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Evaluation of Sociological Theories Essay

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Evaluation of Sociological Theories

Deviance can be described as: "Nonconformity with existing/traditional
social norms. This nonconformity is often said to be pathological when
it challenges power and privilege; yet it is said to be indicative of
innovation or creativity when the gatekeepers of morality approve it.
A loaded term, deviancy is a negative asset when the environment is
stable but can be a positive asset to a society when the environment
is irreversibly changing." Each perspective asks different questions
and focuses on different issues regarding crime and deviance. They
have different ideas about the causes of crime.

Subcultural theories on crime and deviance were developed in the late
1950s and early 1960s from the works of Albert Cohen(1955) and Richard
Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin(1960). They suggested that people react to
forces 'external' to them, this leads them to behave in certain ways.
Their behaviour is determined by social causes. Criminals behave
differently from non-criminals. Subcultural theorists have attempted
to seek the causes of these differences, they claim to have identified
malfunctions in the social order. These malfunctions are seen to be
rectifiable by different types of social engineering e.g. Social
reform, social welfare and education. Crimes are 'social facts' and
therefore must have 'social causes'. Criminals are not seen as
'abnormal' individuals by subcultural theorists, but as social actors
influenced by social causes.

Statistics have indicated that criminals are mostly male, adolescent,
working class and urban living. An idea inspired by Durkhiem (1952)
suggested that this is a 'socia...


... middle of paper ...


...s as it gives evidence to support their idea that working
class people commit more crimes than middle class males. On the other
hand, criminal statistics was challenged by left realists who believe
that criminal statistics is the reality and therefore we should accept
it, along with the solutions to attempt to solve the problems to
tackle the high levels of crime.

Marxist approach in explaining deviant behaviour is only reliable to
some extent. Along with the contradictions from other perspectives, it
shows that improvements can be added to their ideas. Marxists mainly
concentrated on the class distribution and stress that they the ruling
class control the norms and values of the society. It will not be
classed as deviant unless the bourgeoisie say so and they will not say
so unless a working class person commits it.


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