Criminology - Causes of the 2011 London Riots

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Criminology Coursework – Assessing the riots...

Criminology is focused on the attempt to understand the meanings involved in social interaction. Theorists have tried to explain sociological behaviour by looking at the patterns created by individuals that commit crime. The August 2011 riots are pivotal in explaining criminological behaviour since official statistics show that 865 individuals were put in prison by the 9th September 2011 for offences related to the disorder between 6th and 9th August 2011. This is not to say that others were not involved, but that they have simply not been identified to date and may never be identified, however the evidence we do have about the recent riots gives us plenty to talk about. This essay will provide a basis for causes of the 2011 riots by applying the ‘Labelling theory’ and the ‘Anomie theory’ to events that led to such behaviour. Mark Duggan was shot by a police officer from the specialist firearms command team and as life-taking errors were made on behalf of the police force, such events that led up to the riots suggest that the police service could be to blame. It was on the 6th August that relatives sparked the riots by setting fire to police vehicles as they demanded information about Duggan’s death, however the British Prime Minister David Cameron rejected a causal relationship between the death of Mark Duggan and the subsequent looting.
Some say labelling is not a ‘theory’ because it does not give an explanation of law, but questions why we have such rules. For Labelling theorists there is no such thing as crime, as we create the laws and punishments by defining certain acts to be deviant. Deviant means to depart from usual or accepted standards. Leading theorist Kitsuse said “it is the responses of the conventional and conforming members of society which identify and interpret behaviour as deviant which sociology transforms persons into deviants”. This means that it is not the actions themselves that are crimes



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