Crime and Deviance

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 5 (2163 words) Published: December 4, 2012
What causes crime and deviance in society, biological or social factors?

Definitions of crime and deviance would change according to time, place, situation and culture, as what is acceptable in one would be unacceptable in another. Crime would entail the breaking of the law according to time and place, deviance would be an action that is unacceptable to the majority within the time and place, but both can alter during time, place, culture and social norms including religion. One example of crime would be where a person has broken the law of the land, and has to be tried by a court of law in order to be punished accordingly. In Britain murder would merit a life imprisonment, but in other parts of the world it could merit a different sentence such as, the death sentence or the family would pay compensation (blood money). This range of difference in punishment is subject to the law set according, to the given societies and cultures of the land where the crime was committed, which justifies official intervention. Hooliganism borders both on crime and deviance, joy riders are breaking the law by stealing cars, but a graffiti artist who are defacing public property are seen by some to be talented artists, yet both actions are breaking the law but the majority who are disapproving are the less for the graffiti artist. Therefore the time, place and situation has made graffiti more publicly acceptable. Deviance is an action that is not acceptable behaviour to the majority of people, breaking “rules” of society which can also infringe into the laws of the land. Such as hooliganism but this is often seen more as non compliance within social norms. An example would be homosexuality which has changed over time, as pre 1969 this was a criminal offence. In Britain and in 1994 the age of consent was reduced to aged 18yrs from 21yrs this only includes males, as females are entitled to participate in same sex relationships from the age of 16. This also changes with different cultures around the world of what is acceptable, to the norms of the particular social environment. Deviance is subject to sanctions from disapproval to derision such as name calling, which is informal or formal by an official body such as in education or organisations, with influences over the particular society. This forms the start of social control, yet to have the desired effect the majority must share the norms and values in order to conform to them, influence the enforcement as acceptable to discourage criminal or deviant behaviour by having strong social rules and norms. The criminologist Lombroso was working in the 19th century in Italy. The country was having many social problems, such as police corruption and poverty. It was in the countries best interest to be able, to predict the individuals who would be predisposed to commit criminal acts. The main focus on Lombroso’s theory was the physical features of humans; this is known as the Biological or Physiological theory. While working as a volunteer physician in the Italian army, he was able to observe the male Italian soldiers at close quarters and gather information. Which he later compared to Italian criminals in prison, all subjects were male and he regarded the physical attributes as biologically deviant, and thought he could distinguish criminals from non-criminals by their physical anomalies. Some of these characteristics were imperfections of the facial parts he labelled as born criminals. Lombroso also included these attributes to Females but they were identified with as little as three anomalies. At this time Lombroso made a large impact on research by linking the relationship between hereditary (genetics) and the criminal personality. The research Lombroso did had many flaws, the evidence was on males of Italian nationality, they were in the army and prison which are both institutions, and this took these individuals away from their normal environment and family influences. It is therefore a...
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