Social construction of crime Essay

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The essay focuses on the societal building of offense, and the possible grounds for these societal buildings. In the first subdivision, the essay explains what offense is, and the constructionist position theory. In the Second subdivision my essay focuses on the offense as socially constructed and why it is socially constructed. In the 3rd subdivision essay explains, three degrees of account in the survey of pervert and condemnable behavior. In the concluding subdivision, it focuses on the historical theoretical periods, which plays an of import function in revitalizing past finds.

Crime is a term that refers to many types of misconduct that is forbidden by jurisprudence. There are a figure of different grounds as to why offense can be viewed as a societal building. There can non be ‘social jobs ‘ that are non the merchandise of societal building – naming, labelling, specifying and mapping them into topographic point – through which we can ‘make sense ‘ of them ‘ ( Clarke, 2001 ) . In this essay I will explicate what is societal building, besides what offense is, and why we think, that offense is socially constructed. Furthermore, I will explicate how media construct offense and the stigma of black offense. In the last paragraph I will research the importance of Marxist and Durkheim ‘s theories on the outgrowth of offense.

There is no uncertainty that offense is socially constructed. The constructionist position draws on a really different sociological heritage, one that treats society as a matrix of significance. It accords a cardinal function to the procedures of constructing, bring forthing and go arounding significances. Within this position, we can non hold on world in a direct and direct manner Reality is ever mediated by intending ( John Clarke p.6 ) . Indeed, some of its advocates argue that what we experience is ‘the societal building of world ‘ ( Berger, 1967 ) . How something or person is named, identified and placed within a map of the societal orders has profound effects for how we act towards it or them ( Becker, 1963 ) .

Public concern over offense relates chiefly to larceny and force, which are regarded as being serious plenty to justify sustained attending from the constabulary. This concern, reflected in periodic moral terrors, tends to guarantee that many of those who are involved in larceny and condemnable force do so as a signifier of secondary divergence. As a consequence, many of them develop a condemnable individuality ( Becker, H. S, 1963 ) .

The national British offense study ( BCS ) studies showed that the hazard of being victims of offense is shaped by vicinity, life style, age, gender and ethnicity. BCS confirm that the hazard of being a victim of contact offense are highest for work forces those aged under 30, those populating in intercity countries and those populating in in private rented adjustment. Noon the less harmonizing to the BCS it is often those who are least at hazard of offense who are most dying about it, notably older people and adult females ( May et al,2009 ) .

The really good illustration of how offense can be socially constructed is ‘Black Crime ‘ ( McLaughlin, 264 ) . During the early 1970s indicated, that the media has continued to project an image of Britain as a white society ( Hartman 1974 ) . Crime and criminalism came to be the cardinal motive that constructed black people as a job presence, and besides meaning that they were non truly British ( McLaughlin, 264 ) . Gilroy ( 1987 ) has added to this by analyzing discourses on race, offense and states. Percepts of the ‘weakness ‘ of black civilization and household life, sometimes explained by absence of a male parent or authorization figure, or more crudely, by a deficiency of regard for the Law and British tradition of civility, served to specify black people as ‘lesser breeds without the Law, as ‘the others ‘ who stands outside what is meant to be British ( Gilroy, 1987 ) . However the significance of the drawn-out run that led to the enquiry into the slaying of Stephen Lawrence can non be overstated. Dominant representations of black people as a ‘problem ‘ for white British society have been successfully challenged ( Murji, 274 ) .

The media is the most powerful administration which does a large impact on societal building of the offense. The importance of the intelligence media in bordering the public apprehension of societal jobs is widely recognized ( McLaughlin, 263 ) . Research in many states confirms that offense studies are among the most headlines catching of intelligence trade goods. It is besides suggested that there is wide correspondence between the images of criminalism articulated in the intelligence media and the reading for this ( Murji, 264 ) . Such as media presentation of the information reinforces societal building of the offense ( McLaughlin et al, 264 ) .

There are three degrees of account in the survey of pervert and condemnable behavior. A first degree of account is concerned with the being of the many different signifiers of human behavior that occur in any society ( Becker, 1963 ) . Biology may lend towards an account of this diverseness, but it can ne’er supply the whole account. It is ever necessary to take history of procedures of socialisation ( Becker, 1963 ) . Biological theory of offense, reasoning that any association between physical features and their behavior can be explained ( Young 1999 ) . Harmonizing to Young, lower working category kids who are more likely to be involved, in the offense, are besides by virtuousness of diet, continual manual labor, physical fittingness and strength, more likely to be muscular ( Young 1999, 387 ) .Young claims that males chromosome could take to behaviour that to others it would look uneven, and this differences may except them from normal societal life, which in bend may take them to offense. However harmonizing to Kelly, behaviour attributed to biological causes may non necessary lead to offense. The biochemistry of the organic structure may impact behavior as he points out for illustration A Diabetic individual, without recent insulin injection may go tense, abruptly tempered, but his behavior does non represent a condemnable act ( Haralambos 1999 ) . A 2nd degree of account is concerned with the fluctuation in norms between societal groups, as manifested peculiarly in cultural and subculture differences ( Becker, 1963 ) . Lea and Young stress out that offense is merely one facet, though by and large a little one, of the procedure of cultural version to subjugation. Unlike Gilroy, they see West Indian offense as a response to status in Britain instead than as a continuance of traditions from the West Indies ( Lea el at.1999, 428 ) . Socialization takes topographic point within peculiar societal groups, and it is the norms of these groups that provide the criterions for the designation of peculiar sorts of behavior as condemnable ( Becker, 1963 ) . The 3rd, and concluding, degree of account is concerned with the ways in which peculiar persons are identified as felons by others and so come to develop a condemnable individuality. This is a affair of societal reaction and control ( Becker, H,1963 ) .

