Sociology Paper 2: Crime And Deviance Pt 1 (The Social Distribution of…
Sociology Paper 2: Crime And Deviance Pt 1
Norm - Following the normal ways of society
Social control - The way society encourages us to behave in a good way that follows the norms
Formal social control - This is based on formal written rules set out in laws, The agencies of social control are people like the police
Informal social control - This is based on unwritten taken for granted rules and is enforced by parents and teachers. They remind us of how we are supposed to behave
Delinquency - The behaviour of young people that is disapproved of
Deviance - This is not following the norms of society, e.g. shouting out in class. If a person behaves in a deviant way, this could lead to negative sanctions
Crime - An illegal act that is punishable by law
Sanctions - Any of the ways a person can be punished for breaking the law
Conform - When you follow the norms of society
Inadequate socialisation within families: - highlights the negative influence of the home environment and the failure of some parents to socialise their children properly in to society's into norms and values, a view favoured by the New Right (Boys not having a father around as a role model can lead to anti-social behaviour)
Relative deprivation - people feel relatively deprived when they see themselves as badly off relative to the living standards of the particular group they compare themselves to - experiencing feelings of relative deprivation may motivate people to turn to criminal behaviour, e.g. a bank clerk who wants a mansion with a pool like that owned by the regional manager may commit fraud to get the money to pay for it, as they could never afford it any other way).
Marxist explanations: - links crime to the social inequalities that are built into capitalism - in a capitalist society, not everyone can have wealth and status so some people commit crime to acquire the consumer goods and material possessions that others have and the media promote. - According to the Marxist approach laws are made and enforced by the ruling class (and favours them too). Since the ruling class have property, the law therefore protects property and puts a higher value on it than human life. The things wealthy people do are treated less severely than working class. - E.g. a company evading tax is seen as much less serious than a working class person making a false claim for welfare benefits.
Functionalist approach (Durkheim): - this famous thinker said that we need crime in society! - It makes the rest of us good, because we don't feel like/commit crime. - Criminals to show us where we need laws and what laws are important.
The Social Distribution of Crime
Official statistics show that people from some ethnic groups are over-represented in prisons relative to their proportion in the population.
Black people are approximately 5x more likely to be in prison than white poeple
this could suggest that members of some ethnic groups commit more crime - or could show a bias in policing/the criminal justice system
Official statistics suggest that in general, more men than women commit crime. Explanations include:- Gender socialisation, differences in opportunities to become involved in crime, Chivalry effect that operates during reporting, police response, trial and sentencing
Number of female offenders seems to be increasing - changes in the social position of women = more opportunities to act illegally - changing attitudes to gender
Official statistics indicate that younger people, particularly young men, are more likely to engage in crime than older people. Explanations include peer group pressure and sub-cultural influences
Generally the crime rate is higher in urban areas than rural areas and in most deprived areas of Britain, compared to the least deprived areas.
One view is that urban areas have higher levels of unemployment and poverty, which provide a context for crimes, there also may be more opportunities to commit crime.
Another view is that this reflects differences in policing
One view is that working-class people have fewer opportunities to succeed via legal routes (e.g. education) so are more likely than middle class people to commit crime for financial gain.
Another view relates to working-class subcultures - deviant/criminal behaviour is a way of gaining status amongst peers
Evidence that working-class people are over-represented in prisons
Alternatively there could be a bias in the criminal justice system. Some argue that the law is more strictly enforced against working-class people engaging inn robbery or benefit fraud than against middle-class people engaging in fraud or tax evasion