Sociology - Crime and Deviance

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminology / Pages: 7 (1676 words) / Published: Jun 10th, 2012
Crime and Deviance
Crime is a set of rules and statutes that regulates the behaviours of a society, it is a behaviour or action that will put members of the public at risk of harm in one way or another be it a robbery or a violent attack. However, deviance is not necessarily breaking the law but it is in violation of the social norms. (Cliff Notes. 2009) But what is classed as criminal or deviant is dependent on certain factors. Crime, or what is perceived as criminal changes over time; what is considered a criminal act now may not have been seen as such in previous years, for example, recreational drugs such as cocaine were not illegal in the late nineteenth century but holds a hefty punishment for possession now. What is deemed to be deviant behaviour can differ between cultures, such as the drinking culture of Britain compared to that of Middle Eastern countries. Drinking large quantities of alcohol in the UK is very much accepted but if this was done in a Middle Eastern country the person would be considered to be breaking social norms, therefore deviant.
The biological approach to crime and deviance focuses on the chemical imbalances in the brain, more specifically the neurotransmitter Serotonin. Neurotransmitters have an effect on our moods, too little or too much of them can have a massive impact on behaviours; this is the basis of the biological approach to crime and deviance. Serotonin, along with the responsibility of transporting nerve impulses throughout the brain, is known as the ‘happy hormone’, regulating our moods and sleep pattern, meaning that a lot of sufferers of depression find themselves with too little of this, but too much serotonin could be just as detrimental to a person’s mental health, in some cases making them delirious. It is theorised that a lack of serotonin can also lead to impulsive violent behaviour, an excuse often used in the courts surrounding violent attacks. A deficiency of serotonin often leaves the person with an ‘act

References: Jones, A. (2009). Jane Elliott’s Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Experiment on Racism. Available: Last accessed 31st May 2012. Brunner, H (1993). ‘Abnormal behaviour associated with a point mutation in the structural gene for Monoamine Oxidase A’. Science, 262, 5133: 578-580 Cliff Notes. (2009). Defining Crime. Available:,articleId-26874.html. Last accessed 31st May 2012 Welford, C. (1975). Labelling theory and criminology: an assessment. Social problems, 22 (3): 332 – 345 Menna, W. (2007). Labelling Theory and Juvenile Delinquency: An Explanation. Available: Last accessed 31st May 2012.

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