Crime & Society - Durkheim's Theory of Crime

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By trl456
Words 1020
Pages 5
CRIME AND SOCIETY

How might Durkheim’s concept of anomie be used to explain the deviant behaviour that is becoming apparent in all strata of society?

Emile Durkeim, describes how societies begin in simple forms of interaction and are held together by solidarity and likenesses. These homogenous societies he called “mechanical” with the growth of societies, together with technical and economic advances, make the inter-relationships more complicated and diverse. Members of society become more inter-dependent (“organic societies”), but viewed these changes as being natural and unavoidable, leading to greater happiness for individuals because they were released to enjoy goods produced by others and become a healthier society (a).

Law plays an important role in both types of society law. In Durkheim’s view he felt crime was a normal occurrence and it was impossible to have a society totally devoid of crime, as all societies have rules and sanctions in case these are broken. Punishment deters crime but maintains social cohesion, setting boundaries and delivering order (“functionalism”). Healthy levels of crime are most likely in mechanical societies as they have a natural cohesion. An unhealthy level is more likely to arise in an organic society and is the result of the law being inadequate to regulate the interactions of the various parts of that society. The incomplete integrations gives rise to anomie, the result of which is excessive or unhealthy levels of crime.

Durkheim used three levels of division: (i) a combination of financial crisis and industrial conflict, (ii) rigid and unnatural class division, (iii) an abnormal division of labour. Before anomie can be said to exist, the major factor which needs to be present is a financial or industrial crisis – a depression as in 1930s or unrealistic and precarious prosperity, stating “No living…...

Similar Documents

Crime

...1. Describe the major premises of the three branches of social process theory – social learning theory, social control theory, and social reaction (labeling) theory? Social learning theories assume that people are born good and learn to be bad; social control theory assumes that people are born bad and must be controlled in order to be good; and social reactions theory assumes that whether good or bad, people are shaped, directed, and influenced by the evaluations of others. 2. Travis Hirschi links the onset of criminality to the weakening of the ties that bind people to society. Identify and discuss the elements of the social bond and how they impede crime. Hirshi links the onset of criminality to weakening of the ties that bind people to society. He assumes that all individuals are potential law violators, but most are kept under control because they fear that illegal behavior ill damage their realationships with friends, family, neighbors, teachers, and employers. Without these social bonds, or ties, a person is free to commit criminal acts. Across all ethnic, religious, racial, and social groups, people whose bond to society is weak may fall prey to criminogenic behavior patterns. Hirschi argues that the social bond a person maintains with society is disvided into four main elements: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. 3. Discuss the key points of labeling theory and the consequences of labeling, Include in your...

Words: 972 - Pages: 4

Crime

...WEEK 8: CRIME Human social life is ruled by norms and values. Norms in terms of what is acceptable and appropriate behaviour and value in the terms of right and wrong behaviour. Crime is defined as behaviour which goes against norms and generally accepted behaviour. In another words crime is a form of deviance which breaks the law. According to Pease, 2002 “crimes are those actions deemed so disturbing to citizens or disruptive to society as to justify state inventions.” In England crime is measured using two different methods, the British Crime Survey (BCS) and police reported crime. The BCS is a large survey of a representative sample of people aged 16 and over where it asks people about the experiences if any of crime. Police recorded crime however covers crime which have been reported and recorded by the police. Who is more likely to be the victim of crime and why? Those at risk of being victims of crime vary by lifestyle characteristics and reflecting differences of the individual socially. An example of this would be those individuals who visit pubs/clubs/bars are more likely to be a risk of violence towards them than those who do not visit these places. Our individual knowledge may equip us with different images of what crime relates to what victim. For example we normally think the victim of rape as being a young female. The charts below were taken from the 2002/03 British crime survey, Victims of crime: by sex and age. |Males...

Words: 509 - Pages: 3

Theory and Crime

...Theory and Crime Kira Young CJA/314 April 30, 2012 Dave Hart Theory and Crime In today’s society there are many ups and downs when it comes to employment, where we live, and the way that we raise our children. The individuals who make up our communities today come from all walks of life, and are sometimes easily influenced by what happens within the community around them. There are often influences around us that help us make decisions that we would not normally make on our own, and this could change our way of thinking on certain issues that may arise in everyday life. Some of these decisions can make it hard to raise a child on the same morals and values that a parent grew up on. While it may be hard to raise a child, and believe in ourselves when times are hard we all have to have the belief that this too shall pass. The Meaning of Social Structure Theory By definition social structure theory is a theory that explains crime by reference to the economic and social arrangements in society, (Schmalleger 2012). There is still further explanation needed as to what this says for those communities that are within grasp of a person. The city that a person lives in has a lot to say as to the job they hold, where they send their child to school, the home in which they live, and the way they conduct themselves on a day to day basis. This is by no means a bad way of living or anything of that nature. Often humans are creatures of habit; we do...

