Unit 2 Crime and Deviance Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Unit 2 Crime and Deviance Deck (39)
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What is the difference between crime and deviance?

Crimes are illegal - against the law and punishable by the police and courts.
Deviance is going against norms and values. This can be illegal or legal.


Describe 4 types of deviance.

1. Historical deviance - Something that is only deviant at a certain time e.g. women wearing trousers.
2. Situational deviance - Something that is deviant but only in certain situations e.g. fine to be naked in shower, but not at school.
3. Cross-cultural deviance - Something that is deviant in some cultures but not others e.g. eating guinea pigs is a delicacy in Peru.
4. Legal deviance - Against norms and values, but not illegal e.g. men wearing women's clothes.


Describe 4 agents of formal social control.

1. Judiciary - the courts who decide punishments for offenders.
2. Police - enforce the law through arrests and cautions.
3. Government - through Houses of Parliament – makes laws to control behaviour.
4. Penal system - these are the different ways law-breakers can be punished and controlled e.g. prison, fines.


What do sociologists mean by social order?

Order and predictability are needed for society to work. As part of that people conform to social rules (informal and formal) – criminal laws keep social order by punishing what is seen as deviant in society.


What is the consensus approach to social order?

Functionalist view.
Society works well because mostly there is agreement and co-operation due to shared norms and values.
We share norms and values through the process of socialisation, and these are enforced by informal and formal social rules.


What is conflict approach to social order?

Marxist view.
Top level of society have the power to make and enforce the laws they want to see passed that keep their interests protected.
Problem is the different view about how society should be ordered – upper class want to make more money from businesses while working class want higher wages.


What is the biological explanation for crime?

Lombroso, a 19th century doctor, believed that you could tell if a person was a criminal by the way they looked or acted. He thought that you could be BORN a criminal. Criminal by NATURE.


How do psychologists explain crime?

Psychologists say that 3 personality traits could make you more likely to become a criminal if you have not been socialised properly:
1. The desire for immediate gratification
2. Getting what you want is more important than having good relationships with other people
3. Lack of guilt over one’s actions


Explain how inadequate socialisation by families leads crime and deviance.

This is an explanation of young people’s involvement in crime and deviance. It highlights the negative influence of home environment and the failure of parents to socialize their children adequately. New Right approaches argue that children whose parents fail to take responsibility for socializing them to accept society’s norms and values correctly are more prone to crime.


How do sub-cultural theories explain crime?

Sub-cultural theories explain crime and deviance in terms of the values of a particular subculture and the influence of the peer group. Young males in particular learn such deviant behaviour by joining a peer group/gang where deviant behaviour is the norm such as vandalism or joyriding. Albert Cohen, a sub-cultural theorist, argued that working-class boys joined delinquent subcultures to gain status within their peer group.


How can relative deprivation explain crime?

People feel relatively deprived when they seem themselves as badly off relative to the living standards of the particular group that they may compare themselves to. For example, a bank clerk who wants a mansion with a pool like that owned by their regional manager may commit fraud to acquire the necessary funds because they could never afford it any other way.


How do Marxists explain crime?

This approach links crime to social inequalities that are built into capitalism. In a capitalist society, not everyone can gain wealth and status so some people commit crime to acquire the consumer goods and material possessions that others have and that the media promotes. The Marxist approach is the belief that the legal system operates in favour of the rich. For example, rich people who commit expense account fraud or tax evasion are less likely to be convicted than working-class people who commit benefit fraud.


How does the labelling theory explain crime?

Labelling theory explores how and why some people become labelled as deviant or criminal. Cicourel, a phenomenologist, argued that a delinquent is someone who has been labelled as such. Being labelled deviant/criminal may result from the reaction of other people (such as the police) and may not be entirely due to an individual’s actions or behaviour. Labelling someone may help to create a self-fulfilling prophecy by pushing that person further towards deviance/crime.


What are the official measures of crime levels in UK society today?

Official statistics - showing the amount and nature of crimes and which social groups commit them as reported and recorded by the police.
Official British Crime Survey - annual victim survey through structured interviews in people's homes about the crimes they have experienced.


What are the non-official measures of crime levels in UK society today?

1. Non-official victim surveys carried out by sociologists in local areas where particular crimes are a problem.
2. Self-report studies - often done by asking young people to anonymously own up to crimes they have committed to uncover juvenile delinquency.


What are the strengths of government official statistics on crime?

