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60 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Crime is an inevitable and normal part of every human society. Crime varies from society to society, crime can be reduced but will never be eliminated.
'Society of Saints'
There will always be crime and deviance, even in a society of saints where levels of behaviour are extremely high people will always cross the border of accepted behaviour, thus crime and deviance is inevitable and universal.
'Collective conscience'
Shared values which guide our behaviour.
During rapid social change or social upheaval the collective conscience can be weakened this results in anomie. People act selfishly and abandon wider values. Crime rates increase
rapidly and social order as well as control is threatened.
Crime can act as a safety valve at times. Prostitution serves a function by providing sexual satisfaction without threatening the family.
Pornography safely channels desires away from negative alternatives (eg adultery).
Positive effects of deviance
Positive deviants who push against norms and values can lead to innovation and progression change that pushes society forward (eg Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King).
Key functionalist ideas
-By publicly enforcing formal negative sanctions or punishments collective ideas abut social morality are reinforced.
-Boundaries are reinforced and existing values reaffirmed.
-When nasty or shocking crimes occur the community's shared outrage strengthens nods and reinforced feelings of belonging.
-If a crime occurs and sympathy for the criminal occurs, it may prompt debate and signal a change in values which could lead to law change (eg euthanasia).
'Non conformity to a given norm, or set of norms which are accepted by a significant number of people in a community or society'
Clinard & Meier
Developed 4 definitions of deviance:
- Statistical = applies to any behaviour which is uncommon
- Absolute applies to any act which is negatively sanctioned across all societies (can vary according to cultures, time periods, subcultures)
- Reactivist = closely relate to labelling theory: those in power can label certain groups as deviant
- Normative = applies to any behaviour which contradicts social norms (formal eg laws, or informal which may apply to social context)
Made a distinction between societal and situational deviance:
- Societal = broad consensus that an act is wrong
- Situational = when in the context the societal deviant behaviour is understandable
Made a distinction between culpable and non culpable deviance:
- Culpable = when the individual committing is personally responsible.
- Non Culpable = when the deviant behaviour occurs from beyond a persons control.
Criticisms of functionalism
- Feminists argue that Davis and Polsky's views is showing women as being exploited.
- Postmodernists would suggest collective conscience isn't effective because we live in a pluralistic society (we don't share the same norms and values). Along with this New Right sociologist Murray would suggest that the underclass show evidence for this as they share their own values which are criminal, selfish and lazy.
- Some crimes, such as child abuse, offer no function or benefit to society.
- Marxists may suggest it assumes laws reflect the interests of the majority.
- Functionalists look a society as a whole and neglects the victim.
Robert K Merton
Definition of strain: when a group of people are unable to conform to the values and beliefs of society. When people are unable to achieve the accepted goals of society.

