical ideas, attention diverted to trivia (lottery/TV soaps), focuses on places that no longer hold power (Parliament/monarchy) and ignores rich+powerful

2. Threat fallback if socialisation fails (General strike in 1926 and anti-capitalist demonstration in 2009), smaller scale police violence to control groups who pose a threat (e.g black/asian)

3. Defining criminal depends ruling class values (street violence assault, coca-cola villages!!!)

4. Create belief most criminals are WC/black/young/inner cities, so police concentrate on them

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Marxism Chambliss

-Chambliss (1976): many sociologists note laws dealing with property, shift from unmovable property (feudalism) to moveable property (capitalism) resulted in a vast number of laws protecting the property interests of the emerging capitalist class

-Argues that government partakes in "non-decision making", only making "safe decisions" and many issues (wealth distribution) never reaches the point of decision, also shows what would be defined as criminal if they ruling class were not in charge:

1. Movie magnate spends $20,000 dollars on his daughter for her lavish birthdya party, people are starving just a few blocks away

2. The wife of the US General Attourney has 200 pairs of shoes, parents in the Applachian moutain cannot even afford to buy their children one pair

-Such issues are justified by ruling-class ideology (they earned it, they can spend it how they like), supstructure prevents such views from becoming widespread-to-major issues-to-law

-Argues greed/self interest/hostility motivate crime at all levels, people use what is available to them e.g pimp use what they can whereas those with higher income e.g lawwyers have more means and so can grab a bigger piece of the cake

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Marxism Corporate Crime (1)

-Snider (1993): capitalist state often reluctant to pass proibility-threataning laws on large businesses, which they have attracted (offering tax breaks/cheap loans and grants) and do not want to risk alienating them by enforcing laws in certain issues (pollution, workers health and safety)

-Argues corporate crime does more harm than "street crimes" such as burgalry/robbery which are seen as more serious, in terms of money and lives corporate crime was much worse, pointing out that street crimes cost USA $4 billion whereas coroporate crime costs 20X as much (1990s)

-Penalties/prosecution chance are usually small for those involved, enforcement agencies expected to balance the cost of enforcing regulations (lost profits/jobs) with benefits, prosecutions are last resort and even then, usually to deal with small business rather than large corporations

-Pearce (1976): many laws appearing to benefit only WC benefit RC as well, factory legislation protectign workers health and safety keep them fir for work and buy their loyalty

-Streeter (1997): late 1990s effects of abestos were killing around 3500 people a year, actions which resulted in death were not illegal but their consequences in loss of life are very serious

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Marxism Corporate Crime (2)

-Croall (2009): defines white-collar crime as crime committed in legitimate employment, involves abuse of occupational role, and things like fraud, insider trading and computer crime as white-collar crime, people who own/manage means have greater oppurtunities for largers payout

-Companies which commit crimes are called corporate crimes, different kinds of these:

1. Crimes against consumers, selling dangerous foods/goods, not ensuring pasenger safety

2. Crimes against employees: UK 1965-1995 25,000 people killed in workplace, 70% due to employer violation of health and safety laws

3. Environmental offences: pollution (BP Oil spill 2010, 4.9 million barrels spilled in Gulf of Mexico, Union Carbide in 1984 factory in Bhopal India, escaped poisonous gas killed 3000 people )

4. Finacial fraud: false accounting, share price fixing (2001 Enron false accounting led to debts of $50 billion, Bernard Madoff admitted to a pyramid scheme in 2008 surronding $50 million dollars)

-Despite damage of corporate crime over street crime, will often remain unknown due to: offences are invisible from public eye, repsonsibility is hard to blame in a company, fine lines of morality

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Marxism Law Enforcement

-Many Marxists see crime as a natural outgrowth of capitalism, because economic infrastructure (influences social relatiohsips) emphasises maximisation of profits, economic interest rather than public duty motivates behaviour, capitalism based on personal property (personal gain is encouraged), capitalism is a competitive system, breeds hostility and agression towards others

-Gordon (1976): argues crime is rational, as in "dog-eat-dog" society, where competition is the order of the day, must fend for themselves to survive

-He also argues that pratice of law enforcement in the USA support capitalism in 3 ways:

1. Those who commit crime are "social failures", seen as responsible for their own actions so blame is directed away from the capitalist system

2. Imprisonment of selected members of the WC neutralize opposition (e.g American blacks over-represented for street crimes such as robbert and assault)

3. Criminals are "animals and misfits", justifies their imprisonment, keeps them hiden from public eye and embrassing extremes created by the capitalist system are swept under the carpet

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Marxism Evaluation


1. Challenge orthodox/dominant views, open new debate areas on power/crime and devaiance

2. Emphasizes importance of power, questions validity of state in terms of OCS due to selectivism

3. Offer crime solution, replace capitalism with egalitarian Communist society, root cause gone

4. Influential on later approaches like Left Realism and New Criminology (refer to them)


1. Feminists argue ignores importance of patriarchy in CJS, often neglect racism as well

2. Laws seem helpful in reality are not, "left fuctionalism", any law can be argued capitalistic

3. Left Realists argue too much emphasis on corporate crime, emotional harm of street crime

4. Jones (2001): Switzerland capitalist but lowest crime rate in world, insider trading is illegal

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Neo-Marxist Introduction

-Neo-Marxists accept society is characterized by competing groups with conflicting interests, and all of them are critical of existing capitalist societies and the unequal distribution of wealth, but unlike Marxists do not accept there is a straightfoward link between the structure of C+D

-Taylor, Walton and Walton (1973): published New Criminology, and in some respects agreed with traditonal Marxist writers (key to understanding crime lies in "material base" of society, capitalist socities characterized by inequalities in wealth and power and this lies at the root of crime, ans support a radical transformation of society)

-However, this also differ from Marxists in many key ways: criticised Marx's work as being too economically deterministic, insist criminals choose to break the law, and reject theories that see human behaviour influenced by extrnal forces, believing actor develops his own "self-conception"

-Argues crime is not caused by anomie, being a member of a subculture, living in areas of social disorganization and by labelling or poverty

-Stresses crime is often deliberate with deliberate motives (trying to alter capitalism), unlike Marxists want to make a socialist rather than communist economy, wish to see a society where deviance (hippies, homosexuals and ethnic minorities) are accepted and not persecuted

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Neo-Marxist Theory

-In the final chapter Taylor et al outline what they believe should be a fully social theory of deviance, 7 areas which need to be studied:

1. Way in which wealth/power is distributed

2. Circumstances surronding the decision of an individual to commit an act of deviance

3. Meaning of deviant for the person involved, was the individual "kicking back" through vandalism?

4. The ways in which other members of society (police) respond to deviant act

5. Meaning of the response in terms of the way in which society is organized, who has the power to make rules and decide how deviant acts should be dealt with?

6. Impact of the deviant label, may have a variety of effects-deviant may accept the label, or ignore it, and it may lead on to greater deviance

7. Criminologists need to look at the relationship between all these different aspects so they can be fused into one complete theory of deviance

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Neo-Marxist Criticism and Defence

-Burke (2001): critises the New Criminology for being too general on explaining crime and too idealistic in order to fight crime

-Feminsts argue that it concentrates on male crimes and ignores gender as a factor

-Left realists have accused New Criminology of neglecting the impact of crime on victims, romanticizing working-class crime and underestimating street crime.

