Thoeries of Crime and Deviance - Functionalism, Subcultural and Environmental Theory

Flashcard style revision cards to help memorise the key theorists for each theory of crime and deviance, and their main ideas.



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  • One of the earliest sociologists to look at crime.
  • Four characteristics of crime.
  • Inevitable, Universal, Relative, Functional
  • Didn't give a detailed description of the causes of crime.
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  • Crime exists because society shares the same American Dream,, but not everyone can achieve this lawfully
  • Five different ways to respond to te American Dream
  • Conformity, Innovation, Ritualism, Retreatism, Rebellion
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Subcultural Theory


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  • One of the earliest subcultural theorists
  • Delinquent behaviour amony working class boys due to status frustration
  • Gain status with peers through antisocial behaviour
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Subcultural Theory

Cloward and Ohlin

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  • Working class boys belong to three subcultures
  • Criminal subculture, conflict subculture and retreatist subculture
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Subcultural Theory


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  • Working class boys get into trouble because they have a different set of focal concerns
  • Three key focal concerns are trouble, toughness and excitement.
  • Breaking the law is inevitable, not intended
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Environmental Theory

Shaw and McKay

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  • More crime is committed close to the city centre
  • Zone of transition - high rate of population turnover
  • Not as stable and less sense of community resulting in higher crime rate
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Environmental Theory

Sutherland and Cressey

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  • Differential association
  • Factors affecting this: status of people you associate with, how much time you spend with them, stage in your life you have the associations
  • More crime in inner city areas as there are more people with criminal attitudes who influence each other
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thankyou thats great! :D

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