Crime Is a Social Construct

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 4 (1381 words) Published: November 1, 2008
Crime is a social construct Discuss.

This composition will look at crime and its different criminological interpretations. Crime is an umbrella word which covers a diverse range of issues and is dependant upon the theoretical stand point of the writer. Although the wordings of the explanations differ, the implications are consistent (Newburn, 2007. Doherty, 2005). Mclaughlin et al (2006) seems the most relevant for the purpose. They separate crime into three key constituent parts. These are harm, social agreement and the official societal reaction. There are different theoretical interpretations of crime. The product of culturally-bounded social interaction is crime; which is the violation of the social contract (Newburn, 2007. Young, 1995). Societal responses are different dependant upon the society. Theft in the UK may result in caution or non-custodial sentence for a first offence; whereas in Saudi Arabia the offender would lose a hand. Deviance can be perceived as being actions or behaviour which although may not be criminal in nature are at odds with the social norms of the society. Promiscuity is legal, though is perceived as deviant (particularly in females due to patriarchal societal values). Homosexual behaviour, which was previously illegal, has undergone a shift in the moral attitudes of society. The moral’s of society regarding certain activities is not set in stone and it alters over time. This is the view rule-relativists have of crime, as what is appropriate to the society at any given moment in time and may change due to alterations in societal values. Social constructs are the institutions, agencies, judicial bodies and any other mechanisms that are produced to implement social order. These social constructs are not natural phenomena; they are created by the hegemony. Behaviour or activities that offend the social codes & practices of a particular community. These codes and practices may be different due to cultural differences. Legal and...

Bibliography: Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562
Newburn, T., (2007) “Criminology”, Willan: Devon.
Young, j., (1995) “Thinking seriously about crime: Some models of criminology” Ed M. Fitzgerald, Crime & Society: Readings in History & Theory, Routlege: London.
Morrison, W., (2005) “What is crime? Contrasting definitions and perspectives”, Criminology, Eds C. Hale, K. Haywood, A. Wahidin, E. Wincup, Oxford Uni Press: Oxford.
Sheptycki, J., (2006), “Marxist criminologies”, 2nd Ed., Eds E. McLaughlin & J. Muncie, The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, Sage: London.
Doherty, M. (2005) “Textbook: Criminology”, 5th Ed, Old Bailey Press: London.
Henry, S., (1994) “Social Control: Aspects of Non-state Justice”, Ed S, Henry, Dartmouth: Aldershot.
Henry, S., (2006), “Crime”, 2nd Ed., Eds E. McLaughlin & J. Muncie, The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, Sage: London.
Muncie, J. (2006), “Positivism”, 2nd Ed., Eds E. McLaughlin & J. Muncie, The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, Sage: London.
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