-Walton (1988): argued that central theme was "correctionalism", shift focus of criminology to getting rid of deviant behaviour, as many original academic theories were excuses for discriminatory crime practices, although he does accept the feminist critique, but equally claims that realist/feminism/post-modern criminology tries to make a more equal society, so carries on the New Criminology tradition

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Neo-Marxist Evaluation


1. Extends definition of crime to issues such as sexism/racism

2. Reasserts importance of political economy of crimes, looks at factors such as economic arrangements of society

3. Unites structure and action approaches of deviance, offereing a struraction apprach

4. Focuses on the activies of the powerful in rule-making/rule-breaking aspects


1. Incomplete critique of earlier theories, dismissing them rather than showing their errors

2. By rejecting biological/psychological factors, closes off interesting areas of debate

3. Tendency of approach explains crime as a social construction and so the reality of it is missed

4. Difficult to see political motive underpinning crimes like ****, violence and child abuse

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Interactionism Introduction

-View deviance from a different theoretical perspective, focuses on interaction between deviant and who defines them instead of looking at motivations for the acts, emphasize the meanings vatious actors bring to and develop within the interaction situation

-May look at police ideas of "typical delinquent" and how this results in a tendency to define lower class as lawbreakers rather than middle-class

-Meanings are not fixed, modified and developed in the interaction process, definition of deviance is negotiated in the interaction situation by the actors involved (e.g being naked)

-Positivist approaches look at external forces upon actors, interactionists reject this stressing the importance of internal factors to the individual (what meanings they attach to events and how they respond)

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Interactionism Becker (1)

-Becker (1963): act is only deviant when other see or define/label it as such (nudity varies depending on context), whether or not a label is applied depends on how the act is interpreted, and in turn this will depend on several factors (who commits the act, who saw it etc), Becker gives an example of street brawling (high income neighbourhood=youthful spirits, low income=deviant), they are labelled by those who have the power to make it stick (instituions)

-Once a group/indvidual is labelled criminal/mentall ill/homosexual, other see them only in terms of the label, becomes what Becker called the master status, colours all other statuses possessed by the invidual, and individual/group only sees themselves in terms of the label, and this could then produce a self-fullfilling prophecy

-Becker identifies a number of stages to this process:

1. Labelled as deviant, may be rejected from social groups

2. May encourage further deviance

3. Deviant career complete when individual joins organized deviant group, confirming their label

4. Deviant subculture may develop which include norms/values to support deviant behaviour

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Interactionism Becker (2)

-Becker's approach stressed importance of public identification of deviance, suggesting that labels can lead to further deviance, and can even change an individual's self-concept so they come to regard themselves as deviant for the first time

-Whereas Merton idenfitied a single cause of deviance (anomie), Becker argued that the reasons for deviance might change as time passes/circumstance alters

-Becker uses what he calls a "sequential approach" to the explanation of deviance, and at any stage it is possible that the individual may return to conformity

-Young (1971): used Young's approach in a study of "hippies" at Notting Hill London:

1. Police see hippies as drug addicts, this is a central concern to them even though only a secondary activity to the group, and the police reaction can transform their social world

2. Police action against marijiuana users unites thme and makes them feel different

3. Retreat into subcultures because they have developed a self-concept of deviance

4. Deviant norms/values develop in closed groups self-fullfilling prophecy is created

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Interactionism Lemart

-Lemart (1972): distinguished between primary/secondary deviance:

1. Primary deviance: consists of deviant acts before they are publically labelled, trying to find the cause is not easy (samples are only of labelled deviants making it unrepresentative/deviant acts can often be common e.g males likely to commit homosexual acts in their lifetime), and it has little effect on the person's self-concept/behaviour, and important factor in creating deviance is the reaciton of society

2. Secondary deviance: response of individual/group to societal reaction, he argued that studies should focus on this kind of deviance which has major consequences for the individual's self-concept, status in the community and future actions, argues blame for deviance lies with agents of social control, found this in hist study of North Pacific Indian Stuttering (those with a speech defect were greatly ridiculed amongst their peers, and were worried about having the defect, and because of this anxiety many children were so anxious they stuttered) so based on this Lemart argued that societal reaction prompted by concerns of deviance can actually create deviance

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Interactionism Jones

-Jones (2001): reviewed policy implications of interactionist/labelling theories, argued that it leads to policiy implications of as many types of behaviour as possible being criminalized and when the law has to intervene should avoid influencing people's self-concepts (more warnings, less instutionalism), and these implications have impacted on 3 key areas:

1. Legalizing drugs: 1997 Independent newspaper campaign to legalize cannabis which had been legal in the Netherlands for a long time, development in 2013 being Home Secretary David Blunkett's propasal to downgrade it from a Class B drug to Class C

2. Juvenile justice: inconsistent policies in this area but attempts to avoid stigmatizing young people, includes cautions rather than prosecutions and anoymity for young people, also ASBO's introduced in the UK in 1998 by Tony Blair to deal with anti-social behaviour, although 2010 Home Secretary Theresa May intend to abolish these and replace them with "community-based" social control policies

3. Public shaming: reknewed emphasis on shaming of offenders to deter others such as naming *********s in the papers, although Jones points out this can lead to vigilante attacks, such as case in 2013 of Bijan Ebrahimi who was beaten and burnt to death after violent neighbors wrongly believed him to be a ********* after taking pictures of youths who vandalised his garden

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Interactionism Criticisms

-Taylor et al (1973): argues labelling theory is wrong in suggesting that deviance is created by social group who define acts as deviant, some acts (like murder) will always be deviant in society

-Many sociologists claim that the interactionist approach fails to explain why individuals commit acts in the first place (primary deviance)

-Argued labelling theory is toodeterministic, once an individual is labelled as deviant, further deviance will follow

-Gouldner (1975): interactionists portray deviants as passive and controlled by a "man on his back" rather than as a "man fighting back"

-Knuttsen (1977): argues interactionists have not produced sufficient evidence to show labelling will amplify deviance, labelling theory has taken effect of labelling as "self-evident truths"

-Interactionism fails to explain why some are labelled over others and why some activities are laws and other are not, ignores wider issue of distribution of power in society

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Interactionism Defence

-Plummer (1979): refutes a number of the criticisms of interactionism:

1. In reponse to the criticism of inherently deviant acts, argues labelling theory is a very useful perspective if you distinguihs between societal deviance (types of behaviour society disapproves of) and situtional deviance (deviance in a particular situation)

2. In response to the criticism of interactionists ignoring the intiial causes of deviance, Plummer argues that they have devoted too much time to explaining primary deviance, citing Beckers explanation of marijuina smoking, some labelling theories focus on when labels are applied, but most versions start at when deviance first occurs, Becker himself regretted phrase "labelling theory", misguides people to believe the theory focuses exclusively on labels

3. In response to the deterministic criticism, argues entire approach puts great stress on open choice as individuals interpret what happens around them, and is very different from positivist approaches, in which behaviour is seen as controlled by external forces, Becker argued deviant career could be abandoned at any stage

4. In response to the criticism of ignoring who has power in society, argues that labelling perspective opens up the whole question of who had power to make society's rules/apply them

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Interactionism Evaluation


1. Identifies significance of labelling in judicinal process

2. Shows how groups are identified/labelled accordingly

3. Shows that definitions of deviance are relative rather than fixed, universal or unchangeable


1. People seem to commit deviance irrespective of labels, even though they know they are doing wrong, therefore interactionists ignore the origins of deviance

2. Fails to account as to why certain groups are labelled and not others

3. Also ignores who makes rules/laws

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-Similar to labelling theory, but focuses on ways in which groups become labelled as deviant, and Ethnomethodology (American sociological perspective) attempts to apply the principles of phenomenology to the study of society

-Cicourel (1976): applies a phenomenological approach to his studies of two Californian cities (each had a pop. of 100,000 and similar socio-economic characteristics, only difference was in the arrest rate) in the treatment of delinquency, and he observed the police using stereotypes of the "typical delinquent" when selectin to stop and question, especially in low-income areas of town, and were more likely to be charged if they fit the picture of the typical delinquent (bad attitude to authority, broken-home, low-income background, ethnic minority etc) whereas middle-class juveniles seen to be straying from the path+parents can better represent them, concludes agents of social control produces delinquents, differences in arrest rates could be attributed to differences between the two police bureax (one had more junior officers/more detailed arrest records)

-Jones (2001): argues the study provides a useful insight into USA juvenile justice system, and first ever study to question the OCS, but it has been criticised for its relative/subjectivist nature

-Taylor et al (1973): argues fails to explain how meanings originate-why do police see typical delinquent as coming from a low-income background, fails to explain who has power in society

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Left Realism Introduction

-See crime as a real problem and present a number of criticisms of previous criminology:

1. Some sociologists try to explaint he rise of crime since WW2 using unreliable crime statistics, Young (1993) argues the changes are so great they cannot be explained using stats

2. Some sociologists advance the view that street crime is minimal, Lea & Young (1984) argue that while this true, some groups (poor, ethnic minorities) face high risks

-Left realists have carried out a number of victimisation studies and found a widespread fear of crime, and many (women in particular) alter their behaviour to avoid this

-Left realists attack New Criminology's "Robin Hood" interpretation of offenders

-Argue white-collar crime/corporate crime serious, but recent criminology too much focus on them

-Acknowledged the importance of under-reported/recorded crimes such as assault, racially motivated attack and domestic violence

