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Topic 3: Crime and Deviation Crime and Deviation.

Course Code
Adam Green

of 3
SOC103F1 A. Green. Notes edited by Eva Wu
Topic 3 Crime and Deviances (Week 3 Lecture + NS chp14 + NQ chp23-24)
Deviances: breaking a norm, eliciting a negative reaction from others;
Crimes: breaking a law;
Difference in the rule-breaking qualities;
Types of deviance and crime by seriousness
Consensus crime;
Conflict crime;
Social deviation;
Social diversion.
e.g. 1 Male Initiation Rites in Papa New Guinea
-- Bleed out his mothers blood;
-- Swallow a male’s sperm;
e.g.2 1992 Nova Scotia Mine Disaster (26 death);
-- who has the main responsibility? The mine owner?
-- In Canada, there are 40% more deaths in industrial accidents than in homicide;
Are these Crimes?
The Definition of Crimes are not by intrinsic natures of the acts, but how society define those acts.
Power is crucial in constructing the structure of crime & deviances
the ability to carry out his or her own will despite resistance.
e.g.3 Crimes against women:
-- rape wasn’t considered a serious crime in older times; rape law wasn’t systematically taught until 1970s;
-- little interests; little data was collected on the issue;
Whats changed?
-- rape crimes are systematically defined (married rape; acquaintance rape; simple rape, etc. );
-- rape laws are taught in law school;
-- data on rape crimes, sexual harassment are collected and analyzed;
Why is it changed?
-- men have more power than women, thus men have more power to define crimes.
-- women’s social positions are greatly improved; more economic and political rights;
-- The social definition of crime has changed because of the changing distribution of power between men
and women;
e.g. 4 White Collar Crime & Street Crime(WC & SC)
White collar crime: illegal acts committed by a person of respectability and high social status;
Street crime: include arson, burglary, robbery, assault, and other illegal acts;
committed disproportionately by people from lower classes.
-- WC costs the society more than SC;
-- WC are rarely convicted/prosecuted;
/ Measure of seriousness:
1. how harmful the act in question is deemed to be;
2. how much agreement there is that the behavior is wrong;
3. the severity of the sanction, or punishment, imposed on
that behavior;
SOC103F1 A. Green. Notes edited by Eva Wu
-- WC tends to take place privately; difficult to detect;
-- WC are often involved with large corporations that can hire experts (attorneys; law makers; public
relation workers;) to “cover” the crime; (wealthy and powerful);
In contrast with the rape crimes which have changed a great deal, White collar crimes hardly change
because the upper and wealthy class are no less powerful than before.
Crime Rate Statistics on crime rates may not be accurate:
a. a lot of crimes are unreported
-- victims are reluctant to report the crime for fear of humiliations;
-- the authority choose to report certain kinds of crime and ignore certain kinds;
-- victimless crimes that are not reported (prostitution);
-- white collar crimes are often excluded;
b. surveys are often conducted as supplements to crime rates.
e.g. 5 unreliable crime rates: Over representation of the Black community in crime rates:
-- Racial differences in police stop and search practices are actually greatest among populations who have
low levels of criminal behavior;
-- Because the black community is subject to much greater police surveillance, they are much more likely to
be caught when they break the law than white people who engage in the same forms of criminal activity;
-- statistics produced by such biased search practices would probably be used to justify the use of racial
profiling; it tends to reinforce police beliefs that their profiling strategy was correct;
-- Racial profiling, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy;
Analysis regarding to graphs on slide#9,#12#15:
#9 Observation: during 1962-2006, the highest crime rate in Canada occurred at 1991, and declined
#12 the police force was decreasing after 1991:
decreased police = decreased (reported)crime?
#15 one account of the crime rate decline after 1991: the legalization of abortions in 1978.
Most convicted criminals are young male between 18 and 24.
The abortion is legalized in 1978 less young male was born in and after 1978
less 18-24 male in and after 1991 crime rate declines after 1991.
Correlates of Crime (Correlate: phenomenon that is associated with another phenomenon)
Age: most arrested in early 20s
Gender: male;
Class & social status (controversial)
Race (controversial)
Race and Crime
e.g.6 aboriginal and black population, which are 8.1% of the total population in Toronto, account for 23% of
the crimes convicted in Toronto.
How do we explain the racial distribution in crimes?
a. The justice system is biased.
-- In Canada, the black community is 4 times more likely to be stopped and searched on the road;
b. Age (black population is on average younger);
c. Higher unemployment, lower income, lower standards of living for minority groups;
SOC103F1 A. Green. Notes edited by Eva Wu
The Medicalization of deviance:
Medical definitions of deviant behaviour are becoming more prevalent. (e.g. alcoholism; overeating);
--What used to be called deliberate deviance are now becoming voluntary deviance
(mental problem; psychological disorder);
-- The definition of deviant behaviours has changed from a “sin” to an “illegal act” to a “sickness”
(e.g. homosexuality; masturbation);
-- The medicalization of deviance reaches its peak at 1950s (Edmund Bergler);
(297 recorded mental disorders)
-- Agents of social controls can work together
(Bishop Walker combination of “scriptures” and the medicine);
-- Heated debates during 1970s & 1980s on the validity of psychological disorders and mental illness;
Reasons of the Medicalization of deviance:
-- increased stress due to the heavy work load and burdens in life;
-- North American culture predisposes people to define social problems “scientifically.
-- Various professional organizations have an interest in inflating the number and scope of mental disorders
to increase the patient load and increase their profits;
Insight of the Medicalization of Deviance
-- Structure of deviance can change during time even if the object itself has not changed;
-- The Medicalization of deviance is a social and political process;
what we consider a deviance is largely determined by popular opinions and ideology;
Imprisonment & Death Penalty get tough on crimes
--1960s-70s: popular belief that criminals can be re-taught and re-trained to be productive citizens again;
--Now: criminals are incapable and revengeful, should be treated harshly;
Moral panic: Extreme reactions over crime and deviances
Since crime rate is actually dropping after 1991, Why panic? Who benefits from the panic?
-- Mass media (TV Program, movies) stimulate more panic;
-- Crime prevention and police enforcement are industries, who seek to expand their industries, benefit
and flourish from the panic;
-- Criminal justice system is a bureaucracy, and moral panic helps secure their jobs;
-- Political & Cultural climate (“get tough policy”)
Theories of Crime and Deviance:
-- Strain theory: crime caused by social pressure;
a. income inequality;
b. lower class male youth thwarted ambition;
c. access to deviant opportunities;
-- Social learning theories: crimes as the result of learning from other deviant behaviour
-- Control theory: crime as a result of weak internal and external control;
-- Routine activities theory:
a. motivated offender;
b. suitable target ;
c. the absence of a capable guardian;