• Robs the bank for a dollar to get to jail and get medical care even though had never been in jail (desperation/necessity)
• Action and even ideas are fundamentally structure by the social contest/situation in which a person is.
• Human action like crimes and its relationship with the structural of the society in which it takes place
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE (1)
• Biological and psychological theories tried to explain the criminality of individuals.
• Sociological theories consider the wider relationship between crime and social structure, Human action like crimes and its
relationship with the structural of the society in which it takes place (society manufactures crime/criminal)
• The ‘Sociological Imagination: How human and individual biography (where you grow up) is integrity link to the history of
society. Large number of people is connected in society in which they live in.
• The ‘Duality of Structure: society and human action are interwoven and connected ( micro and macro are connected). Human
action like crimes and its relationship with the structural of the society in which it takes place
DURKHEIM AND DEVIANCE (why people deviate)
• Anomie (lawlessness. Anything goes and free to do what you want): The breakdown of social cohesion and social control
mechanisms in a society (e.g. during rapid change like war or disaster where respected people attack shops for food). No
regulation or unadequate surveillance of these rules results in deviance
• This breakdown can lead to high rates of crime.
o Russia ( a lot of change) is a contemporary case study of how anomie is associated with rising crime rates
o The rate of suicide may increase as argued by Durkheim as when bonds holding society are not strong.
• DURKHEIM: FUNCTIONS OF CRIME
• Maintaining Boundaries: some crime is ‘normal’ and ok this is because Deviance is functional ! (It is helpful for society. The
society requires expertise of the genius of the criminals as well. An example is a hacker who tells you’re the flaws in your
computers so you improve it. But as long as they are in normal range)
MERTON: ASPIRATIONS AND MEANS (1)
• For Merton, crime is caused by a gap between culturally prescribed aspirations (goals that it encourages its member to pursues
like the American dream=Anomie for him) & socially structured means of reaching those aspirations.
• In American society, the goal of economic success was held out to all.
o However, some people did not have access to legitimate means of achieving this success.
o The resulting strain (not having the access to achieving goal) caused some to turn to illegitimate means of reaching the
goal. (STRAIN THEORY)
o (Example: Jobs are available but you don’t have the means to know them)
• Access to legitimate means (education, good jobs) is difficult for poor children, so they will have the highest rates of deviance.
• Argument may also apply to upperclass crimes where executives feel pressure to attain great wealth
MERTON: OPPORTUNITY STRUCTURES (1)
• Durkheim’s anomie theory emphasized social cohesion and the social restraints that prevented crime
• Merton shifted focus to opportunity structures
o The reason was that he felt crime was primarily lower class, so less evenly distributed than Durkheim’s theory would
• Thus for Merton, anomie was shifted from normlessness to relative deprivation .
o The greater the gap between aspirations and expectations, the higher the probability of deviance.
• Emphasis on structure (distribution of opportunity) and culture (emphasis on pursuit of wealth) ▯ if a culture is all about making it
and not about how you make it)
• FIVE WAYS OF ADJUSTING TO THE DISJUNCTURE BTW SOCIETAL GOALS & MEANS :
• 1) Conformity: Regardless of the strain or difficulty in making it in the society,
they will follow the legitimate means of the society.
• 2) Ritual: overly concerned with the means (methods) and the methods to the
point of forgetting about the goals () (they will NEVER do anything wrong or
illegal. Always stick to the rules).
• 3) Innovation: love the goals of the society, they want the American dream like
cars, big house, money, etc but they don’t like the means to achieve these. The
Bank robber is an innovator ( i.e. he wants the goal of society like health but he
doesn’t like the means of working to pay for your health) • 4) retreatism: those who have tried to make it legitimately and illegitimately and in both they have failed in both so they stop
trying. Example is chronic druggy or the alcoholics ( so don’t care about the goal neither the mean)
• 5) Rebellion: feel something wrong with the goals and the means about the society that have set for everyone and they are
prepared to change society through different way (Alqaida or FLQ)
STRAIN AND UPPERCLASS CRIME
• In North America economic success is highlyvalued
• Pressure is on to make money with less emphasis on doing it through legitimate means. This ideology is reinforced by the
fact that corporate crime is not condemned as much as