-Argue to take all crimes equally and seriously

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Left Realism Lea & Young

-Lea & Young (1984) explain the ideas of left realist crime in 3 key concepts:

1. Relative Deprivation: Group experiences relative deprivation when it feels deprived relative to similar groups/expectations are not met, modern society advertising stresses economic success and promote middle-class lifestyle, like Merton explain rising crime levels as part of rising expectations of standards of living

2. Subculture: groups develop lifestyles to cope with the problem of relative deprivation, subcultures form as a result, but these can vary-second-generation West Indian immigrants used Rastafarianism and Pentecost religions as well as "hustling" for money

3. Marginalization: marginal groups lack organizations to represent them so turn to rioting/violence as forms of political action, key to avoiding marginality is employment, workers have clearly defined objectives (such as higher wages)

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Left Realism (1)

-Kinsey et al (1984) argues number of flaws with policing; clear-up rate is low so does not deter criminals, police spend little time investigating crime, rely on flow of info from public whose confidence in them is declining, particuarly for inncer-city living ethnic minorities

-Without public support they resort to military policing: stopping & searching large numbers of people and using survelliance technology, thus those not in contact with the police see them as an alien force intent on criminalizing local residents, "mobilization of bystanders"

-Kinsey recommends police improve this relationship by giving the public more say in shaping policies, and spending more time investigating crime, Young (1992): believed certain crimes were overpolice (minor drug offences/under-age drinking) and others were underpoliced (racially motivated attack/domestic violence), shift of focus needed to solve the issue

-Young (1992, 1997): argues crime can't just be dealt with by improving police, need to deal with social inequalities by commiting to actions like reducing income inequality, raise the living standards of poorer families and reduce unemployment and create job propsects

-Crime must be understood from the "Square of crime": why people offend, what makes victims vunerable and define an act as criminal, factors affecting public attitude/response to crime, social forces that influence police/CJS

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Left Realism (2)

-Left Realism has had key influence on British crime policies, working with the community, tough on domestic violence, "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" Labour's slogan derived

-Young (1999): argued entering a stage of late modernity has made crime worse, characterized by insecurity/instability in areas such as family life/work with less consensus of moral values and subcultures put foward their own which they believe are legitimate, people expect to buy consumer goods and have fun and with instability in jobs leads to further relative deprivation, informal social controls are becoming less effective as families/communites disintergrate

-Reason for rising crime rates is relative deprivation: everyones' relative deprivation essentially made worse by the proximity of other social groups (working class fell as though not properly rewarded, middle class because other classes mainstream without making sacrifices like them)

-Crime becomes widespread an nastier (increase in hate crimes, racially motivated attacks), consensus of what constitues as crime breaks down (e.g debate over smacking)

-Young argues New Labour polices (ASBOs, forcing truants to school) will not work because they are trying to recreate a "golden age of community" which does not exist, need to focus on fairer disribution of wealth, including dealing with inequaility of different social groups

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Left Realist Evaluation


1. Hughes (1991): revived useful concept of relative deprivation, explored victimisation in-depth

2. Crime increased due to disintergreation of informal social controls and economic change

3. Highlights the problem of street crime more-so than other criminolgy theories

4.Avoids charactersiing the police neither as oppressive isntruments (Marxism)/totally impartial


1. Feminists: real victims are women forced into crime, left realism doesn't take this into account

2. Marxists: It ignores white collar crime/corporate crime, ignores capitalisms role in criminology

3. Right Realists: Need to be tough on criminals, longer prison sentences, 0 tolerance etc

4. Hughes (1991): relies too much on previous subcultural theories which have been criticised

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Right Realism Wilson

-Wilson (1975): denies that eradicating poverty will lead to a reduction in crime, similar policies in the 1960s USA failed miserably, focus on "predatory street crime" which the public are more concerned with and this undermines communities, which is th best way to deal with crime

-Sees crime as a rational calculation, people will commit crime if benefits likely exceed the costs (Clarke (1980) supported this idea, "rational choice theory"), offenders do not believe they will always be caught and if sever punishments are enforced long after the crime than it does not act as a deterrent, and so swift penalities may be effective, but until the CJS assures them, other methods are needed

-One way is the prescrpition of methadone to heroin addicts, offering an alternative and less destructive drug, helps to limit the side effects of heroin, combined with a clampdown on heroin leads to a price increase, making giving uo easier than continuing their addiction

-Another way to prevent crime is to stop disintergrationf of communities, as strong communities means people who commit crimes are disgraced and lose their community standing, however part of the issue of crime is that it disrupts the delicate informal/formal community nexus and therefore people no longer have anything to gain by conforming to the community's moral values so won't

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Right Realism Wilson & Kelling/Hernstein

-Wilson & Kelling (1982): crucial to maintain character of neighborhoods and prevent detoriation, so police need to clamp down on first signs of undesirable behaviour, and should aim to keep people like prositutues or drug addicts off the streets so law-abiding citizens feel safe, single window left broken will cause the area to detoriate and informal social control will break down, need to concentrate on areas that are startting to go bad, claim that once an areas has detoriated too much it can't be saved and impossible to solve the problem just by arresting people

-Matthews (1992): however found little evidence that broken windows/public incivilities cause crime, incivility instead determined by the level of crime, and not the other way around

-Wilson & Hernstein (1985): argue some people are born with a predispostion towards crime, and if not properly socialized are likely to realize their crime, especially where close-knit families are absent, but they argue people still have free will using the rational calculation of crime (weighing up costs/benefits), unfortunetely too easy to live off benefits and potential gains from crime increase as society becomes more affluent, for many then the benfits of crime outweigh the costs and the crime rate increases

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Right Realism Evaluation


1. Influential ideas, "zero-tolerance" policing (ASBO)/harsher prison sentencing used in the UK

2. Supported by ideas of the New Right like Underclass theory

3. Recognizes the free will individuals have when using the rational calculation of crime

4. Jones (2001): USA have adopted these policies, "3 strikes" system life sentencing


1. Jones (2001): criminals move activities (subway), ignores social factors (e.g gender, class)

2. Left Realists argue paint a dramtic negative picture (believe certain steps can reduce crime)

3. Marxists argue ignore white collar/corporate crime, favour a more deterministc approach

4. Jones (2001): Wilson & Hernsteins dismissed as based on outdated biological research

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The New Right

-Concerned with emergence of the underclass which is responsible for most crimes committed, due to their norms and values being seperate from society and suffering from cultural deprivation

-Murray (1989): suggest USA/UK have a distinct lower than working-class subculture known as the "underclass" which subscribes to deviant/criminal values over mainstream values and transmits this deficient culture via socialisation, Murray sees them as lacking in values especially towards marriage/family life, and this is clear as a large percentage of "underclass" children brought up by single irresponsible mothers, and absent fathers means that boys lack paternal discipline and male role models so will turn to gaining status through crime than supporting their family with a steady job, these young males are generally hostile towards police/authority figures

-Marsland (1992): argues welfare state is responsible for the "underclass" because welfare dependecy has undermined people's sense of committment/support to one another, people that are part of the underclass are alledgedly work-shy, much preferring to live off of state benefits

-Taylor (1997): rejects New Right views but suggests an underclass exists, argues young unskilled working males have been affected increasing inequality/declining job propsects, therefore underclass is the result of material deprivation rather than unacceptable culture

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The New Right Evaluation

-Gives a fair attempt at trying to explain the issues which arise surronding the welfare state, and possibilities of an underclass is supported by contemporary evidence

-Feminists criticise it for ignoring females who commit crime from the underclass

-Tham (1998): compared welfare policies/crime rates in Britain and Sweden, during the 1980/1990s he found that crime increased more rapidly in Britain than in Sweden, he claims that crime rates are closely linked to levels of inequailty rather than payments from the state.