Words: 791 - Pages: 4

Crime & Society - Durkheim's Theory of Crime

... willingness to use unacceptable ways to achieve these desires and the link between desires and means has led to a theory called “a strain theory”, preventing everyone pressured to succeed, but those who are unable or least likely to succeed by legitimate means, are under most strain to use illegitimate or illegal opportunities. Each culture and society has different elements which it considers worth striving for, and in America and the Western World this is wealth and through wealth, material possessions. Everyone is told that further enrichment is possible and that they should strive towards it. If they don’t, they are considered lazy and of less worth. (d). However, Merton maintained that the healthy society lays down accepted means of achieving the end or goals (means-end theory) through hard and honest work and not through theft and fraud. He argued that emphasis should be on reaching certain goals with no control of the way in which that is achieved, then society would be anomic. He accepted that more crime was committed by the lower classes and applied its aspects to White Collar Crime, proffering that criminality arose not because of discrepancies between the goals and the approved means of achieving those goals, but because all the members of that society were led to believe that there was equality of opportunity. (e). Durkheim placed heavy emphasis on a condition of “normlessness” arising out of abrupt change, whereas Merton sees anomie as an......

Words: 1020 - Pages: 5

Crime

...The theories on crime deterrence and punishment have changed throughout history. Beccaria, Lombroso and Durkheim are three theorists who have changed the way deterrence, punishment and crime generally is viewed within society. This research paper will first explore each of the theorists’ ideas separately. It will then examine the similarities and differences between each theory. Cesare Beccaria, born in 1738, focused on deterrence as the means of crime prevention. Beccaria fits into the Classical School of thinking, and wrote in a time when torture was used regularly to obtain information from people, and where capital punishment could be used for any type of offence. Punishment was based on a retributive means, where the punishment, or harm, given was equal to the harm caused by the perpetrator. In 1764, Beccaria published a book called “On crimes and Punishments”, where he theorised that this approach did not discourage determined criminals from committing crimes. He suggested, however, by taking away their liberty through incarceration that this would deter other would-be criminals not to commit similar crimes, and would also prevent the perpetrator to recommit the crime again. He based this theory on the utilitarian ideals: “the greatest happiness shared by the greatest number” (Beccaria 1764/1994, p. 227). In his book, Beccaria theorised the deterrence to a crime would increase in effectiveness the faster the punishment was delivered. He also argued that the...

Words: 1364 - Pages: 6

Crime

..., scholars noticed that unemployment among the uneducated youth spurred a massive tendency for theft and violence. In particular in France, the crime rate soared like never before. Ever watched the movie "La Haine" back from 1995? It was translated “Hatred” and “Hate” in the UK & US and has really become the classic of a generation. Although the depicted segregation against immigrants in France roots back a few decades before the 1990s, the "first wave" (of immigrants) has rarely shown such outburst of violence. In theory the main difference with the first generation of these immigrants' children is that they have spent much more time at school, as research has often concluded that education tends to reduce violent crime. On average, the more time you spend at school the less violent you will become. Schools don't just teach you about history or maths, they teach you how to live in society. But the real problem is: are kids in poor urban areas even going to school at all? Are they learning any social skills when being systematically discriminated against? Research dating back to 1966 - with the famous Coleman Report - shows integration into society is key to better grades and successful education. Why follow the right path? Why would anyone follow the “right path” (i.e. schools) if you see that your parents did so and are still jobless or at best exploited and humiliated? Or if your identity and your place in society are constantly questioned, often by the...

Words: 10363 - Pages: 42

Crime

...Assignment 2: Essay Outline (300 words) (10%) You will submit your essay plan (300 words) in Week 5 tutorials. The plan should include how are you planning to answer the question, key issues you will cover, structure of the essay and key arguments you want to present. Your tutor will provide oral feedback in the class. You need to make reasonable attempt at this assessment every week to pass the course. If you fail to do it your final mark will be withheld. 1. Essay Question: After more than a century of criminological theory, why does crime still exist? Illustrate your answer by drawing on at least two theories studied thus far in the semester and consider how they define crime and what policy ( rulem strategy, procedure) responses (replies) they advocate (support). What are the strengths and weaknesses of these theories and why related policy responses failed to rid society ( culture of crime? Use Australian or international examples to support your arguments. a. Thesis Statement: * Crime attributes an individual to a particularly undesirable group. It is based upon an event; some sort of wrong - doing or deviance from the norm which results in social, physical, mental, property or financial harm. * Theories come into play and provide a perspective and embody certain assumptions. * * There is no longer a singular definition of crime, there are multiple views and opinions yet non stand as a concrete definition...

