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Chapter 14

Chapter 14What is Criminology.docx

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Chapter 14: Crime, Law an Regulation What is Criminology?  Multidisciplinary field drawing on sociology, law, psychology, poli sci, anthropology, history and geography  Devoted to develop information about cause, patterns and trends of crime  Focus on societal context within criminal law which law is created and applied  Defined as scientific approach to study of crime causation, prevention and punishment, rehab of offenders o Body of knowledge regarding crime as social phenomenon, making laws, breaking and reacting towards laws Crime and Deviance  Crime: behaviours and actions that require social control and social intervention, codified in law  Deviance: actions that violate social norms, mayor may not be against the law o Social norms are the society’s accepted standards and social expectations  Most crimes considered deviant, not all acts are criminal  Perceptions of deviance can change o Acts considered deviant can become accepted part of society, while normal activities can become deviant Social Deviance  Ay acts that involve violations of social norms  Not the act itself but people’s reactions to act that make it deviant o Viewed from standpoint of culture o Most powerful groups like politicians, governments, scientists, religious institutions and media can define social deviance  Moral Entrepreneurs: person or institution that takes action in an attempt to influence or change development or enforcement of society’s moral codes o Those who act in deviance are subject to social controls  Informal social controls o Interactions among individuals o When ineffective, formal social controls can be exerted by state through criminal justie system, social workers and psychiatrists  Criminologists are concerned with shifting definitions of deviant behaviour and links to conceptions of crime o Hard deviance = crime Classical Criminology : Rational Choice Theory  Middle Ages: people who committed crimes / violated social norms were possessed and burned  mid 1800’s, movement emerged to overhaul approaches to lawmaking and punishment to balance crime fairly with accompanying punishment o philosophy of utilitarianism  Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham o If crimes results in form of pleasure for criminal, pain must be used to prevent crime  4 basic beliefs: o people have free will to choose criminal / lawful solutions  crime is rational choice o solutions are seen more attractive than lawful ones if they require less work for greater pay off o fear that punishment can control people’s choices o criminality meets measured severity, certainty of punishment and swiftness of justice, society is better able to control criminal behaviour Biological Perspectives  positivism: application of scientific method to the social world o focus on individual o assume once we can identify features that distinguish criminals, we can prevent, control and eliminate criminal behaviour  Biological Determinism: hypothesis that biological factors completely determine person’s behaviour o Charles Darwin’s Evolutionary theory o Shift from rational evil to fated evil  Cesare Lombroso o Performed post mortem on notorious criminal o Found man shared skeletal characteristics most commonly associated with animals o Individuals are born to be criminals o Distinguished by anomalies in hair and shape in head, eyes, eyebrows, nose, ears, skin, teeth, chine  Low slowing forehead, high cheekbones , large prominent chin, hawk like nose, fleshy lips  3 basic body types o mesomorph  extroverted, aggressive, muscular  most delinquent youths o ectomorphs  thin, fret a lot, introverted Chapter 14: Crime, Law an Regulation o endomorphs  laid back, extroverted, soft and limp  fail to look at environmental factors  female fetuses exposed to elevated androgen levels display high aggression throughout lives while those exposed to steroids that decrease androgens display decreased aggression Sociological Approaches to Crime  crime is not simply result of genetic disposition, nutritional choices, personal failure or individual’s free will  emphasize ecological distribution of crime o social, geographical, temporal inequalities associated with access to and use of environmental resources and services  emphasize effect of social change and interactive nature of crime Functionalism  stress ways in which groups in society coexist  rooted with Emile Durkheim o anomie o believed that as societies evolved to industrial model, rules governing behaviour break down  people no longer knew what to expect from one another  state which norms are confused, unclear or not present  Strain Theory o Assertations that people experience strain when culturally defined goals can’t be met through socially approved means  Anomic conditions are produced o Argue that most people share similar goals and values  When legit avenues to goals aren’t accessible, some will resort to deviant methods to achieve them o Will reject socially accepted goals, subbing more deviant / criminal goals o Merton’s theory is influential  Explanation of existence of high crime areas and prevalence of criminal behaviour among lower class  Some have inadequate means of attaining success, others have means reject societal goals o 5 social goals  Conformity  Individuals accept social goals and have means to achieve them  Innovation  Goals of society are accepted but individual is incapable of achieving them through socially approved means  Closely associated with criminal behaviour  Ritualism  Social goals are rejected but means to goals are accepted  Involved with religious orders o Abandoned success goal  Retreatists  Reject both societal goals and legit means of achieving such goals  Found on fringes of society as they attempt to escape their lack of success y withdrawing  Rebellion  Substituting alternative set of goals and means for conventional ones  Want to promote radical change and call for alternative lifestyles are categorized as rebels o Social conditions, not personalities, produce crime  Robert Agnew explained why individuals with stress and strain are more likely to commit crime o Focus on micro level rather than social effects o Criminality is direct result of negative affective states such as frustration, anger and other adverse emotions that come to fruition  Negative and destructive social relationships  Illegitimate Opportunity Theory o Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin  Wanted to extend Merton’s strain theory with specific environments  Agreed that lower classes more likely to feel goal strain and become frustrated to engage in deviant behaviour when opportunities are not accessible  Illegitimate opportunity theory: individuals must be located in deviant learning environments that gives them opportunity to learn and perform skills and abilities needed to commit crimes  Specialized deviant subcultures  Criminal o Acts that produce income  Conflict with violence Chapter 14: Crime, Law an Regulation o Be tough and violent  Retreatist o Given up goals and means focused on consumption of drugs and alcohol Conflict Theory  View crime as outcome of class struggle  Explain crime within economic and social contexts  Focus on role government plays in creating criminogenic environment o As a result of laws that privilege certain groups, produces crime o And on relationship of power in controlling and shaping criminal law  Interested in role that bias plays in criminal justice system o Crimes by wealthy are more leniently punished than those in lower classes  Criminal law at social institution is a tool to protect interests of affluent and powerful o General principles of historical materialism developed by Karl Marx  More directly traced back to sociologist Georg Simmel, viewing conflict as fundamental social process o Argues that values and interests of groups conflict with one another  Normal may be considered deviant Symbolic Interactionism  Interested in deviance and crime assert that criminal behaviour is learned through interactions with others  Differential Association Theory o Edwin Sutherland o Explains how people come to engage in criminal activity o Learned behaviour  Criminal behaviour is collective in nature and based on shared experiences and perceptions  Learn values, norms, motives, rationalization, and techniques of criminal behaviour o Assertion that the ratio of messages for and against criminal behaviour in one’s peer group determines whether one will engage in criminal activity  Gives contradictory messages about conformity and social deviance  We receive an excess of definitions, leading us to conform and deviate  Remains influential in studying f
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