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Flashcards in Crime and Deviance Deck (23)
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Explain what sociologists mean by the term deviance.

Behavior, beliefs and physical characteristics that break social norms and produce negative reactions.


Explain the difference between crime and deviance.

Deviance refers to anything present outside usual social norms. This can include legal acts such as body modification and lying within the law. Crime is anything that breaks laws, such as murder.


Give two examples of acts which are against the law but are not usually considered to be deviant

•Traffic violations etc.


Give two examples of deviant acts not against the law

•Body Modification


Identify and explain two differences between formal and informal rules.

Formal rules are those written down, in the form of law or codes of conduct. Formal rules have official status and punishment, and negative sanctions and/or penalties are imposed on those who break them.
Informal rules are 'taken-for-granted' rules which dictate how we should behave in particular social settings. These are not spoken or written down, instead being learnt through socialisation.


Identify and explain one difference between the consensus and conflict approaches to social order.

According to the consensus approach, social order and stability depend on co-operation between individuals and groups who work together for the same thing. Generally, this co-operation happens in situations where people believe that they share common interests and goals.

The conflict approach believes that there is a conflict of interests between different groups in society. Clashes occur because groups do not share common interests and goals. This is typically believed by Marxists, who state that there is conflict between the working and ruling classes.


Explain what sociologists mean by 'methods of social control'.

The processes by which people are encouraged or persuaded to conform to the formal and informal rules. These may include sanctions, social concequences and rewards.


What do sociologists mean by formal social control and informal social control?

Formal social control is based on written rules and laws. The people who break these laws are formally punished.

Informal social control is based on unwritten rules and processes such as the approval or dissaproval of other people. It's enforced by social pressure- by the reactions of group members.


Identify two agencies of formal social control.

•Peer groups


Identify two ways in which peer groups encourage members to conform to their rules

•Negative Sanctions
•Positive Sanctions


Identify and explain fully two social factors which might lead people to become criminals

Inadequate Socialisation
•Young people's involvement in criminal and deviant behavior can be connected to the negative influence of family and home environment.
•These explanations focus on what they see as inadequate socialisation, including inadequate parenting and lack of parental supervision of children, and see them as leading to delinquency.

The Opportunity Structure
•Some sociologists connect juvenile and adult crime levels in terms of the levels of legal and illegal opportunities available to the individual.
•In areas where unemployment and educational opporunities are low, people may turn to illegal ways of achieving success.

Relative deprivation
•Some approaches link particular crimes to relative deprivation. This is where an individual feels that they do not earn enough at work compared with colleagues with similar qualifications.
•These experiences leave the individuals or groups feeling discontent. This may then lead to experiences in crime and deviance.


Identify and explain one way in which sociologists have explained crime and deviance among teenage boys.

Sub-cultural theories
•Some sociologists explain juvenile delinquency and adult crime in terms of the values of a particular subculture and the influence of the peer group. For example, vandalism etc can be seen as a group phenonemon.


Some sociologists who follow the Marxist approach argue that crime can be seen as a by-product of the way capitalist society is organised. Explain what they mean by this

•Laws are made by the upper classes so suit their needs, exploiting the lower classes
•Capitalist society is based on values such as materialism, consumerism and competition. Naturally, many will try and achieve these goals through crime.
•Crimes commited by upper classes go undetected, while lower classes' crimes will be caught. For example, benefit fraud is seen as being more serious and costly than tax evasion, even though far more money is lost through tax evasion than benefit fraud.


What do sociologists mean by the term 'deviant label'

Someone being classed as a deviant by others.


What do sociologists mean by the term 'stereotype'

A commonly held public belief about specific social groups or types of individuals


What is a victim survey?

A survey which questions people about their experiences of crime


Describe briefly how a victim survey is carried out

It interviews people aged 16 and over who live in private households and asks them their experiences of crime


What is a self-report survey

A survey asking people 10-25 about crimes they have commited.


Identify and explain two reasons why the recorded rate of crime may not include all crime committed.

•Unwitnessed crimes or crimes which have not been discovered
•Crimes can be unreported, for example if the victim suffered no loss, it is seen to be trivial, or that the police would handle the case insensitively.
•Some reported crime may not be recorded by the police if they think it trivial, or they doubt the accuracy of the complainant's report. The police may decide that there is not enough evidence of an offense being committed to justify recording it.


Explain why a victim survey might show the number of crimes actually committed more accurately than police statistics.

Official crime statistics are 'socially constructed' in that they are the outcome of a series of choices and decisions made by various people involved, including victims, witnesses and police.


Identify and explain two possible reasons why people aged 20 and under are more likely to be found guilty of, or cautioned for, serious offences than those aged over 45.

•Peer group pressure may encourage some young people to engage in criminal activities. Delinquency has been linked to group subcultures.
•Young people may seek excitement, which could lead them into trouble with the police. Some sociologists argue that the experience of rule-breaking in itself has attracttions in terms of generating excitement and adrenalin-rush.


How would you explain the fact that there are far fewer women than men in prisons in England and Wales?

•Different gender socialisation; to conform to their gender role, men may try to 'macho' and 'tough'. This could get them into trouble with the police, leading males into confict with the police.
•Females have less opportunites to commit crime as they are more closely monitored, and more restrictions are placed on adolecent girls than adolescent boys.
•It could be that those in authority in law enforcement have stereotyped beliefs about women and men, and that as such, they may be treated more leniently.


Identify and explain two reasons why the number of female offenders in the UK is increasing.

•They have become more independent and gained more equality, losing constraints and controls which prevented them from commiting crime. As such, they have more legal and illegal opportunities available.
•One interpretation states that women have not benefitted substantially from equality in the workplace or in the professions. Women are more likely than men to be unemployed or employed in low-paid jobs, meaning they are more likely to live in relative poverty. According to this view, an increase in crime by women is related to their economic situation and their experiences of poverty. This helps to explain who most female offenders are poor and why they often engage in crimes such as shoplifting.
•More women are being arrested, charged and convicted. The lenience of women within the criminal justive system (the chivalry effect) is less common according to this viewpoint.