-Charlesworth (1999): used ethnographic research to investigate the effects of poverty and unemployment on people living in a council estate in North Yorkshire, and used participant observation/conversational interviews to find out what their daily lives were like, found that the majority of them were unlikely to commit crime and instead suffered with mental and health issues due to their miserable economic conditions as well as feeling robbed of their identity and value because they did not own a job, no evidence of Murray's "anti-social underclass"

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Cultural Criminology

-Ferrel (2004): calls approach Cultural Criminology, and this rejects positivist research methods, arguing that an understanding of the offenders emotional state is crucial to understanding crime

-Matza (1964): opposes deterministic theories, argues it is always a choice to offend, argues that delinquents are not committed to a deviant subcultural set of values, instead temporarily suspend their belief in mainstream values, tend to drift in-and-out of delinqeuncy rather than stay in a subculture, only commit crimes when they feel unable to shape their lives (mood of fatalism) and decide they want to restore a sense of being able to shape their lives (mood of humanism)

-Katz (1998): emotions of humilation/rage play key part in causing crime, as it is used to resolve an intolerable situation e.g many murders kill victims who have humilated them and the only way to overcome their shame is to kill them, shoplifting done for "sneaky thrills" rather than material gain

-Lyng (1990): argues that general offenders (particuarly young males) take part in "edgework"- like being on the edge of danger and having to use their skills to get out of it e.g joyriding

-Overall, looks at marginal issues but highlights emotional aspects ignored by criminology

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Postmodern Criminology

-Henry & Milovanovich (1996): crime should be taken to a wider conception of harm, embracing all threats/risks threatening people with increasingly diverse lifestyles/identities, should bechanged from not just breaking the law but using power in some way to harm others, identify two kinds of harm, Harm of reduction (power used causes victim immedaite loss/injury) and the Harm of repression (power is used to constrict future human development), concept of harm includes actions which are currently not taken very seriously or are illegal at the current problem of "crime"

-Foucalt (1991): surveillance is penetrating more aspects of our lives aided by new technology like CCTV which monitors people in various spheres of life, restriction of movement of streets and housing complexes thanks to new "gated communities", vast amounts of data are collected on individuals through things like consumer tracking-people regarded as customers/consumers rather than citizens with rights, seduced into participation thanks to consumer society, those who aren't face stricter control, for example through heavier/repressive policing

-Smart (1995): all classic criminology is positivist in nature, tries to find a cause of crime and a way of eradicating it, believe scientific methods are the best way to find out and believes there is an overall theory of crime, supported by Lyotard (1984) "death of meta-narratives"

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Postmodern Criminology Evaluation


1. Explains contemporary developments like widespread surveilliance, for example using CCTV/Consumer tracking methods

2. Offers explanations ofr non-utilitarian crimes like hate-crimes/anti-social behaviour


1. Doesn't explain why most people don't use their power to harm others, and why particular groups did find in necessary to enage in harmful acts to asser their identity

2. Lea (1998): argues Postmodern theories are not much more than a rediscovery of labelling theories/radical criminology, which concluded that crime was simply a social construction, and power a important part in that construction

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Feminist Introduction

-Some feminist criminologists accept that women commit less crime than men

-Leonard (1992): believes major explanation for this fact is that women are more likely to conform to rules then men

-However, there are signs that this commitment to the rules may be undermined by key social factors such as social clas and age

-There are 3 explanations as to why females commit less crime than men:

1. Liberal/Radical Feminism

2. Interactionist Feminism

3. Post-modernist Feminism

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Feminist Liberal and Radical Explanations

-Smart (1976) & Oakley (1974): suggested men are socialized into agressive and indivdualistic behaviour that make them more disposed to taking risks//commiting criminal acts

-Steffenmeier & Allen (1991): argues that females are socialized into a potentially less criminal set of values/norms that stress cooperation, tenderness and caring for others, and are therefore less likely to commit crime, especially violent crime

-Heidensohn (1985): argues that females are generally more conformist because patriarchal society imposes greater control over their behaviour. This can illustrated in several ways:

1. McRobbie & Garber (1976): concluded teenage girls' lives revolved around "bedroom culture", so are more likely to socialize with friends at home rather than in public places

2. Lees (1989): girls controlled as they fear gaining a "bad reputation", boys at school often used sexualized verbal labels like "****" to control girls, limit their deviant behaviour to avoid this

3. Heidensohn (2002): notes women more likely to be controlled by their family roles as wives/mothers, consequently find little time for deviant activity

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Feminist Interactionist Explantions

-Reject OCS, see them as little more than a social construction, point out females are under-represented in crime statistics and therefore do not reflect an accurate picture of the social distribution of crinality

-Abandon attempts to offer casual explanations of female crime and deviance, instead focus on social processes that lead certain women to be under-represented in the OCS

-They share Becker (1963) idea that the social distribution of crime and deviance is dependent on processes of social interaction between the deviant and powerful agencies of social control

-Suggest females are less likely to be policed and labelled deviant than males, attributing it to perhaps sexism/chivarly in the police (e.g Pollak Chivarly Thesis)

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Feminist Postmodern Explanations

-Walklate (1990): notes shoplifting/prositution often motivated by economic neccessity, for example to provide children with food, clothes and toys

-Naffine (1987): claims that changes in global economies have given rise to "pink-collar ghettos" of insecure, low-wage part time jobs. Suggested women employed in these ghettos engage in petty crime because of economic necessity.

-Adler (1975): argues society has become less patriarchal, so women's crime rate will rise, in other words women's liberation from the patriarchy will lead to a new type of female criminal with greater oppurtunities/confidence to commit crimes, supported by OCS, between 1991-1997 number of under-18 girls convicted of violent offences in England & Wales doubled, from 65 per 100,000 to 135 per 100,000

-Wilkinson (1994): argues fundamental changes in the attitude towards female role in society have been achieved, which she refers to as "Genderquake"-women in the workplace now longer as restricted, now gaining more oppurtunities to commit crime (e.g white-collar)

-Croall (1998): argues teenage girls are motivated by 3 key inter-connect factors, a drug habit, the excitement aht comes from committing crime and conspicuous consumption of goods (shoplifting)

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Feminist Specific Evalaution


1. Dobash & Dobash (1979): found that domestic violence was caused by patriarchal based marriage relationships, women not fulfilling their "duties" (Liberal/Radical)

2. Hedderman & Hough (1994): found female offenders less likely then male offenders to recieve a custodial sentence for nearly all serious offences (Interactionist)

3. Fagan (1993): note in America black women-drug industry due to poverty (Postmodern)


1. Postmodern feminists argue dated theory, doesn't consider "genderquake" (Liberal/Radical)

2. Marxist feminists argue ignores social class, selective law enforcement also tied to this (Interactionsm)

3. Biological theories stress importance of PMT in some crimes, PM ignores this (Postmodern)

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Feminist General Evaluation


1. Argues women commit crime because powerless in society (glass ceiling effect)

2. Women penalised more than men because of their roles as they can also lose home/child care

3. Points out women suffer from being labelled double deviant (social/gender norms)

4. Postmodern clearly shows how oppurtunities for female crime has increased


1. Ignores social class/ethnicity/age/geography in some cases, too gender-focused

2. Marxists argue capitalism rather than patriachy, non-utilitarian crimes express frustration

3. Carlen (1992): feminist criminology can't explain it as part of an underclass, suggests class conflict


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Feminist General Evaluation


1. Argues women commit crime because powerless in society (glass ceiling effect)

2. Women penalised more than men because of roles as they can also lose home/child care

3. Points out women suffer from being labelled double deviant (social/gender norms)

4. Postmodern clearly shows how oppurtunities for female crime has increased


1. Ignores social class/ethnicity/age/geography in some cases, too gender-focused

2. Marxists argue capitalism rather than patriachy, non-utilitarian crimes express frustration

3. Subculturalists argue feminists fail to address social class issues like in their theories

4. Right Realists would argue the patriarchy as the cause of crime ignores free will

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Victimisation BCS

-Victim surveys carried out to get a better understanding of crime than provided by the OCS, British Crime Survey (BCS) conducted by Home Office since 1983, carried out anually, face-to-face survey which between 1983-2006 targeted 8000-11,000 people but 2008 had around 47,000 respondents that were over 16 and lived in private households in England & Wales

-22 trained interviewers used laptop computers to record responses, and used random sampling (give every members of the sample a chance to be picked) instead of non-random (no equal chance), sample chosen from Postcode Address File (PAF), contains all known addresses/postcodes in the UK, designed to be as nationally representative as possible to genaralize the results to the country as a whole, overall response rate was 76% in 2007 BCS, interview is composed of pre-coded structured questions making it easy to quantify/make into stats, takes about 48 minutes to complete in focuses on experiences of being a victim, often in relation towards property crimes such as burgalry and vehicle-related thefts

-Over years BCS has made a number of key findings, including majority of crimes being in 2009 property-related, data suggests that those who worry most about crime (women and elderly) are least likely to experience it, conversely those who fear it least (young men) most likely

