A crime is an illegal act that is punishable by law. Deviance is behaviour which the majority of people disagree with, or which goes against the rules and norms of society. Deviant acts can be- but are not always- illegal. Illegal acts are not necessarily considered deviant.
When is an act seen as deviant?
Deviance is defined according to the social setting in which it takes place. Behaviour classed as ‘deviant’ can vary according to who performs the act and where they do so. What is classified as deviant also varies between culture and over time.
What is the difference between formal and informal rules?
Rules may be formal, that is written down as laws or codes of conduct. Alternatively, they may be informal, that is unwritten and taken for granted.
What are social order and social control?
Social order us necessary for society to run smoothly. The Functionalists approach argues that social order is based on consensus (agreement). The Marxist approach argues that social order is based on the power of the ruling class over the working class. Much of our behaviour is socially controlled by groups and society.
What is the difference between formal and informal social control?
Formal social control is based on written rules and laws. Informal social control is based on informal social processes and is enforced through social pressure.
What non-sociological explanations are there for criminal and deviant behaviour?
The cause of criminal and deviant behaviour have been explained in terms of psychological, biological and social factors. Psychological explanations focus on the psychological traits of individual offenders, such as being impulsive. Biological explanations focus on the genetic basis of criminals and antisocial behaviour.
How do sociologists explain criminal and deviant behaviour?
Sociologists focus on social factors. Their explanations of crime and deviance include socialization patterns, opportunity structures and relative deprivation.
What other sociological explanations of criminal and deviant behaviour are there?
Sub-culture theories explain crime and delinquency in terms of the values of a particular subculture and the influence of the peer group. Marxist theories explain crime as resulting from the way capitalist society is structured.
How does labelling theory explain criminal and deviant behaviour?
Labelling theory explores how and why certain people such as working class boys) come to be labelled as deviant or criminal.
What are the main sources of statistical data on the extent of crime?
Official statistics on police recorded crime are published in the UK by the home office.
Victim surveys and self-report studies also provide statistical data on the extent of crime. British crime surveys estimates of crime are higher than the figures on crimes recorded by the police.
How far do official statics on recorded crime measure the extent of crime?
Not all crime is discovered, witnessed, reported or recorded, so official statistics on police recorded crime do not tell the whole story.
What is meant by the ‘social construction’ of official crime statistics?
Official statistics on police recorded crime are based on a series of decisions made by, for example, victims and police officers, as such; they do not provide a true picture of crime levels.
What is the relationship between involvement in crime and age?
Official statistics on police recorded crime suggest that criminal activity is more commonly found in particular social groups such as young males. Possible explanations for this include group peer pressure.
What is the relationship between crime and gender?
Official statistics on police record crime suggest that more men commit crime than women. Possible explanations for this include gender socialization and the chivalry effect.
How do we explain women’s increasing involvement in crime?
Recent statistics suggest that the number of female offenders in the UK is increasing.
Possible explanations for this include changing social position of women and changing attitudes to gender and crime.
What is the relationship between involvement in crime and ethnicity?
Members of some ethnic groups are over-represented while others are under-represented in the prison population relative to their proportion in the general population.
How do we explain the patterns in statistics on crime and ethnicity?
Crime statistics are seen as reflecting policing methods and bias within the criminal justice system.
What is the relationship between involvement in crime social class and locality?
Official statistics suggest that criminal activity is more common in particular social groups or localities. However, studies of white-collar and corporate crime paint a more complex picture.
What is the significance of criminal behaviour for victims of crime?
Research into the victims of crime includes measurement research, studies of the impact of crime and studies of the role of victims in the criminal justice system.
What is the significance of criminal behaviour for communities and society?
Crime impacts on neighbourhoods, communities and on society generally.
Why is youth crime seen as a social problem?
Crime is a major focus of concern and debate among politicians, the media and the public. Teenage crime in particular is seen as a social problem.
What are the links between racism and crime?
Racism and racially aggravated crime are examples of social problems that governments have tried to tackle in recent years.
Crime and Deviance studies. Williams – ‘Cocaine kids’; due to high levels of unemployment in New York, more opportunities for young men in drugs trade.
Cohen – Juvenile delinquency down to membership of delinquent groups or ‘gangs’ – boys join these because of failure in education system where they experience ‘status frustration’ in trying and failing to meet middle class expectations.
Willis – ‘Learning to Labour; Working class boys reject the values of their school and form an anti-school culture.
Circourel – participant observation with law enforcement showed views were influenced by what they thought was the image of a ‘typical delinquent’.
Jansson – Crimes most likely to be reported to police are those where an insurance claim is likely to be made.
Maguire – Many more males, young people, black people, poor people and poorly educated people in the prison population relative to the general population.
Criminal Statistics 2006 – Women mainly convicted over theft or handling stolen goods whereas men had twice the rate of conviction for drug offences.
Garrod – In crease in the number of women in prisons in last 10 years almost entirely due to harsher sentences rather than women committing more crimes.
Tombs – Little effort by the government to keep track of white collar crime.
Walklate – Four key social groups most likely to be victims of crime are the poor, the young, males and minority ethnic groups.
Reiner – Studies of news reports have shown violent crimes are over represented compared with their incidence in official statistics on crime. Also they over exaggerate the risks to white people, women and the elderly.
Pitts – Youth crime is often on the front pages of newspapers and this creates an anxiety among members of the public.
Newburn – However, a significant amount of crime is committed by young people which adds to the idea of young offenders being seen as folk devils.
How to answer 4 mark questions
The pattern of these questions is:
Explain what sociologists mean by………..
EG “Explain what sociologists mean by labelling.”
Sometimes the question may add when studying……
EG “Explain what sociologists mean by conformity when studying education.”
The marks are allocated as follows:
1 mark for basic statements about the question with little or no reference to the topic that the question’s set on.
2-3 marks for a partial or under-developed sociological explanation, possibly via an example, in which some general reference will be made to the topic that the question is set on.
4 marks for a clear explanation focused on the topic that the question is set on that uses examples from specifically relevant areas of sociology
How to start your answer:
In the context of (insert name of topic), (keyword) means………
Example: Family section: Explain what sociologists mean by patriarchy. (4 marks)
DEFINITION IN CONTEXT
In the context of thefamily, patriarchy means
EXPLAIN THE PROCESS
This happens because…
Crime and Deviance 4 mark questions. Explain what sociologists mean by conformity when studying deviance. (4 marks)
DON’T FORGET: underline / highlight the key words in the question and then use them in your answer.
EG: Describe one way in which gender roles in the family have changed in the past 50yearsand explain why this change has happened.
one way in which gender roles in the family have changed in the past 50 years is
this change has happened because
Link a theory or concept for the fifth mark
Describe one: 2 marks 1 mark for a partial description.
2 marks for an appropriate and more developed description
Explain: 3 marks 1-2 marks for a simple explanation linked to the description.
3 marks for a clear explanation explicitly related to the description AND relevant sociological theory / concepts.
Describe one way in which the government collects statistics about the level of crime in society and explain why this might not be an accurate picture of the number of crimes committed. (5 marks)
Describe one reason why there is argument and debate about levels of violent crime in society and explain why this might make it difficult to reduce the public’s fear of such crimes. (5 marks)
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Describe one recent approach to reduce the number of violent crimes committed by young people and explain why this approach might not have been successful. (5 marks)