The American Dream: shared values everyone wants. Shared cultural goal where value is placed on material possessions, wealth and freedom to be successful.
Principles of Stain Theory
- Societies share the same cultural values.
- Not all social groups have the ability or means to achieve these common cultural goals.
- This could be due to inequality.
- If people lower down the social system have a reasonable chance of achieving their goal things work well.
- However, if a large number of people are unable to achieve the socially set goals, then they become disenchanted and a strain or tension is created. Deviance is often the result.
Criticisms of Strain Theory
- Postmodernists may say that not everyone shares the same cultural values. We live in a pluralistic society.
Valier- 'There is not one set of common cultural values in modern society today. People have a variety of goals they may pursue'.
- Not transferable, only applicable to 1950's America.
- Marxists may say white collar crime isn't explained as they can achieve the American Dream.
- Ignores gender, ethnicity and racial issues.
Advantages of Strain Theory
- He adapts traditional functionalism and includes ideas of social class and inequality.
- He provided a stimulus and starting point for the development of sub cultural theory.
- He provided a structural explanation for deviance.
Bond of attachment theory. Suggested that crime occurs when peoples attachment to society is weakened. There are 4 crustal bonds that hold people to society:
4 bonds of attachment
Attachment- Caring about other people's wishes and opinions
Commitment- Personal investments and what we have to lose
Involvement- Is there time and space for us to commit crime
Belief- how committed an individual is to upholding society's rules and laws. Influenced by socialisation into norms and values.
Evidence for control theory
Hirshi researched into the lives of 4000 young people (aged 12-17) in California and reported bonds with parents and teachers were more significant when looking at crime compared to material factors.
Criticisms of control theory/ bonds of attachment theory
- We're a more individual society now than in 1961 when the theory was created.
- Sample of young people age 12-17 are not representative.
Communitarianism. Applied control theory to areas of American social policy aimed at reducing crime and strengthening people's bonds to their community increased social integration and prevented crime. Communitarianism creates strong bonds of informal social control.
Evidence for Communitarianism
- Youth development projects: Eg The Gladiators (Glasgow) which seeks to build a greater sense of community in the lives of young people in gang culture.
- Neighbourhood watch.
Advantages of communitarianism
-New right may agree and say crime is due to poor socialisation in the family.
-Demonstrates functionalism and it's real life implications.
-Not just an academic theory as it has influenced social policy.
New right.
Underclass don't want formal employment and live off benefits, have sexual liaisons and children outside of marriage. Often fatherless and therefore lack role models and so are unsocialised which leads to them committing crime.
New right.
Social capital- relationships within families.
Low levels of social capital means low influence of norms and values and more youth crime.
New right.
Changes in the family lead to less informal social control, women changing roles and becoming instrumental as well as expressive roles may lead to absentee fathers and cohabitation which weaken moral fibre and therefore crime is considered more acceptable.
Criticisms of New Right
- Doesn't explain why people in good families with strong bonds commit crime.
- Feminists would argue it only focuses on male role models (male stream).
- Interactionalists may say it's labelling all children from single parent families as criminals.
- Ignores white collar crime.
Argues there is no link between single parent families and criminality. Single parents are more likely to be the victim of crime than to evoke criminals themselves.
Cloward and Ohlin
Argued there was a parallel opportunity structure to the legal one called the illegitimate opportunity structure. The illegal opportunity structure had three possible adaptations or subcultures:
Criminal - thriving local criminal subculture with successful role models.
Conflict - turn to violence usually against other similar groups, violent gang welfare.
Retreatist - this occurs when the individual has no opportunity or ability to engage in either of the other two subcultures, known as 'double failures'. Retreat to drugs or alcohol.
Suggested that working class males have six 'focal concerns' that are likely to lead to delinquency.
- Smartness
- Toughness
- Trouble
- Excitement
- Autonomy (important not to be pushed around eg police)
- Fate
All groups in society share a set of subterranean values most people control these deviant desires but when they emerge we use techniques of neutralisation to provide justification:
- Denial of responsibility
- Denial of victim
- Denial of injury
- Condemnation of condemners (picked on for something others have done and not been punished for)
- Appeal to higher loyalties

Delinquency drift
Working class boys who are frustrated as they fail to gain status through success at school instead seek to gain status with their peers through acts of deviancy, including non utilitarian crime
Archetypal patterns of youth.
3 functions of youth stage:
- The development of individual personality: directing your own behaviour, the development of self control and self regulation.
- Society creates adults it wants through transmission of core values
- Self identity, who the person is and their place in society

Young people are more isolated and segregated from adult world which brings diversity of roles and morals (ie the potential for juvenile crime).
Criminogenic capitalism
- crime is inevitable because capitalism by its nature causes crime. Exploits working class which may give rise to crime. (Eg materialism leads to theft)

The state and law making
- law making and law enforcement only serve the interests of the capitalist class.