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Victimisation BCS Strengths


1. Reliable reflection of the actual extent of household/personal crime because it includes crime not reported/recorded by the police

2. Supporters of BCS claim surveys are more valid than OCS because it uncovers the "dark figure of crime"

3. Use of structured interviews offer greater oppurtunity for reliable data because questions/response are standerdized and the interviews are piloted in advance

4. Positivist criminologists generally view BCS methodology as highly scientific because it is a standerdized tool in that it exposes about 47,000 people to the same set of questions

5. BCS though to be highly reliable and objective and its sample if representative of UK society

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Victimisation BCS weaknesses


1. Does not cover white-collar crime, excludes victimless crimes (drugs/prostitution) and does not cover crimes against children

2. Pilkington (2005): notes BCS distorts the meaning of numbers, violent/sexual offences may constitute a relatively small proportion of recorded offences, but these crimes can have a highly traumatic/devstating effect compared to that of property crime

3. Marxists point out that the general public are usually unaware that they have been victims of crimes committed by the economically powerful such as corporate crimes

4. Left and Right Realist sociologists argue that the BCS tells us little about the day-to-day experiences of living in high crime areas such as inner cities

5. Interpretivists criticise methodology as inflexible and rarely allowing research access to qualititive data about people's motives/fears, structured interviews create a "barrier" between researcher

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Victimisation Left Realist

-Alternative approach developed by realist sociologists, as BCS has tended to neglect the concentration of crime in inner-cities centres

-The Islington Crime Survey (1984): carried out by Lea & Young using sympathetic unstructured interview techniques, asked victims in inner London about serious crimes (sexual assault/domestic violence/racial attacks), and found 1/3 of all households experienced serious crimes in the last 12 months, crime shaped the people's lives, 1/4 avoided going out after dark amd 28% felt unsafe in their own homes, women experinced activity curfew, 1/2 of women never went out after dark

-Zedner (1997): noted fear was realstic in the urban Islington context and rational when the extent of unreported **** was taken into account

-The Merseyside Crime Survey (1984): found fear of crime highest amongst the poor, which reflects the fact that they are most at risk

-Unstructured interviews are better according to intepretivists because they are not constrained by tick-boxes, produce more validity (interviewer rapport) and give free rein to interviewee= "verstehen"

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Victimisation Feminism (1)

-Feminist surveys produce qualatitive data on female victims of male crimes (domestic abuse/****) and are critcial of BCS structured interviews as interviewee takes a passive role and acts as an object of study with no ability to influence the direction of the interview, and this mirrors the gender divsions/hierarchies of the patriarchal society, most feminist research into family/schools has used interpretivist methodology (particuartly unstructured interviews/participant observation) and structured interviews impose power/interpretations of the interviewer onto the interviewee much like men impose their idea of social reality onto women

-Graham (1983): positivst methods give a distorted/invalid pictures of women's experiences, researcher imposes categories on them making it difficult for them to express their experiences, sociologists therefore should use interpretivist methods such as unstructured interviews

-Dobash & Dobach (1980): 109 unstructured interviews in Scotland over women with an experience of violence, found that domestic violence soon became "normal" and "routine", men felt the right to "discipline" their "bad" mothers/wives, and women too expected this to be a "normal" part of marriage so rarerly or sought medical attention

-Hanmer & Saunders (1984): used unstructured interviews on women living in Leeds in the 1980s, found 20% of them women had been sexually assaulted but had not reported the crime

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Victimisation Feminism (2)

-Walklate (2007): Found from her unstructured interview victim surveys that many females are unable to leave their partners who domestically abuse them because of the gendered power relationships that shape and govern the women's lives:

1. Less likely to have the economic resources needed for potential independence

2. They have nowhere else to go (number of women refuges in the UK are declining)

3. They often blame themselves

4. Threats of further violence/losing their children can undermine their confidence

-Carrabine (2000): points to a hierarchy of victimisation: some victims enjoy a higher status than others, some victims are stigmatized while others are idealized, ideal victim is an elderly women or child (vunerable/weak), and young men/homeless people are not ideal victims, for other certain types of women some argue they deserve protection from the law and there are victims who in some way are culpable and other who are innocent, for some feminists this idea is tied into victim-blaming and patriarchal justice

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Role of Social Control: Police/Courts (1)

-Police background: Canteen culture, male, white, heterosexual, British, instutitonally racist

-Judicinal background: white, middle class, male, already have their own stance on crime

-Coughing/cuffing: coughing (when police encourage people in custody to admit crimes they haven't committed so they can record them as solved) and cuffing (when police don't record crimes that they think they can't solve)

-Military policing: use of extreme force, confrontational/intimidating, crack down on marches

-Interactionist viewpoint: argue in order to understand Crime+deviance we need to understand the inner working of the police/courts, predominance of ethnic minorities, men or the working class in OCS may say more about the police/courts than about the groups themselves, studies of Becker (1963), Young (1971) and Cicourel (1976) remain the same in explaining police/courts

-Feminist viewpoint: argue definition of C+D benefits men (patriarchal), men minimalise male criminality against women (e.g limited punishemnts in **** cases), gendered stereotypes are transmitted by the use of law enforcement e.g women who confrom to gender stereotypes are protected and those who don't get punished, CHIVARLY THESIS

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Role of Social Control: Police/Courts (2)

-Feminist viewpoint:

1. Allen (1987): courts often give psychiatric care as an alternative to prison as since it is believed that women are more emotional than men and therefore more prone to emotional crisis.

2. Walklate (1998): argues that women who are ***** is put on trial. Also that women who commit crimes that transgress gender roles (child murder) will be more severly punished as they are breaking traditional expectations of maternal roles.

3. Flood-Page (2000): found that many self-report studies indicate that women commit more crime than is suggested by OCS. They have reduced risk of being caught and when they are caught they have a reduced risk of being prosecuted.

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Role of Social Control: Police/Courts (3)

-Marxist viewpoint: definitions of crime and prosecution of criminals is a subjective process controlled by the ruling class. The working class are criminalised and white-collar crime rarely prosecuted.

1. Miliband (1969): states that the Judiciary are from the same background as the ruling class and more likely to side with them.

2. Chambliss (1976): argues that most laws are based around the prosecution of private property to ensure the interests of the capitalist class are protected. The ruling class ensure that if any laws do define their actions as criminal then they will not carry harsh punishments and if they do reach the court they can afford to hire the best lawyers to ensure either a leinent sentence or aquittal.

3. Slapper & Tombs (1999): points out the activities of large transnational companies and their immunity from prosecution illustrates their power and influence. 

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Role of Social Control: Police/Courts (4)

-Left Realist viewpoints: argue that OCS on crime are flawed but there is a reality to crime, real victims are working class.

2. Lea & Young (1984): argues that there are a number of causes of crime but that one of them is the nature of working-class subculture which is developed out of a sense of frustration.

3. Lifestyle chosen by the working class people to solve their problems of living in a capitalist society often emphasize antagonism against the police and authority in general.

4. Resentment can be built by police investigating minor drug offences and spending less time on domestic abuse and racist attack for example.

5. Military style policing may produce a more confrontational situation and drag people in who would not normally commit crime.

6. Lea & Young put foward a variety of suggestions about ways of changing policing. They point to evidence the public confidence in police has declined and they advocate a return to conensus policing where the public are encouraged to go to the police for help rather than the trend towards armed and rapid-response patrolling.

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Role of Social Control: Police/Courts (5)

-There is evidence that juries and judges also engage in stereotyping. It has been found that middle-class offenders and women are much more likely to be found not guilty on juries.

-When they are found guilty, they are treated more leinently by an upper-class male-dominated judiciary. 

-Hood (1992): observations for criminal courts found that even when black youths were up for the same offences as white youths, they were 17% more likely to get a prison sentence.

-The OCS may therefore tell us more about judicinal attitudes than about crime and criminality.

