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13A strengths vs weaknesses

Student assessment of the strengths and weakness of the various perspectives of crime

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13A strengths vs weaknesses

  1. 1. Class 13-A<br />Assessing the strengths/weaknesses of the various perspectives of crime<br />
  2. 2. Biological / Physiological<br />Strengths:<br /><ul><li>Focuses on characteristics of individual criminals
  3. 3. Attempts to identify certain abnormalities which separate criminals and non criminals
  4. 4. Source of crime lies within the individual
  5. 5. Biological and psychological defects which cannot be cured
  6. 6. Criminals are less evolved humans</li></ul>Weaknesses:<br /><ul><li>Functionalists – crime is a social fact and is a feature of all societies not the individual
  7. 7. Right realist – have free will to choose to commit a crime
  8. 8. Interactionists - a person is only becomes a criminal because they have been labelled</li></li></ul><li>Functionalist<br />Strengths:<br /><ul><li>Durkheim’s idea moved the emphasis from factors within the individual to society
  9. 9. Individuals are not necessarily to blame it’s the society they’re in
  10. 10. Society causes anomie
  11. 11. Certain amount of crime is functional – right & wrong
  12. 12. The extent of crime shows what needs to change in society</li></ul>Weaknesses:<br /><ul><li>Marxists - argue the social function of crime is not the same as explaining causes of crime
  13. 13. Interactionist – agents of social control cause crime deviance not society per se
  14. 14. Merton – anomie isn’t caused by societal issues, but through the individual being put under too much strain to achieve (strain to anomie)
  15. 15. Marxists – more conflict than consensus
  16. 16. Interactionist – no consensus, some acts are seen as deviant in one circumstance and not the other (e.g. heroin)
  17. 17. Realists – functionalists ignores free will</li></li></ul><li>Sub-cultural<br />Strengths:<br /><ul><li>Identifies that those under strain tend to be working class
  18. 18. Sub-cultural theorists therefore focus on the working class
  19. 19. Cohen – status frustration is where people can’t gain status legitimately so create a sub-culture with their own values</li></ul>Weaknesses:<br /><ul><li>sub-culturalists focus on the working classes which implies most crimes are committed by the working class
  20. 20. Interactionists – sub-culturalists suggest that working class commit crime, rather than explaining why the working class are stereotyped as criminals
  21. 21. Realist – ignores free will
  22. 22. Feminists – focuses on working class male crime and doesn’t explain the rise of ladette subcultures</li></li></ul><li>Interactionist<br />Strengths - <br />There are no deviant acts there are only acts labelled as deviant<br />They focus of social interaction and societal reaction as process of creating deviance<br />It’s not society that causes crime it’s the agents of social control because they label it as such<br />They differentiate between primary and secondary deviance consequently some acts become more ‘criminal’ than others<br />
  23. 23. Interactionist<br />Weaknesses – <br />Right-Realists -Is deviance really created by label? People commit acts irrespective of any definition<br />Marxists -not just working class that should be focused on but why certain groups have power to attach label<br />Functionalists – hang on how do you account for why society agrees on what is and isn’t a crime <br />Marxists say it ignores why makes rules/laws.<br />
  24. 24. Marxism<br />Strengths –<br />Capitalism encourages competitiveness and therefore competition between social-classes – most crimes simply results in class-conflict<br />Crime does not come from moral or biological defects but defects within social structure-capitalism<br />Crime changes from society to society depending on economic base – capitalism<br />The above explains how laws are created protect ruling-class<br />
  25. 25. Marxism<br />Weaknesses –<br />Right Realists – too deterministic, assumes people have no free will <br />Neo-Marxists say this theory is too simplisticas society is split into political and civil society<br />Left Realists – crime’s are not just committed between ruling & working, but most crimes are committed by working-class on working-class<br />
  26. 26. Neo-Marxists<br />Strengths –<br />Provides a more comprehensive as it merges labelling, moral panics, societal reaction and deviancy amplificationto create a “Full Social Theory of Deviance”<br />The above addresses every social ingredient in the creation of criminality<br />This is because recognise the superstructure is in two halves <br />
  27. 27. Neo-Marxists<br />Weaknesses –<br />Functionalists point out that laws like traffic laws are not simply created by a capitalist class but to sustain a social consensus<br />Left realist says Halls ideas says nothing about the victims of crime<br />Feminists would point out Hall’s Full Social Theory of Crime ignores power of patriarchy<br />
  28. 28. Feminist<br />Adler says that female liberation had led to a rise in women committing “male” crimes egladdett<br />Heidensohn said that female crime is a consequence poverty and social marginalisation. <br />When women do commit crimes they are seen as ‘doubly deviant’ as they are both criminal and unnatural. <br />If the woman criminal is also a mother then their sentence can be shortened. <br />Carlen says that women commit crime because of poverty and patriarchy, therefore crime acts as a way of relieving tensions which are caused from the exploitation women undergo.<br />
  29. 29. Feminist criticisms <br />Carlen’s research is too small to generalise.<br />Marxists would say that capitalism causes crime due to class conflict not patriarchy which causes crime through gender conflict. <br />Subculturalists argue that Feminists fail to address social class issues <br />Regarding ethnicity (Gilroy), it could be argued that feminists do not address the issue of race, and therefore feminists perspective on crime is biased and distorted. <br />
  30. 30. Ethnicity <br />Gilroy – (There ain’t no black in the Union Jack) – black criminality is high but it’s not criminal it’s political as they don’t have equal rights (civil rights, negative discrimination) <br />Black people are more likely to be sent to prison, disproportionate amount of ethnic minorities in prison<br />This could be because the black community is disproportionately criminal or the judiciary system is racist. <br />