Selective enforcement
- powerless groups such as the working class and ethnic minorities are criminalised and the police and courts tend to ignore crimes of the powerful.
The capitalist state is reluctant to passages that regulate the activities of businesses or threaten their profitability.
'Street crimes' such as assault and theft far more likely to be reported by the police than white collar crime.
Strengths of Marxism
- Shows a link between law making and enforcement and interest of capitalist society
- Offers solution to crime, by replacing capitalism with communism.
- Explanation to white collar crime.
Weaknesses of Marxism
- Not all laws benefit ruling class (eg traffic laws)
- Ignores individual freewill to commit crime
- Largely ignored the relationship between crime and ethnicity or gender.
- Left realists argue Marxism focuses on crimes of the powerful and ignores intra-class crimes such as burglary.
Evidence for Marxism
Nestle Baby Milk
Bhopal disaster- Union carbide turned off warnings and cautions whilst knowing there were problems. Leak of toxic gas, over 20,000 died and over half a million in contact. Offered £470 million to government for compensation.
Neo Marxism
Believe capitalist inequality is key to understanding crime and the ruling class will always attempt to restore hegemony in times of societal unrest. Criminals choose to break the law and crime is a meaningful act.
Taylor, Watson and Young- The New Criminology
The new criminology.
Believe crime is a voluntary act, often has a political move, for example to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.
Evaluation of Neo Marxism
-Feminists criticise The New Criminology for being 'gender blind'.
- Ignores white collar crime.
- Left Realists say it romanticises working class criminals as 'Robin Hoods'
Argued that in a system that is driven by profit over human needs and results in a polarised society, he saw deprivation as a key motivating factor behind crime.
Undertook a study of social elites in Seattle and found connections between organised crime and politicians, senior police officers and businessmen. Found evidence of widespread corruption whereby these illegal activities were ignored.
Coined the phrase 'white collar crime' when studying 70 large corporations in the USA. He found that laws were violated but rarely prosecuted because crimes were hard to detect or invisible as people didn't know they were victims.
Estimated the cost of conventional crime was 3 to 4 billion compared to 40 billion for white-collar crime. The value of corporate crime grossly exceeds that of a conventional crime.
Michaelowski and Kramer
Argued that globalised economy firms are attracted to countries that have weak enforcement of health and safety and pollution controls for production. This policy is known as law evasion.
Hall et al
Policing the crisis. Research into mugging in the 1970s. It was felt possible proletariat may arise so moral panic about black mugging was manipulated to justify greater police power, the right to stop and search people.
Phil Cohen
Studied the emergence of mods and rockers and concluded that youth subcultures were a symbolic solution to wider conflict stemming from diminished employment prospects, housing policies and dislocation and decline of working-class community.
Paul Corrigan
Studied a group of working-class males and Sutherland. Aggressive and violent youth styles was seen as a way of expressing and transforming frustrations of working-class you e.g. compulsory schooling
Paul Willis
In his study of counter school culture found boys from working class would act disobediently as they knew they would end up in a dead end job anyway.
James Q Wilson
Rational choice theory. Getting rid of poverty will not reduce crime, many poor people don't commit crime. Crime comes from rational calculation (freewill) crime will occur if the benefits exceed the costs and getting caught is considered unlikely. Currently the perceived cost of crime are low and that is why crime is increasing.
Wilson and Kelling
Broken window thesis. When social control is absent, antisocial behaviour and crime spirals out of control. By preventing the first window being smashed, the rest are likely to be saved.
Right realist policy recommendations
1. Zero tolerance policing– New York City's 'zero tolerance approach' to policing during the 1980s and 1990s. Drunks, prostitutes, muggers, vandalism, drug addiction. Crime rates fell dramatically.
2. Target hardening or situational crime prevention. – CCTV, lockable windows, security guards, Street lightening, slow dry paint, white noise.
3. Strengthening local communities to fight crime and introduction of new legal powers. - Police 'on the beat' and visible, ASBO's, curfew and Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
Right realist theory criticisms
– Focus on working class backstreet crime.
- ignores white-collar crime.
- expensive to put into place.
- crime has decreased.
- doesn't explain why people commit crime.
Jock Young et al (Lea)
Explain crime 3 key concepts:
- relative deprivation: Rising crime is linked to rising expectations of high standards of living combined with restricted opportunities to achieve this.
- Subcultures: Groups develop lifestyles to cope with relative deprivation and subcultures begin to form.
- Marginalisation: groups who are not represented politically or who don't have regular employment use violence and rioting to voice their resentment and 'to be heard'.

The poor, the deprived, minority groups and those living in inner cities face higher risks of crime.
Kinsley et al
There are flaws in policing, including the decline in public confidence in the police – therefore police have to resort to military and surveillance techniques which alienate communities further
Left realist policy recommendations
– Increase benefits
– Increase employment/employment schemes
- Have more youth groups
- Less intimidating police, community support officers
- More ethnic representation within the police
Left realist criticisms
- Hard to politically voice youths
- Ignores white-collar crime (Marxist)
-Already have a generous welfare state (New Right)
-Negative labelling of police (if police are too lenient they lose control and authority)
-Justifies crime and makes it seem acceptable
- Not everyone who suffers deprivation turns to crime