Tuesday, 17 April 2012

crime and deviance

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Crime and Deviance

There are social foundations of deviance

Cheap University Papers on crime and deviance

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o Deviance varies according to cultural norms (police can arrest people in Singapore for selling chewing gum) � so no thought or action is inherently deviant

o People become deviant as others define them that way (have you ever walked around talking to yourself? Does that make you mentally ill?)

o Both rule making and rule breaking involve social power (it is easier for a police officer to label you than the other way round)

Functionalist approaches

Deviance � who needs it? We do, according to Durkheim

1. Deviance affirms cultural values and norms (there can be no justice without crime, no right without wrong)

. Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries (plagiarism / academic integrity)

. Responding to deviance promotes social unity (note response to dunblane tragedy)

4. Deviance encourages social change (yesterday’s terrorists are today’s freedom fighters � Mandela)

Cohen develops these ideas further, suggesting that deviance can be a safety valve (a relatively harmless expression of discontent � prostitution), and a useful warning device (that society might be malfunctioning � truancy).

Merton � Strain theory

The ‘strain’ between a cultural emphasis on wealth and the limited opportunity to get rich gives rise, especially among the poor, to theft, drugs etc.

Marxist theory makes two main points about deviance. The first one is that deviance is partly the product of unequal power relations and quality. For example in a capitalist society the rules or the laws generally favour capitalism and the ruling class and disadvantage the working class because of this bias working class people are more likely to be seen as deviant or criminals.

Capitalism itself can contribute to deviance in crime through ‘white collar crime’, a product of capitalism. For example ford, tax evasion, and insider dealing.

Althusser, a Marxist who supports the capitalism says that institutions like the education and the media are socialising agents that reinforce capitalist ideology.

Aluthusser refers to these socialising agents as the ‘ideological state apparatus’. He also refers to ‘repressive state apparatus’. These repressive agents of the state keep social order when capitalism is challenged. E.g. The police, army, the courts and the military.

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