Crime and Deviance

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 349
  • Published : May 3, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
‘It is a person’s environment that leads them into criminal and deviant behaviour.’ Discuss A popular debate in sociology is whether an individual’s environment can lead them into crime and to behave in a deviant manor. There are seen to be many factors that can be perceived to the reasoning behind why a proportion of society chooses to turn to crime or behave in a deviant way. Sociologists have been divided by certain theories such as environmental matters Durkheim (1964), biological circumstances Lombroso (1879) and psychological issues Eysneck’s (1977). This essay will explore research and theories to see whether it is in fact the environment that affect people’s behaviour. Crime and deviance can be defined in different ways, crime is seen as an act or an omission that violates the social standard and is recognised as punishable by political or moral law. Deviance is a form of behaviour that goes against society’s view of normal behaviour and is seen as unacceptable. The Functionalist view of crime and deviance according to Durkheim (1964) is that crime and deviance are formed through society that are not natural and were formed by humans. It sees that everything in society has a purpose even deviance, allowing people to see what is right and wrong within society and deviance can also provide employment. Marxism suggests that crime and deviance are economic factors and therefore would not exit in a communist society, which is not the case. Marxists see crime and deviance as classified by society’s higher class and used to control society in general and systems are in place to help people to conform such as schools and the police. It is seen that middle class crimes are not recognised and the focus is made on crimes generally committed by working class people so it is suggested that classes are policed differently. The new right view of crime is centralised around control and prevention. It is proposed that a family breakdown can lead to crime and deviance. The promotion of zero tolerance and shock punishments is shown to try and prevent crime from occurring. Crime and deviance is also cultural defined, this can be seen by the Bushmen tribe who live in small communities of around twenty people. Their ways of life is extremely traditional and they hunt and gather to survive. What the western society would deem as deviant is the way of life and survival for the Bushman tribe, such as using all parts of the carcass of an animal for clothing, weapons and food. The way in which they raise their children would also be seen as criminal and deviant, children are cut to allow them to be seen as more attractive and girls are married as young as 8 years old. To allow the community to survive Bushman tribes distribute their belongings to others to allow them to live, this includes food, water and material possessions such as knives to allow others to hunt. Durkheim (1964) suggested that criminal behaviour was a result of society’s labelling and society’s need for control, a label defines a person as a specific type of character. The labelling theory’s emphasis is on not normal behaviour but people’s behaviour that society sees as deviant such as social stigma. A normal social role is the expectation that society places on people or a community to function as seen to be correct, deviance is seen to be the opposite of this and is condemned by society. Further support for this theory can be seen by Mead (1934) who thought that a person’s behaviour is taught by the interactions they encounter and what they see is normal behaviour. They are exposed to what others think of them and what their tendencies or behaviour should be, so conform to this. The judgement of others leads to social stigma. Crimes and what is seen as deviant behaviour is constantly changing in the law and in society’s judgement, what is seen as deviant behaviour can lead to crime but as laws change the crime may then become deviance instead. To demonstrate this...
tracking img