Similarities and Differences in Sociological Theories of Crime

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Similarities and Differences in Sociological Theories of Crime

Walden University

Similarities and Differences in Sociological Theories of Crime
Sociological theories of crime contain a great deal of useful information in the understanding of criminal behavior. Sociological theories are very useful in the study of criminal behavior because unlike psychological and biological theories they are mostly macro level theories which attempt to explain rates of crime for a group or an area rather than explaining why an individual committed a crime. (Kubrin, 2012). There is however some micro level sociological theories of crime that attempts to explain the individual’s motivation for criminal behavior (Kubrin, 2012). Of the contemporary sociological theories there are three which come to the forefront and which we will examine, social conflict theory, social disorganization theory, and rational choice theory. Social Conflict Theory

As the name suggests, social conflict theory is a conflict based perspective. Conflict based perspectives assert that laws that govern what behaviors are criminal and what are not come from a conflict between those in power and those who aren’t (Kubrin, 2012). Social conflict theory basically says that crime is born out of this conflict between those that have power within a society and those that don’t. Those that have the power in a society are the ones that make the laws and therefore make laws which will benefit them and forward their goals and ideals often at the expense of those without power. It is this conflict and the resulting laws regulating what is criminal and what is not that is ultimately the cause of crime. Social Disorganization Theory

Unlike social conflict theory, social disorganization theory is based on the consensus perspective. The consensus perspective believes that laws are born out of a consensus of members of a society seeking order within that society (Kubrin, 2012). Social disorganization...
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