Words: 1572 - Pages: 7

Crime

...What instruments are used to measure crime in the United States? The U.S. Department of Justice administers two statistical programs to measure the magnitude, nature, and impact of crime in the Nation: the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Each of these programs produces valuable information about aspects of the Nation’s crime problem. Because the UCR and NCVS programs are conducted for different purposes, use different methods, and focus on somewhat different aspects of crime, the information they produce together provides a more comprehensive panorama of the Nation’s crime problem than either could produce alone. What are crime rates, arrest rates, clearance rates, and recidivism rates? Recidivism is measured by criminal acts that resulted in the rearrested, reconviction, or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the prisoner's release. Crime Rates several methods for measuring crime exist, including household surveys, hospital or insurance records, and compilations by police and similar law enforcement agencies. Typically official crime statistics are the latter, but some offences are likely to go unreported to the police. Public surveys are sometimes conducted to estimate the amount of crime not reported to police. Such surveys are usually more reliable for assessing trends. Public surveys rarely encompass all crime, rarely procure statistics useful for local......

Words: 329 - Pages: 2

Crime

...Crime and poverty have been problems and subjects of social discussion for as long as civilization has been in existence. Even today, society still struggles with the question of how to fix and reduce both of these problems. As the decades go by and more and more statistics are collected, we can see a pattern of poverty and crime rates. What many hope to see in these graphs and statistics is a reduction of both poverty and crime. Every year billions of dollars are spent on fighting crime and helping those who find their selves struggling through poverty. Will the effort spent on reducing crime through better security make the impact on criminal activity we hope it does, or should we work on bringing those who commit crimes to a higher standard of living? Many would argue that the two are linked together and that poverty is the number one promoter and cause of criminal activity, and that adults and children who grow up living in poverty are more likely to be apart of this criminal activity. Should the government spent more money on fighting crime, or more on those who live in poverty and that are more likely to commit the crimes? The answer to that is simple; we should spend more on bringing those in poverty, out of it. Facts have shown that adults and children who live and are raised in poverty stricken areas are more likely to commit crime. As poverty levels fluctuate throughout history, so do crime levels. There are many aspects that come into play for those...

Words: 751 - Pages: 4

Society and Crime

...Society and Crime Introduction From an early age and through the course of our lives we learn and develop our personality to which predominantly determines our role in society. During this process there are many internal and external factors and influences such as family, friends, education, , gender, class, environment race etc that determine our pathway and outcomes in life. This assignment will assess the view that primary socialization is more significant than secondary socialization in developing patterns of deviance and criminality. The way which we learn to become members of society is through socialization, adopting the norms and values of society and by our actions and behaviour carrying our social roles. (Oxford University Press 2009).Primarily there are two distinct agents of socialization to which young people learn to integrate into society. These being Primary socialization and Secondary socialization. Primary socialization, this stage of development occurs in the early stages of a young person's life and is period of development of intellectual and emotional and social self. The main agent in this period is socialization within the family and immediate community. The young person's experience at this stage can differ in contemporary society from differing types of child rearing and differing and kinds of family and community circumstances.(Huddersfield university lecture notes 2009). For a young person to thrive in society, parents /carers must...

Words: 373 - Pages: 2

Crime

..., the states operated almost 1,250 prisons holding approximately 1.41 million inmates. Between 1980 and 2008, the federal inmate population increased dramatically from just over 24,000 to over 200,000. At midyear 2008, the nation’s 3,376 local jails held 785,556 inmates.” (Sieter, 2011) Some influencing factors as to why the number of inmates has increased is the get tough on crime way of thinking that society has encouraged. The public and judges do not want any individual who is to be considered dangerous to be back on the streets therefore they set high bails as to keep them locked up. Another reason is the pressure of the war on drugs the more individuals that they arrest and question the closer they are to ending the war. Society and the public have a lot to do with the increase of inmates, they want to feel safe and they will take any measures to achieve this goal. Conclusion: In conclusion our government has established these incarceration facilities for our own good and to keep the bad out of society. It has been this way for many years and it has been changed to suit the community in the best ways possible. This is the most humane way possible for our legal systems and society to deal with the criminals that are upon us. While prisons and jails have changed for the better of the inmates, what hasn’t changed is the legal system that puts them there. As great as the legal system is, it’s getting to be “too great”, where the prisons and jails become too...

