Classical Criminological Theory And Sociological Strain Theory

1800 Words May 1st, 2015 8 Pages
When attempting to understand crime it is difficult to say definitively why criminals do what they do or how we define crime. Thus, it is equally difficult to simply articulate why crime still exists. However, through careful consideration it can be determined that crime’s perpetual existence is due to two overarching reasons: initially, as it is inherent within any society and is relative to individuals’ choices and actions. Moreover, crime exists due to an infinite cycle of collaborative factors acting upon individuals. Such arguments are enhanced when viewed through the lens of classical criminological theory and sociological strain theory respectively as well as through intersectional analysis.

Classical criminological theory credits all individuals as having the capacity to make rational decisions, acted upon by their free will. Cesare Beccaria, a founding advocate of classical theory was adamant that individuals are driven to commit criminal actions by their own self-interest (McLaughlin and Muncie, 2001). Such views have remained embedded within this traditional theory providing how it stresses the notion of individual choice. These individual choices have two outcomes, either occurrence of crime or avoidance of crime. The likelihood of the former ensuing maintains the perpetual cycle of crime, contributing to its still current existence. Individuals elect to compel themselves to undertake criminal activities and once caught are deemed ‘criminals’. These ‘criminals’…
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