In add-on to understand societal building of offense, it is really of import to look back at historical theoretical periods, which plays an of import functions in revitalizing past finds, seting new emphasis on the reading of events and associating these to current occurrences ( Jock Young, 307 ) .

First of all I would wish to look at Marxist theory, where he sees offense being endemic in the societal order. Harmonizing to Marxism, work forces make their ain history, but they do non do it merely as they please: they do non do it under fortunes chosen by themselves, but under fortunes directed encountered, given and transmitted from the yesteryear ( Marx, 1969, p.360 ) . Marxist models have developed a Marxist theory of offense. From Marx positions offense is seen mostly as the merchandise of capitalist economy, with condemnable and antisocial behavior declarative mood of the contradictions and jobs built-in in the capitalist system ( Marsh, 1997, 519 ) . The basic motive of capitalist economy, such as accent on philistinism and self- enrichment, promote self-interested, anti-social and, by deduction, condemnable behavior ( Marsh, 1997, 519 ) . Marxist s argues that concern offense is mostly ignored by the legal system. There are some good publicised exclusions, but these be given merely to reenforce the feeling that felons are chiefly from the working categories and that concern felons are non ‘real ‘ felons – they are merely making what everyone else does ( Marsh,1997,519 ) . Marxist statements suggest that capitalist economy produces the conditions that generate condemnable behavior. Harmonizing to him, offense occurs because of economic want and because of the contradictions that are evident in capitalist society. Propertyless offense is a rebellion against inequality and against the system that uses the legal process- including the Law, the constabulary, tribunals and prison as arms in a category war ( Marsh, 1997, 522 ) .

Harmonizing to Durkheim ‘s offense theory, he points out two statements on offense growing. The first statement is, that modern industrial urban societies encourage a province of ‘egoism ‘ which is contrary to the care of societal solidarity and to conformance to Law, and second is, that in periods of rapid societal alteration ‘anomies ‘ occurs. By this he meant an ‘anomic ‘ disordered society missing effectual signifiers of societal control, and thereby taking to a province of separately perceived formlessness ( Frank Heathcote, 347 ) . Durkheim statement ‘s that offense is inevitable and functional does non explicate the causes of offense or why certain people are more likely to prosecute in, condemnable activities than others ( Frank Heathcote, 348 ) . Sing to Durkheim, offense is present in all types of socially, and that offense is higher in more industrialized states ( Haralambos 1999,389 ) . Durkheim explains why he sees offense inevitable, he explains that it is inevitable because non every member of society can be every bit committed to the corporate sentiments, and that it is impossible for all to be likewise ( Holborn 1999.389 ) . He besides explains offense as being functional, and that its map non to take offense in society, but to keep the corporate sentiments at their necessary degree of strength. Durkheim believed that without penalty the corporate sentiments would lose their force to command behavior and offense rate would go dysfunctional. Durkheim position that healthy society requires both offense and penalty ( Haralambos. 1999, 390 ) . More late functionalist theories, based on the impression of there being a general consensus of values and norms, have focused on causes of condemnable behavior.

Functionalist theories of offense tend to presume that there is general consensus within society over what is right and incorrect behavior. The interactionist attack inquiries this premise ; it does non see felons as basically different from so called ‘normal ‘ people. Many people commit condemnable action and it is hence non easy to keep a clear differentiation between the felon in footings of peculiar personal features ( Marsh, 1997, 517 ) .

To summary, in my essay foremost I discussed that, offense has been seen as a response to the defeat felt by those who can non accomplish the norms or ends of society. Second, how dominant representations of black people as jobs for white people society have been successfully challenged. Third, that the media is the most powerful administration which does a large impact on societal building of the offense, and eventually I argued two most of import theories, which are still in usage.


Becker. H. S. ( 1963 ) ,Foreigners: Surveies in the Sociology of Deviance( New York: Free Press ) .

Fitzgerald. M. EL at ( 1990 ) . Social Disorganisation theories. Heathcote F ( 1990 ) . Crime and Society. London: The Open University Press.

Haralambos, M. EL at ( 1999 ) . Subjects and Positions. Fourth Edition. London: Harper Collins.

May. M. EL at ( 2009 ) . Crime Disorders and Community Safety. Dee Cook. ( 2009 ) Understanding Social Problems, Australia: Blackwell.

Marsh. I. EL at ( 2009 ) . Making Sense of Society. Fourth Edition. London: Longman.

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