Words: 1094 - Pages: 5

Functionalist Theory of Crime

...Functionalist Theory Of Crime Functionalism (The Consensus structuralism theory) Functionalism is a consensus structuralism theory. Functionalists argue that there is nothing abnormal about deviance, and that it is necessary and normal in all parts of societies performing a positive function. The functions of crime and deviance (DURKEIM)Durkheim has identified a positive and a negative side to crime and deviance, it is positive in which it helps society to change and remain dynamic, whilst the negative side sees too much crime leading to social disruption. Durkheim believes that crime and deviance are inevitable and normal aspect of social life. They are inevitable because everyone cannot be equally committed to the shared values that guide ones actions, referred to as the collective consensus. He also believes that crime and deviance perform four essential functions for society: • Crime and deviance being essential for generating and sustaining morality. • Crime and deviance clarify and reaffirm the boundaries. For example by receiving retribution for a crime, such as a prison sentence, the state is making it clear that as criminal/deviant act has taken place. • Crime and deviance can promote social unity. When a crime has been committed, the entire community draws together in shared outrage, and the sense of belonging in a community is strengthened. • Crime and deviance can encourage social change by resulting in a change of shared values. This change in...

Words: 1228 - Pages: 5

Crime

...INSTITUTE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES GLOBAL STUDIES 301 ENGLISH DEPARTMENT ACADEMIC YEAR: 2014-2015 Final Draft In every society, crime is considered to be one of the worst actions that can lead to countless problems. When a person fails to fulfill a moral or legal obligation, he/she will be punished by law. However, it is very difficult to choose the effective laws to punish or deter the criminals from committing more crimes in the future. Over the years, crime control laws have been questioned because it is critical for the government to choose the right one in order to reduce crimes. While some approaches have proven to be very successful; however, some approaches have not done its job properly. In this essay, we are going to talk about two approaches to crime control: deterrence and retribution. Deterrence is the use of punishment as a threat to deter people from offending or committing crimes. We think that deterrence is very successful due to two reasons. First, it represents as a yardstick to prevent people from breaking the laws. For example, in Singapore they use deterrence in their country and we think that it is very effective. In a picture taken by Mr. Steve Bennett, “A sign present in most MRTs in Singapore, banning food/drink, flammable liquid, smoking. . . .” (Bennett, 2005). Steve’s picture tells us that you cannot smoke or bring flammable liquid when you are in Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system. By doing so, you will be...

Words: 808 - Pages: 4

Crime

...The Study of Crime By Juan Andres Alvarez Crime & Society Instructor: Sara Rogers September 19, 2011 The Study of Crime: Throughout recorded history there have been numerous theories that explain why criminal behavior exists. One of those theories is The Classical Theory of Criminology, it states that the combination of free will, hedonistic decision making and the failure of the social contact in producing criminal behavior. I tend to agree that it all come done to free-will and the desire to commit such acts. In order to comprehend the study of crime we must first learn to prevent crime. There are many crime prevention programs that have work others have not. Unlike these theories many of these programs have not yet been evaluated or hold enough creditable scientific evidence to draw positive conclusions. Enough evidence is available, however, to create provisional lists of what might work; what hasn’t, and what’s potential to work in the foreseeable future. In order to formulate a possible list of programs in our neighborhoods we must continue to study of crime and its many possibilities; and to purse and punish those criminals that break the law and bring them to justice. We as society should focus on not just what type of crimes are been committed or to what rate they are been committed but we should focus our attention on the aspect of crime that has not been studied before the learning to find peace amongst ourselves. Before we can learn to...

Words: 2331 - Pages: 10

Crime and Society

...America has become one of the most diverse and wealthiest countries in the world. Although the United States is wealthy, not all individuals have benefited from that wealth. Throughout society, African American communities have become marginalized, with areas of poverty, high crime rates, discrimination and few opportunities for advancement. These areas are often locations where racial and cultural minorities live. Racial disparities exist within the criminal justice system and have shown many problems of inequality between the white and black race. In addition to having inequality within the criminal justice system, the criminals also have impacted their family members in different ways due to being incarcerated. The media has misrepresented African Americans by emphasizing African Americans participating in crimes while ignoring crimes committed by whites. People in society are assuming that only black people commit crimes, which is unfair because the incidences of people committing crimes are about equal between the races. Racial disparity favors white people over black people in the criminal justice system. Therefore, society must reevaluate the way society portrays who commits crimes, and where they are committed. Throughout many decades of history, black people had been discriminated against and treated as second class citizens in American society, even though they participated equally in the workforce. Discrimination has happened from slavery until present times...

Words: 2275 - Pages: 10