Sociologists View on Crime

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Functionalists view on crime

Crime is behaviour that breaks the law. Functionalist explanations, like other sociological models such as labelling or conflict theory, look at the implications of crime and crime control policies, rather than directly attempting to explain the causes of criminal behaviour. However, unlike other biological, psychological, and sociological models that remove blame from offenders by claiming criminals have little free will, a functionalist approach favours repression of criminal activity and the use of appropriate sanctions. The major distinction between functionalist and all other theories of crime causation is the former's apparent positive view of deviant behaviour. Ordinary crime is not a threat to the social order. In fact, society needs criminal behaviour (and legal responses to it) to function properly.  Of course, the crime rate should remain within an acceptable limit, as too high a rate of crime might indicate an emerging problem, such as the rise of anomic conditions or lack of social norms. Overall, crime is treated as a key indicator of systemic well-being. Yet, a low crime rate is not considered necessarily indicative of social stability.  Society's response to crime in the form of negative feedback helps the citizenry recognize the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. This is just one aspect of a cybernetic social system attempting to remain in homeostasis while continuing to gradually make progress. Crime is part of any social system; defined as a pattern of social acts in pursuit of individual and collective goals and governed by its need to maintain its own structure.

Marxist view on crime

Crime is behaviour that breaks the law. While Marx did not write at length about crime, Marx argued that the laws were generally the codified means by which one class, the rulers, kept another class, the rest of us in check. Marxists recognise that for a society to function efficiently, social order is necessary. However,...
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