1. Good for spotting TRENDS - repeated annually in same way. Shows crime rates by group e.g. ethnic group so…
2. Up to date
3. REPRESENTATIVE – covers whole UK population
4. Ethically sound - no danger to the sociologist


What are the weaknesses of government official statistics on crime?

- Doesn't give whole picture of crime (some unreported or not recorded) - called the 'DARK FIGURE OF CRIME'
- Not a complete picture - lack detail on reasons why and human stories behind the crimes
- Police don’t always treat crimes the same
- They are SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED - what the government and police decide are crimes


What are the strengths of self-report studies?

1. Anonymous and confidential nature = more valid as people more honest.
2. Measure crime of people who wouldn’t appear in official statistics.
3. Reliable – standardised questions, closed, structured so repeatable.


What are the weaknesses of self-report studies?

1. People reluctant to take part and admit to crime.
2. Usually only completed by young people – not representative of all crime committed.
3. Focus on delinquent behaviour (anti-social behaviour of youth) rather than criminal behaviour.


How do victim surveys help to uncover the 'dark figure of crime?'

Victim surveys (both official and non-official) are useful because it removes the problem of non-reporting and non-recording, helping to uncover the dark figure of crime. The official BCS is good because it is a national survey that is done with a large sample allowing generalisations to be made.


What are problems with official and non-official victim surveys?

1. Rely on memory
2. People can be embarrassed about sexual crimes and domestic violence
3. Only carried out with over 16’s (children can also be victims)


Which age group is most likely to commit crime and what are key sociological explanations for this?

Younger people, particularly young men, are more likely to engage in crime than older people.
Explanations - peer group pressure, sub-cultural influences, relative deprivation and boredom.


Which gender is most likely to commit crime and what are the key sociological explanations for this?

Official statistics suggest that, generally, more men than women commit crime. Only 20% of people found guilty of/cautioned for serious offences are women.
1. Gender socialization processes - males are often under peer pressure to act in masculine ways. This could lead to alcohol-related violence and conflict with the police
2. Gender differences in opportunities to become involved in crime - females have fewer opportunities to commit crime. Girls, for example, are often supervised more closely than boys (stricter social control e.g. curfews).
3. The chivalry effect that operates during legal processes such as reporting, police response, trial and sentencing. This is where female offenders who conform to gender stereotypes (e.g. wearing feminine clothing during the trial) are treated less harshly than men within the criminal justice process.


Why do sociologists think female crime is increasing?

1. Changes in the social position of women who now have similar opportunities to men to act illegally.
2. Changing attitudes to gender. Shifts in attitudes may mean that women are no longer subject to the CHIVALRY EFFECT.


What do official statistics shows about ethnicity and crime?

People from some ethnic groups are over-represented in prisons relative to their proportion in the population e.g. black people are around five times more likely to be in prison than white people. Such figures could suggest that members of some ethnic groups commit more crime than others.


How does 'institutional racism' explain official statistics?

The statistics are seen as reflecting the way that policing is carried out and also bias within the criminal justice system i.e. institutional racism. Research shows that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, prosecuted and convicted than people from other ethnic groups.


What was the McPherson report and what impact did it have?

McPherson Report carried out following police mishandling murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Mixed impact - police put many of the recommendations into practice e.g. increased numbers of officers from ethnic minorities, recording of all ‘stop and search’, police attending community meetings to listen to views and respond to problems BUT Stephen Lawrence’s brother in 2013 complained of still feeling that he was being stopped and searched due to his ethnicity.


What do official statistics suggest about class and crime?

There is evidence that working-class people are over-represented in prisons relative to their proportion in the population


What are the sociological explanations for working class crime?

1. ANOMIE is that working-class people have FEWER OPPORTUNITIES to succeed via legal routes such as education. Thus, suffering from STATUS FRUSTRATION, they are more likely than middle-class people to resort to crime for financial gain.
2. Working-class subcultures stress deviant/criminal behaviour as a way of achieving status among peers.
3. MARXISTS believe that the legal system works in the favour of the rich -that the law is more strictly enforced against working-class people engaging in robbery/ benefit fraud than against middle-class people engaging in WHITE COLLAR CRIME e.g.expense account fraud/tax evasion.


What do official statistics suggest about WHERE crime is most likely to take place?

The crime rate is generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas. It is higher in the most deprived areas of Britain compared with the least deprived areas.