Sociology - Crime and Deviance Essay

1687 Words Jun 21st, 2012 7 Pages
Crime and Deviance
Crime is a set of rules and statutes that regulates the behaviours of a society, it is a behaviour or action that will put members of the public at risk of harm in one way or another be it a robbery or a violent attack. However, deviance is not necessarily breaking the law but it is in violation of the social norms. (Cliff Notes. 2009) But what is classed as criminal or deviant is dependent on certain factors. Crime, or what is perceived as criminal changes over time; what is considered a criminal act now may not have been seen as such in previous years, for example, recreational drugs such as cocaine were not illegal in the late nineteenth century but holds a hefty punishment for possession now. What is deemed to be
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The main emphasis of the sociological theory toward crime and deviance is that primary deviance leads to secondary deviance through labelling for example if a policeman hits a person with a truncheon it is not deviant as it is someone of authority behaving in such a way but if it was to be the other way round this would be considered deviant behaviour. The labelling theory suggests that it is being labelled as a criminal leads to more criminal acts; the person who is labelled as this starts to believe the label and behaves the way they are expected to behave, known as the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; a response to earlier labelling. According to the theory this will occur whether the label is given falsely or not. Another aspect of the Labelling theory is that the laws are subjective, depending on the offenders’ characteristics. Frequently female offenders receive harsher punishments for their crimes than a male comparative because females are stereotypically softer and have less violent tendencies than their male counterpart so are judged more fiercely for their actions. (Welford, C. (1975)
Jane Elliot conducted an experiment on a class of third grade children, all eight years old. The main aim was to teach the children of the effects of racism but along with that she discovered the effects of labelling on a child. She created a divide in the class by their eye colour, and then first off, told the children with blue eyes

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