Working definitions of crime are context and historically specific. Drug use may be differentially evaluated as ‘serious’ crime depending on the geographic location and historical period, the political circumstances, and the prevailing legal structures. For example substances such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine were not illegal in the United States prior to the 20th century, but today they attract some of the most severe penalties in the criminal code. Therefore, crime is what the law says is criminal and is defined by the laws of a particular state. (Mosher el at 2002, Shoemaker 2000).
Situational crime prevention (SCP) seeks to reduce the number of crime events by focusing on limiting the opportunities for crime to occur. The approach typically uses an action-research model and assumes that offenders make decisions that are broadly rational. It is generally designed so that individual offenders do not have to be identified for the measures to be successful. It draws theoretical support from a number of frameworks that developed independently in the 1970s and 1980s, but which share a focus on the importance of analyzing either crime events themselves or the environments in which these events take place. Measures for blocking crime opportunities are classified according to how they tend to affect potential offenders. Currently, twenty-five categories of techniques have been identified, encompassing five main means by which they operate—increasing effort, increasing risk, reducing reward, reducing provocation, and removing excuses. While SCP can be carried out by anyone, the focus has been on developing measures that can be implemented widely by policing and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies, businesses and manufacturers, and others who control activities in particular environments such as public transport systems. Evaluations of measures have often been designed to look for both crime displacement and diffusion of benefits. Because the approach does not seek to change the long-term motivation of particular offenders, the possibility exists that crime will be displaced to other potential victims or targets, places, times, or types of crime, or that other methods will be used. Likewise, the measures may extend their benefits to nontargeted victims, places, times, methods, or crimes. SCP has been criticized on ethical and political grounds, in terms of its efficacy and the quality of its methodology, and as a move away from policies that have the achievement of social justice as a core goal.
Sociologically, four components constitute deviance: One, the existence of a norm or rule or law. Two, someone who violates that norm. Three, an audience that observes or learns about the violation and the violator. And four, a negative reaction to the violation: a snub, punishment, condemnation, arrest, denunciation, ridicule, gossip, social isolation, reproach. Clearly, negative reactions range from slightly to strongly negative, which means that deviance is a spectrum, a matter of degree.
Social control may be formal or informal. Some actions are crimes, or violations of the formal norms we refer to as laws, and call for punishment by the state or government. Whenever the state arrests, prosecutes, and imprisons a miscreant, it exercises ”formal” social control. By definition, a crime is an action the violation of which activates formal social control. A crime is a specific type of deviance. While all crime is a type of deviance, not all deviance is crime; obesity, full body tattooing, and believing that one has been kidnapped by extraterrestrials exemplify serious but not illegal deviance. Nonetheless, crimes are typically regarded as more serious violations of society’s norms and usually generate a higher level of public consensus as to their ”wrongness.” Crime is studied by criminologists; criminology studies violations of the law, usually from a positivistic or explanatory perspective, in addition to the exercise of formal social control, while the sociology of deviance more often studies low-consensus normative violations, usually by means of ethnographic or qualitative methods.
All societies and social collectivities exercise social control: They expect their members to conform to certain normative expectations and punish, condemn, or reproach persons who fail to meet them. Although the layperson rarely uses the term, the sociologist refers to a society’s member’s departure from the norms as ”deviance.” By exercising social control, society’s members define or constitute deviance.
To put some of these essays in perspective: (1) we began with two sociological theoretical essays on the broad topic of deviance (Scott and Erikson), followed by (2) an essay that narrows the discussion a bit to look at early modern Europe (Pfohl), and then (3) an essay that looks specifically at our topic for the next course unit, witchcraft, specifically witch trials in England (Sharpe). .
Unlike functionalists, who argue that crime and deviance are inevitable in all kinds of society, marxists argue that crime is only inevitable in capitalist societies and that capitalism by its very nature is criminogenic.
There are many different theories on what causes a person to perform deviant behavior, including biological explanations, psychological explanations, and sociological explanations....
Crime is usually looked upon as an infringement of criminal law where as deviance has a vast and wider approach to crime and is consequently much harder to define....
Deviance could thus be viewed as the intentional or accidental violation of the particular behavioral aspects and ways that people are expected to act within a society (Hardy)....
You can also check the old link above with "Key Passages for Exam." Do keep in mind that whatever comparative topic you choose, it does need to be directly relevant in some way to our course themes about deviance and crime:
Social control will be applied to normative violations as long as humans organize themselves into collectivities, and as long as sociologists study human behavior, the concept of deviance will remain a vital subject of study.
Karl Marx’s Marxist theory and Emile Durkheim’s functionalist theory were both significant in their own ways and therefore made a large contribution to our perception and understanding of how crime and deviance occurs and is dealt with in society.
”Societal” deviance is made up of acts, beliefs, and traits that are regarded as objectionable on a widespread basis, in the society taken as a whole. The standard by which the unacceptability of the act, belief, or trait is judged is vertical and hierarchical: the norm is promulgated in major institutions such as education, the law, the media, politics, religion, and the family. Violations of such standards may be referred to as ”high-consensus” deviance, and include murder, rape, robbery, incest, theft, alcoholism, adultery, and drug addiction. While some such practices do find endorsement in certain social circles, the individuals who embrace or endorse them tend to be exceptional, marginal, and themselves deviant. Discovery that someone engages in such practices is likely to result in arrest or, if they are not crimes, reproach, ridicule, avoidance, and social isolation.
This sample Crime and Deviance Essay is published for informational purposes only. Free essays and research papers, are not written by our writers, they are contributed by users, so we are not responsible for the content of this free sample paper. If you want to buy a high quality essay at affordable price please use our .