  31. 31. Ethnicity criticisms <br />Subculturists argue that ethnicity focuses too specifically on race rather than classin the creation of criminal subcultures<br />Feminists say that ethnicity perspectives focus too much on male crime and ignore female crime<br />Functionalists would argue there is a social consensus (crime identifies right from wrong) which simply identifies that ethnic minorities break the law<br />Interactionists - if agents of social control label ethnic minorities as criminal then this labelling processes is evidently there and can be applied as easily to any minority social group<br />
  32. 32. Right Realists<br />Individuals have their own free will and choose to commit crimes. <br />Wilson and Hernstein argue that crime has risen due to an emphasis being placed on instant gratification.<br />Hirschi says that anyone can commit a crime but it is social bonds that stop us. These are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. <br />Control theory – Individuals are more likely to commit crime when the social constraints on their behaviour are weakened. The control theory is mainly concerned with identifying factors which prevents individuals from committing crimes. <br />Murray says that crime is a characteristic of the underclass.<br />
  33. 33. Criticism of Right Realism<br />Marxists reject the concept of free will and promote a more deterministic approach. <br />Left Realists say that Right Realists paint an overly dramatic, negative picture. <br />Functionalists say that crime promotes social cohesion and is therefore necessary to retain a moral consensus<br />Marxists – the extent and volume of white collar crime is ignored because Right-Realist like Murray focus too much on underclass<br />
  34. 34. Left Realism<br />Strengths;<br /><ul><li>Claim to take crime seriously and focus on the victims using victim surveys.
  35. 35. Emerged in the early 1980’s-radical left way of thinking.
  36. 36. Focus a lot on street crime because they see it as the most transparent of all injustices
  37. 37. The causes of crime need to be given more emphasis.
  38. 38. Left realists believe the reason is a combination of relative deprivation and individualism
  39. 39. Relative deprivation – people seeing themselves as deprived in comparison to, or relative to, other people
  40. 40. Individualism -a focus on and concern with the self, to a demand for individual freedom and autonomy.</li></ul>Left realists say that an understanding of the reality of crime requires an examination of four basic elements and how they react (Young, 1997)<br />1. The victims – how they see and experience crime<br />2. The offenders – why they commit crime<br />3. The reaction of the formal agencies of the state – for example, the police and the courts<br />4. The response of the public nature of informal methods of social control.<br />
  41. 41. The victims - Left realists highlight the plight of victims. It’s disadvantaged groups living in the inner cities who are most at risk from being harmed by street crime, and these groups are on low incomes so often suffer more. <br />The offenders - most of the offenders come from the same social group as their victims.<br />They see working class crime as ‘disturbing’- most victims are not rich but the most vulnerable.<br />Dealing with crime<br />Left realists agree with right realists that the police can only play a limited role in preventing crime. Far more important are the forces of informal control. <br />Young says that to make society less criminal society needs good jobs with a discernible future, housing estates that tenants can be proud of, community facilities which enhance a sense of cohesion and belonging, and a reduction in unfair inequality.<br />Multi-agency intervention – on a local level all agencies that may have an impact on crime need to put in the effort<br />A genuinely accountable police force will be more efficient since it will restore the flow of information with the public, and will reflect the concerns and priorities of the community. <br />
  42. 42. Weaknesses of Left Realism<br />Marxists-we are all victims of the ruling class supressing us. It is not just about street crime and the obvious victims of crime its about the class divide and the ruling class exploiting the working class proletariat. Left realists ignore capitalism’s role in crime and ignore the economic base because it encourages greed and self interest. Capitalism also fuels relative deprivation<br />Right realists- they believe longer prison sentences are needed to prevent and reduce crime. This differs from the left realist approach which says alternatives to imprisonment should be developed<br />Feminists-the real victims are women who are supressed by men and forced into crime. Left realists fail to take into account the gender divide<br />Subculturalists-left realists don’t count non utilitarian crime (crime for non financial gain) they would say that it is the working classes getting back at society and taking out their status frustration<br />Biological-the sources of crime are seen as within the individual and not sources of society<br />Functionalists argue its social facts which cause the crime. Strain to anomie-individual is places under too much pressure to achieve-this causes the offender to be a victim-its societies fault!<br />Interactionists-there are no crimes unless they are labelled by the agents of social control. <br />Ethnicity-black people are 6 times more likely to be arrested and then given longer prison sentences than other ethnic minorities. This makes them the real victims of crime.<br />
  43. 43. Postmodernism:<br />Strengths<br />Postmodernism view the concept of crime as having no ontological value<br />Post-modernists are critical of all a priori claims to truth and knowledge <br />Nothing is absolute, everything is relative to time period and place<br />Postmodernists see the world with an unlimited number of models therefore it is incapable of being explained within any scientific theory<br />This perspective is useful because it allows academics to discuss/question complex issues like terrorism or paedophilia outside the established paradigm of crime<br />
  44. 44. Weaknesses<br />Functionalists would argue if everything is relative and there are no established rules then how can a consensus about right and wrong be established. If there’s no right and wrong then how can people to avoid being criminal?<br />Marxism – class and capitalism does exist, because it exists then some groups are free to exploit others and this exploitation leads to crime. Also those groups who are exploited express their frustration through criminal and deviant acts <br />Ethinicity – you can’t get away from your ethnic background and so have no free will. Ethnic minorities are 6 times more likely to be arrested just because of their skin colour. This isn’t an abstract idea but a real not relative experience which becomes a truth for ethnic minorities <br />