-Griffith (1997); argues that judges deal with political cases (cases that arise from controversial/ action intiated by public authorities or touch important moral/social issues) in broadly similar ways, argues that judicary are homogenus in character and there action lie behind a unifying attitude of a mind, a political position these judges take concerned with protecting/conserving certain values/instutions, argues that they are neither Tories nor Socialists nor Liberals, and that they are protectors and conservators of what has been, of the relationships and interests in which in their view society is founded on, do not regard their role as radical or even reformist (on occasion) corrective in nature

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Role of Social Control: Police and Courts (6)

-Interpretivists argue that OCS tell more about police nature (how police interact with suspects) than it does about crime/criminality, and they question the validity of the OCS, arguing working-class/ethnic minorities appear more frequently, suggesting this is either because they fit the picture of the "ideal criminal" or the police use racial profiling

-Stats released in 2010 revealed that African-Carribean were 6X as likely to be stopped as whites, and Asians 2X as much, suggest this is because of racism/canteen culture, Ministry of Justice (2007): 49% of women compared to 30% of men, also fewer than 20% of the police force are made up of women, difficult to study police because there are 43 different areas and each are not standerdized, police force enjoys considerable discretion in how they enforce the law

-Marxist critiques of the OCS: suggest capitalist state constructs official stats in order to serve ruling class interests, stats serve an ideological function (whoever controls creation of stats controls the ability to manipulate public opinion), function to criminalize groups like working class and African Carribean and thus divides the working class/distract from social inequalities, also distracts from corporate/white collar crime, in contrast Left Realists note that the Islington Crime Survey data was largely in line with the OCS data

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Role of Social Control: Media (1)

-Crime and deviance makes up a large portion of the news, but distorts perceptions on crime, as they overrepresent sexual and violent crime

-Ditton & Duffy (1983): found that 46% of media reports were about violent/sexual crime, but only made up 3% of police reports

-Marsh (1991): studies of news reporting in America found that violent crimes were 36X more likely to be reported than property crime

-Felson (1988): concepts of age fallacy (criminals portrayed as older and more middle class than those found) and dramatic fallacy (media overplays extraordinary crimes and underplays ordinary crimes) and igenuity fallacy (media leads up to believe that to commit a crime and solve it, one needs to be daring and clever)

-Schlesinger and Tumbler (1994): found 1960s was focused on murder/petty crime, but in the 1990s this was replaced by issues like drugs, child abuse and terrorism and sex crimes

-Soothill and Walby (1991): newspaper reports of **** increased under a 1/4 in the 1950s to over 1/3 in 1985

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Role of Social Control: Media (2)

-Distorted picture of crime reflects the media as a social construct, news does not simply exists out there, created by a number of social processes while other stories are rejected

-Cohen & Young (1973): central aspect of news manufacture is "news values"-criteria by which journalists/editors decide whether a story is newsworthy enough to be in the news, and if a crime story hits certain criteria (such as dramitisation, novelty, violence and personalisation)

-Surette (1988): studied fictional crime in the media and came up with the idea of the "law of opposites", what happens in the fictional crime world is the opposite of crime statistics; property crime is underrepresented and violence/sex/drug crimes are overrrepresented, real life homicides often from brawls/domestic disputes rather than calculated murder, crimes committed by psychopaths not acquaintances, fictional cops always tend to get their man, 3 trends worth noticing:

1. New reality  "infotainment" shows focus on young, non-white "underclass" (Neighbors from hell)

2. Increasing trend to show police as less successfull and sometimes corrupt

3. Victims become more central, people identifying with their suffering

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Role of Social Control: Media (3)

-Long-time concern that media can influence people (esepcially young lower class) to commit crimes, shifted over time (1920/30s it was the cinema, 1980's it was video nasties, in recent times rap lyrics/computer games are criticised), argue there are several ways in which media can do this (Desensitiation, stimulating desire for unaffordable goods, portraying police as incompetent). however most studies suggest a limited effect (Schramm et al (1961): some tv witll be beneficial/harmful to some children, but most chilren experience none of these effects)

-Media exggerate the amount of violent/unusual crime and exaggerate the risk of becoming a victim to certain groups, thus it is believed there is a link between the media and fear of crime

-Schlesinger & Tumbler (1992): found correlations between media consumption and crime fear, with tabloid readers/heavy TV users expressing greater fear of becoming a victim, especially of mugging, however this does not neccissarily prove that it is TV that causes this-those who are afraid of going out might choose to watch TV to pass the time

-Left Realists argue the mass media helps to increase the sense of relative deprivation amongst marginalised groups, Lea & Young argues it dissemeinates a standerdized image of a lifestyle based in pop culture/recreation which the poor with their small wages cannot afford, access to internet means everyone can see this lifestyle, helps to stimulate the sense of relative deprivation

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Role of Social Control: Moral Panics (1)

-Cohen (1972): termed "moral panic" to explain media term of generating fear of crime, based his study on medai reaction to "mods" and "rockers" who visited Clacton in Essex in 1964 when some minor disturbances bewteen the two groups broke out, argued that the media "over-sentionalised" the two groups, as when national media picked up on the story they exaggerated the violence/crimes and used phrases like "day of terror" to convey impression of havoc created by the conflict of the two gangs, and this had two key effects:

1. Establishment demanded greater action against groups, judges asked to consider longer sentences and group placed under observation, police looking at these groups lead to more report/recording of crime which support media's intial ideas

2. Reaction of groups to themselves, began to define themselves in opposition to themselves, self-fulfilling prophecy; polarised groups leading to conflict which amplifed the deviance of them

-Moral Panics usually go through a set of stages; report a group in a negative/stereotypical way, follow up articles demonize group and construct folk devils, focus on symbols of group to link with trouble/violence, invite people with moral influence (politicans/bishops) to condemn group/behaviour, media predicts further trouble from group leading to increased social control from police/judiciary, self-fulfilling prohecy from group, deviancy amplifcation

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Role of Social Control: Moral Panics (2)

-Fawbert (2008): anaylsed coverage of hoodies by media which had been banned before in Trafford chopping centre but had attracted no press attention, only in 2005 when Bluewater shopping centre banned them did a moral panic begin to be created by newspaper headlines, which led to one chief constable calling for longer sentences for a criminal caught wearing a hoodie, Fawbert argued moral panic declined as media ran out of sensational stories, articles praising hoodies began to appear, Fawbert concludes media coverage filled criteria of moral panic

Why do moral panics occur:

1. Moral panics seem to arise when society undergoes a "moral crisis", linked to major social change, Cohen citing the reason for 1950/60s moral panic being undermining taditional authority

2. Marxists such as Hall (1978) argued moral panics are used by the capitalist state to divert attention away from inequalities (1970s moral panic over black mugging), however there is no empirical evidence to suggest a collusion between the media, police and ruling class to create it

3. Left Realists argue moral panic theorists often deny the reality of the subject matter of moral panics to portray them as fantisies made up by journalists. Lea & Young note portraying such crime as fantasy is naive as such crime has real negative impact for those living in inner-city areas

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Role of Social Control: Moral Panics (3)


1. Idea has been influential and has been used by many writers of different sociological traditions

2. Also widely employed outside the sociological field, although often used innacurately

3. Muncie (1987): like labelling theory, moral panics draw our attention to the role and power of the media in defining what is deviant/normal and how groups react to demonization


1. Criticised for being too deterministic, self-fullfilling prohecy element/people watching are simply passive, being injected with a message and then responding, the real world is not like this

2. Postmodernists argue concept is outdated due to the media saturation of the world and Lyotard (1984) "Death of Meta-narratives", Islamaphobia which as soon as it happened others jumped to put a positive light on Muslim community, also people dont' just believe what they read

3. Theory does not explain how moral panics end, clear that media does not continue to create images of this and moves on to another story, theory focues too much on effect and not on end

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Solutions to Crime: Functionalist


-Merton argued that crime can be a result of a mismatch of goals valued by society and means to achieve them, media may encourage this by advertising goods, society needs to "balance" itself, promoting wider range of goals/fairer oppurtunities for all, policies surronding community service help change values by promoting more oppurtunities for poorer/ethnic people who feel as though they have a chance to suceed

-Functionalist writers see CJS as operating to look after society as whole, which means without control society would collpase into a state of anomie

-Durkheim: believed societies could only exist if members could reach a value consensus, however other values exist which can be disagreed with and thus the law acts a boundary line of what is acceptable and what is deviant, role of law crucial in reflecting a consensus and maintaing social solidarity, identifies two kinds of societies with different controls:

1. Less complex mechanistic society: retribution punishments, set an example/show abhorrence

2. Develop into more complex Organic societies: "restutitive law", making amends/understanding

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Solutions to Crime: Marxist


-Root of all social problems lies in exploitative nature of capitalist societies that punish and control the poor while enabling the rich to accumlate wealth without interference

-Ultimate way to reduce crime replace capitalism with socialism, but failing this Marxists would favour policies that redistribute wealth amongst the poor/clamp down on white-collar crime

-Marxist writers like Hall (1978) and Chambliss & Mankoff (1976) argues that the CJS operates purely to benefit the ruling class, CJS based on controlling the working class and making sure elements of opposition to capitalism are quashed

-Reiman (2006): law is based upon outlawing certain acts performed by working class, yet ignoring more harmful acts (corporate crime/white collar crime) from the ruling class

-Rusche & Kircheimer (1939): agree that laws reflect ruling class, but argue also punishments; slavery used in feudal societies to provide labour changed with capitalism to be work from prisoners, support this view with that high times of unemployment historically=high prison pop.

