Social Construction of Crime

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Unemployment Pages: 3 (932 words) Published: January 19, 2012
Social Construction of Crime

The obvious definition of crime is the legal definition of an act which breaks the law. It is a social construction as it varies across culture, time and law. Crime is defined by a society's own rules, norms and beliefs at any given time in history. Hazel Croall emphasizes pathological way and social construction of crime in the book. An analysis of reasons of crime reveals the fact that crime is a functional part of a society, constructed by society in political, economical and cultural aspects and affects the society as a loop back.

Crime is created by the government by choosing to outlaw something. Government creates what crime is or not. For instance all non-violent drug offenses are crimes that would not be considered crimes if the government hadn't made drugs illegal. That is one form of how government constructs crime. Another is that it constructs crime for its own interests. Money tracking laws and tax evasion are in this category. In fact the best way to make money is to get the government to force people to give it to you. Such as in America the drugs of the rich and middle class are either legal, or not strongly enforced. Generally celebrities who use cocaine do not do serious jail time but the drugs of the poor and minorities are illegal because they cannot afford to pay commissions. Consequently as lawmakers consider crime as a creation of the citizens, in fact crime is a creation of lawmakers who decided to limit civil freedoms by their own moral standards.

However crime could change across cultures and times. For example, polygamy is illegal in Turkey but acceptable in many African cultures. Cannabis tincture was permissible as a painkiller in Victorian times but today possession of cannabis is illegal in UK.

Crime is present in every society through the history. Therefore Durkheim argues that it could be assumed to be normal and its function determined (14). Crime unifies the community, as it clarifies and...
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