Three Perspectives of Criminal Behavior

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Topics: Sociology
Description and Examples of the Three Perspectives of Viewing Crime
There is a large amount of deliberation on the definition of crime because it is viewed in different ways in every culture. Professional criminologists usually identify with one of three common views for defining crime: the consensus view, the conflict view and the interactionist view. The most popular is consensus view, which states that society as a majority agrees on what behaviors should be illegal. This view also believes that the rules should be established by the existing legal power structure and that all law should be applied consistently to all citizens. The same behavior is expected of all citizens in that group (Siegel 12). Many scientists tend to align themselves with the consensus view because it is based on one of the most familiar terms in the scientific language, social norms. This refers to rules or expectations for behavior that are shared by members of a group or society. The concept of social norm has been honored by a long tradition of sociological concept and research that views consensus as a basic fact of organized social life (Siegel 12). According to this sociological tradition, consensus exists in all organized groups and societies about what behaviors are acceptable and expected of members. This consensus is articulated through social norms that direct behavior in various areas of social life into compliant and foreseeable patterns. Sometimes behavior deviates from this pattern. This behavior is known as deviant behavior. Deviants differ from the norms and accepted standards of society. An example of a consensus crime would be homicide. Homicide is seen as wrong, no matter the circumstances. This is also seen as a legal norm. Criminals are a separate sort of deviants who go against legal norms (Becker 22). While burning an American flag is not an illegal act, this is an example of a deviant behavior that would be violating a moral norm. Objective,



Cited: Becker, Howard Saul. Outsiders; Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. London: Free of Glencoe, 1963. Print. Bohm, Robert M. "Chapter 8." A Primer on Crime and Delinquency. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1997. 115-30. Print. Liazos, Alexander. ""The Poverty of the Sociology of Deviance: Nuts, Sluts and Preverts," Social." Social Problems 20 (1972): 103-20. Www.albany.edu. Web. 20 Jan. 2015. Siegel, Larry J. SOCI 321 Criminology, Columbia College  Edition. Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

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