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Solutions to Crime: Left Realism (1)

-Left Realists believe crime comes from relative deprivation/marginalisation, and believe solutions lie in reducing these issues, involve ensuring no vast inequalities and imrpoved leisure centres/housing/employment prospects, try to create a cohesive community where everyone feels they belong, argue that economic/social reforms need to be adminstered in inner-city areas

-These policies need to include:

1. Educational programmes that improve educational success in inner-city comprehensives and reducing both the number of 16 year olds leaving school with no qualifications

2. Minimum pay legislation to ensure people are paid a fair wage so that they are not tempted to become welfare dependent

3. Reduction in wealth/income inequalities, possibly through taxation

4. Economic investment in poorer areas to create jobs

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Solutions to Crime: Left Realists (2)

-Young (1992): advocates a "multi-agency" approach e.g councils can improve leisure centres while family/media/religion have a role in improving the "moral context" which permits so much crime, victims can be helped by victim support schemes and improved security

-Argue there should be a more co-ordinated attempt to improve social/economic oppurtunities, if people truly feel UK is meritocratic, less likely to experience powerlessness and the humilation which fuels most crime, crime preventation best done by improving conditions people live in rather than strengthning survelliance, politicians also want to change policing as they feel as though trust between police and ethnic groups has broken down, they then lack info from community and this then leads to a vicious cycle of military policing

-Kinsey, Lea & Young (1986): suggest central policy suggestion is development of local democratic control of the police which would direct police policies, "stop and search" tactics as they are resented and often do very little to solve crime

-Matthew & Young (1992): plea to police fo focus on domestic abuse/racial crime/corporate crime

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Solutions of Crime: Left Realism (3)


1. New Labour influenced by it, by New Deal, tax credits and investing in inner cities

2. Police now employ neighborhood policing (consultations with community) and now use PCSOs

3. Reduces poverty in the UK at the same time, always been a key concern in the world!


1. Marxist: tries to manage capitalism, impossible because nature causes issues, "sticking plaster"

2. Tension between arguing local control/police prioties, what if community focus on crime left realism doesn't consider to be the main issue? (e.g drug offences instead of domestic abuse)

3. Right Realism: LR makes excuses, need tighter control/more effective socilisation of children/harsher punishments in order to deal with crime

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Solutions to Crime: Right Realism (1)

-Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) refers to RR methods aimed at reducing oppurtunities for crime, focus on individuals "designing" crime out of their lives and making themselves "harder targets" by investing in more security measures, some evidences suggests increased use of surveillance by car manufacturers in the UK has reduced vehicle theft, use of CCTV has reduced attempts at shoplifting/causing vandalism

-Clarke (1992): focused on this idea basing it on the notion that people will commit less offences when the cost of offending are less than the benefits obtained from offending, argued it was better to make it more difficult to attack/steal from someone

-Newman (1972): introduced the concept of "defensible spaces", arguing that by changing the design of streets/housing it is possible to make them safer

-SCP led to a wide range of iniatives including "target hardening", involves making things more difficult to steal for example etching the car's registration number in the window or marking valubele objects with postcodes in indeliable ink, so if they were stolen would make it more difficult to sell, change physical locations to limit oppurtunities

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Solutions to Crime: Right Realism (2)

Evaluation of SCP:

1. Felson and Clarke (1988): argue that SCP polices move criminals rather than reduce them, supported by Chaiken et al (1996) found that a crackdown on subway robberies in Ney York merely displaced them to the streets above

2. Marxists argue SCP creates a new kind of inequality: poor more likely to become victims of crime because the the middle class can afford to design crime out of their lives

3. Some sociologists question RR stress on rational nature of crime, suggesting most violent crimes are caused by either trying to feed a drug habit or alcohol

4. Marxists and Left Realists argue SCP ignores root causes of crime such as poverty and inequality

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Solutions to Crime: Right Realism (3)

-SCP continues to be influential since the 1980s, but a more broader approach from RR is community safety/crime reduction, which alongside SCP needs to identify groups at most at risk of commiting crime and intervene and involve the local community in combating crime, policy makers more interested in what work when stopping offending, concept of "what works" dominated RR approaches in the UK/USA

-Farrington (1995): took a positivist approach in a longtitudnal study comparing young males who had offended with those who hadn't, found clear differences between group, some of the main "risk factors" which were linked in early offending included low income/housing/school attainment and also conflict between parents/lone-parent families, conclusion was interveneing with some or all of these risk factors were likely to reduce crime

-Succes of this shown in Perry Pre-School Project in Michigan, USA (1960s): out of two groups of African-American pre-schoolers, one group recieved additional educational support/social workers family visits, and results were by the age of 27 this group had 1/2 the number of arrests as the other group had

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Solutions to Crime: Right Realism (4)

-Roger (2008): argues many social policy of the social intervention measures introduced in 1998 can be seen as much to combat poverty/improve schools/support families as well as being anti-crime measures

-Wilson & Kelling (1982): Environmental Crime Prevention (ECP) argues crime is caused by "incivilities" (anti-social behaviour), and if these are tolerated and allowed to continue then crime will increase in the areas as it seems like no one cares, example of broken windows, such disorder likely occurs when there is no sense of community and so social controls are weak, members of the community may feel powerless (elderly) and others may move away to be replaced by anti-social elements, police feel as though it is not their responsibility as they focus on more serious crimes, crime more likely to happen in public housing like high-tower blocks, this problem arises because residents do not feel responsible for public areas (stairways, common entrances, lifts)

-They suggest a number of environmental solutions, including things like broken windows/graffitti being tackled immeditely, public housing should not exceed three floors and should take responsibility for communal space, police should tackle all types of crime and not just serious

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Solutions to Crime: Feminism (1)

-Feminists main concern is ****, number of solutions to this including better street lighting to make streets safer, encouraging self-defence classes and **** alarms for women

-Newburn (2007): do not agree with advice like do not use alleyways, do not use public transport at night and do not go out alone because such advice limits women's freedom

-Feminists actively campaign for issues such as police training to be better at dealing with victims, more specialist centres so that women can give theit accounts, better recording of forensic evidence, women should not be put on trial when she enters court, preservation of victim's anoymity when possible, more **** crisis centres, more domestic abuse centres, legislation on sexual harrasment in the workplace/equal pay

-While there are more **** examination suites and now female officers deal with **** victims, Newburn argues there has been a decline in the number of **** crisis centres whilst there has been an increase in reported ****s

-In general sees patriarchy as root cause of crime, but different feminists have different solutions

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Solutions to Crime: Feminism (2)

Liberal Feminists: see problem of crime as being under reporting/recording of crimes committed by men against women, therefore their solutions aim to tackle this:

1. Introduce measures to reduce fear of crime amongst women (**** alarms/self-defence classes)

2. Newburn (2007): argues for introduction of police officer training to deal with ****/domestic abuse, encouraging women to step foward and report it ensures men don't get away with it

3. Liberal feminists acknowledge that measures have already been taken to solve the problem of crime against women, The Domestic Violence, Crimes and Victims Act (2004) means that arrests can be made for common assault, European Commission legislation on sexual harrasment in the workplace celebrated by liberals, allow greater freedom/reducing discrimination previously faced


-Alder (1975) Liberation theory coupled with Wilkinsons (1994) Genderquake means that female crime committed will rise, must assume that liberal feminists will accept that the solutions to the problem of crime would be the same for females as it is for male crime.

