top-rated free essay

‘the Cause of Crime Lies Within the Individual.’

By fosia123 Jan 11, 2013 570 Words
‘The cause of crime lies within the individual.’
To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (21 marks – 30mins)

It can be argued that the genetic differences in ethnic minorities can lead to an individual becoming more likely to offend. This is evident in the work of Lombroso; he found that the majority of criminals had similar characteristics, for example, they had large jaws and were big boned. This therefore supports the view that the cause of crime lies within the individual as their big build made it easier for them to commit certain crime, for example, murder. This further proves the individual has an advantage that others cannot acquire. Nonetheless, it can be argued that even though an individual has biological features which make them more prone to commit crime they can choose to use their build for other purposes i.e. Preventing and stopping crime as the stereotype of a police officer’s build is also ‘big and strong’.

It could be argued that society fails to meet the needs of individuals who fail in the education system, causing them to form retreatist subcultures and further commit crime. Merton argues that young working class boys come together and form these subcultures and rebel against the norms and values of society because society labels these individuals as failures. It is clear to us that Merton’s argument goes against the view that crime lies within the individual, when society labels an individual as a ‘failure’ the individual forms subcultures as they are isolated from the rest of society and made to feel inferior they therefore use what Cloward and Owen calls ‘illegitimate means’ i.e. robbery of acquiring wealth and status. Likewise, Cohen argues that the lack of opportunity for working class individuals to achieve in society creates ‘status frustration’ whereby the individual becomes frustrated with the idea that they have been labelled and therefore form subcultures to release the tension of being considered as ‘failures’

Psychological explanations have also been used to show how the cause of crime lies within the individual. Bowlby argues that an individual can become more prone to offend if they have been ‘maternally deprived’. The mother being the ‘expressive leader’ is needed to support and love and care for the child. Therefore without this figure present in the family socialisation cannot be effectively enforced and established. This can be used as an example to show how without a stable upbringing an individual’s likeliness to offend in later life is increased. Likewise, Murray argued that ‘paternally deprived’ families had no socialisation due to the fact that the ‘instrumental leader’ was not present and therefore the working class boys had no male role model resulting in a life of crime and deviance.

Traditional Marxists would argue that the causes of crime are because of structural problems in society, for example, poverty and class inequality. Gordon argues that because of poverty crime could be the only way for the working class to survive in mainstream society. The deviant subculture This goes against the idea that the cause of crime lies within the individual as the evidence suggests that working class individuals can only really survive through crime by using ‘illegitimate means’ of acquiring wealth and status. Nonetheless, traditional Marxists have been criticised for romanticising the working class and for ignoring the relationship between crime and non-class inequalities, for example, ethnicity. The chivalry thesis

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • crime

    ...This essay aims to draw upon some of the elements which make up the idea of crime. There are many aspects to consider, including the definition, hidden crime and conflict within society. According to the Sage Dictionary of Criminology, the ability to define crime is a difficult concept. It depends at what stage of time we are in and how we...

    Read More
  • Causes of Crime

    ...What Causes Crime? It is difficult to control or reduce crime without knowing what causes it. Criminology: The scientific study of the nature, extent, cause and control of criminal behavior. There are various theories about what causes crime. Theories About The Causes Of Crime Choice Theory Biological Theories Psychological Theorie...

    Read More
  • crime, its causes and criminals

    ...CHAPTER 3 CRIME, ITS CAUSES AND CRIMINALS 3.1 Crime Crime is an act which breaks the laws of society such as murder, drug trafficking, fraud, corruption etc. Or Crime can be defined as a wrongdoing classified by the state or the parliament of the country or law of the land. Each country sets out series of acts (crime), which a...

    Read More
  • The Causes of Crime. What are the causes of crime essay

    ...centuries, the one plague that human civilization faces is a disease that has no evident cure - crime. Before one can even try to find solutions for it, one must understand what a crime is and the nature of crime. Crime itself is defined as any offence harmful against society. The nature of crime however deals with the motives and causes of crim...

    Read More
  • The Causes of Crime

    ...The causes of crime seem to be indefinite and ever changing. In the 19th century; slum poverty was blamed, in the 20th century, a childhood without love was blamed (Adams 152). In the era going into the new millennium , most experts and theorists have given up all hope in trying to pinpoint one single aspect that causes crime. Many experts be...

    Read More
  • Causes of Crime

    ...Causes of Crime Carolyn Whatley, Eddie Blanco, Laura Rushing, Adrian Garcia, Mel Bravo University of Phoenix Causes of Crime Throughout history the study of what causes crime has been an important part of helping in the reduction of some of the crimes. Studies have shown that there are several contributing factors as to th...

    Read More
  • Why do individuals commit crimes?

    ...THEORIES OF CRIME Uka 5 THEORIES OF CRIME Uka 6 Can I Have Some Theory With That Crime? Why do individuals commit crimes? Society today is very well concerned with this matter. In todays time, there are psychologists, criminologists, biologists, and sociologists searching for an answer. In reality, the answer to this question is very hard to ...

    Read More
  • Causes of Street Crime

    ...Causes of street crimes The major causes are unemployment and illiteracy rate but there are some other factors too like lawlessness, fundamentalism, backwardness and double standards prevailing in the society. People around the world always think of Pakistannis as terrorists- we aren't all like that. Yes, I agree that there is a high crime ra...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.