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Solutions to Crime: Feminism (3)

Marxist Feminists:

1. See the problem of crime as being grounded in capitalism

2. Carlen (2000): women fare worst in capitalism and she introduced the concept of feminisation of poverty to explain why women commit the crimes they do, crimes such as prositution and shoplifting out of economic neccesity

3. Because capitalism is the cause, Marxist Feminist solution to crime is to overthrow it

4. As long as it exists women will always live in poverty and if it were abolished there would be no reason for women to commit crime


-Realist approaches emerged as a direct response to idealist approaches like Marxism, this does not offer a practical solution and therefore does little to solve the problem of the neccesity to commit crime that continues to be faced by so many impoverished women in society

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Solutions to Crime: Feminism (4)

Radical Feminists: See crimes against women as being the result of the patriarchy/sexual exploitation

1. Hediensohn (1992): Control Theory-women commit less crime that men because they are controlled in every aspect of their lives, for example in the family they are controlled by their parents who refuse them the same freedom as their male children, in school they are controlled by name calling and in society by sexual harrasment, any solution therefore needs to be focused on the behaviour of men 

2. Radical feminists stress need for women to fight to highlight injustice in CJS, argue treatment of women after **** should be changed, should not have to stand up in court-**** crisis centres

3. Solution then is to highlight sexual exploitation issues in the aim of changing legislation, and recent campaigns such as "**** walks" and the anti-street harassment campaign are examples


-Can be seen as offering no real solution to crime, see patriarchy as the cause of crime meaning must be change socialisation so men don't see women as sex objects and women don't accept it

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Solutions to Crime: Feminism (5)

Postmodern Feminists: 

1. Argues that the reasons for girls commiting crime have become more complex, therefore there are no easy solutions

2. Croall (1998): argues girls a motivated to commit crimes by three inter-related factors

-Drug habits which are linked to prostituion/shop-lifting

-Excitement of crime (fear)

-Consumption of goods such as designer labels


-If causes are complex, so are solutions

-However, they should be the same for both genders as the causes of crime would appear to be the similar from this perspective

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Solutions to Crime: Feminism (6)

General evaulation of Feminist solutions:

1. Feminist solutions often ignore other social factors, in particular class, and this could be an area to improve in as suggested by the Islington Crime Survey, working-class inner-city dwelling women are the most at risk of crime, and solutions therefore should focus on these individuals

2. Marxists would argue that most feminist traditions ignore the effect of capitalism, which exploits and makes criminals of us all, and therefore their solutions should involve cracking down on white-collar and corporate crime

3. Most of these solutions have little practicality, and Right Realists would argue that crime against indivuals (including women) is a rational choice, and therefore the solution to crime should be harsher control of men including lonrder prisone sentences for those who break the law, which RR argue would offer some respite for some women from abusive partners and act as a deterrent against further attacks on women

4. Left Realists argue that police should focus more on crimes like domestic abuse and not drug offences, means there would be a greater emphasis on making women feel safer in the home

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Restorative Justice

-Christie (1977): pioneered restorative justice, arguedtraditional models of crime/justice ignored the victim and the rest of the community, and this approach has influenced many parts of the CJS

-Traditional models have failed to prevent crime and takes crime away from the victim and the offender, moving the crime into the formal CJS makes crime remote and only benefits lawyers

-3 elements to restorative justice, based on 3 R's according to the Home OfficeRestoration: offenders should apoligise and make amends for the harm done, Reintergration: offenders should be brought back into the community after they pay their debts, Responsibility: offenders take responsibility for their actions

-Sherman & Strang (2007): studied examples of RJ in the UK and found that the general public had misconceptions about restorative justice and they saw it as weak/favouring the offender, in contrast victims favour it as they reduce the fear/anger of crime 

-Braithwaite (1989): approach uses reintergrative shaming (labelling act as deviant rather than offender) which encourages remorse, and this makes it easer for offender to be forgiven and reintergrated back into society,also argues that re-offending crime rates are lower in societies when reintergrative rather than disintergrative shaming is the main way of dealing with offenders

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Retributive Justice

-Refers to punishment fitting the crime, Right Realists argue that criminals should be punished by being excluded from society, by being incarcerated in prison/being electronically tagged

-Emphasis on deterring people from committing crime, many right-wing politicans favour this view as well as call for the return of capital punishment

-Garland (2001): notes this approach, although popular, is increasingly undermined by the fact that more than 60% of those sent to prison reoffend

-Braithwaite (1989): critical of the approach he calls disintergrative shaming, as it involves stigmatising the individual. Studies of ex-prisoners document the difficulties of reintergrating into society because of the "criminal label", master status makes it difficult for law-abiding to accept ex-prisoners as normal members of society, and this social rejection is what causes reoffending

-Other problems with this approach include that ti doesn't consider poverty as the reason for committing crime but instead immorality/evil, some punishments may be seen as badges of hnour (ASBOs) which have now been discontinued by the coalition government, and this approach also neglects corporate crime

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Incarceration and Rehabilitation (1)

1. Right Realist position:

-Suggests "prison works" because it deters many potential offenders from crime while taking as many serious offenders as possible off the streets, and in the last 20 years the government has adopted this approach to crime which is why the prison population has increased from 60,000 in 1997 to 84,000 in 2010

2. Liberal position:

-Scale of imprisonment seems to have had little effect on crime rate, substantial section of prison population should not be there because either mentall ill/sever drug addiction, instead need treatment rather than punishment and that UK prison system lacks resources to do this, many prisoners are being imprisoned for relatively minor offences which community senteces are more suitable

-Soloman (2006): compared to a decade ago, offender are more likely to be imprisoned than given a community sentence, e.g 4X as many shoplifters were sent to prison in 2009 than compared to 1999 

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Incarceration and Rehabilitation (2)

-Matthews (1997): suggest that up to 50% of the prison population have committed minor offences for which prison is inappropriate and damaging, sentences are getting longer for those convicted of more serious offences because of the pressure from media moral panics

-Soloman (2006): argues there is no relationship between deterrence in the form of prison and crime rate, crime has been falling for over a decade, while number appearing before the court have remained relatively stable

-Liberals argue that prison for serious violence will not work, as most violent offenders (69%) killed an individual who was a relative of theirs

-Tarling (1993): contrary to RR beliefs, it would take a 25% increase in the prison population in order to produce a 1% reduction of crime, also high rates of repeat offending which suggests that prison does not deter, 2/3 of released prisoners, as do 71% of juvenile offenders within 2 years

Evaluation of Liberal view: argues society needs to seriously look at alternatives to prison for those who are not seriously violent, if government diverted treatment to all those mentally disordered/addicted to alcohol/drugs,90% of inmates would no longer be in jail, reinintergrative shaming might be more effective, focus on increasing chance of offender being caught

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Other Policies towards Crime (1)

-Garland (2001): argues that development in crime prevention/community safety described is part of many shifts in the nature of the CJS in late-modern societies, penal welfarism (traditional methods of CJS in Britain which sought to catch and punish offenders, but also to rehibilitate them/reintergrate then into society) has been overtaken by a more complex model which more concerned with managing crime to reassure communities than preventing crimes

-Replacing the tradional model is the "culture of control", which has two elements that attempt to change society's attitude towards crime and the role of the state in combating offending:

1. The adaptive response: leads government to identify certain risk groups and intervene early in their lives in order to prevent offending

2. The expressive strategy: change way crime is seen in society, crime is seen as central to politics and to winning elections, more important to politicians that it appears as though crime is declining, government strategy towards crime is limited and focuses on changing perceptions

-Davis (1990): studied Los Angeles and pointed out increasing division between affluent living in segregated privately protected areas, and the areas lived in by the poorer majority, the role of the police is to contain the poor, segregating them into ghettos

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Other Policies towards Crime (2)

-Feely & Simon (1992): argue that a "new penology" has developed in crime control, CJS no longer operates on the basis of catching offenders in order to punish/rehbilitate them, but also to idenftity and manage unruly groups

-They terms this "actuarialism", term derives from insurance industry, where people who work out the chance of a particular event happening (and therefore price to charge insurance) are known as actuaries, argue that in contemporary society the stress of social control has changed from controlling devaint behaviour to controlling potential deviant people

-Therefore agencies of social control work out who is most likely to pose a risk and then work against them, police patrol working-class/ethnic minority areas, while private security companies monitor shops and exclude potential trouble-makers deemed as poor, young and homeless

-Foucalt (1977) and Cohen (1985): provide explanation to understand growth of community safety, according to both of them community safety policy is example of way in which government seeks to diffuse power throughout the community, public concern over crime allows govenment to intervene on a much broader scale, including areas like the family, community and school

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really good help!! but there is a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes throughout, and you have to read some bits twice to make sure it makes sense.  

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