Crime Is A Social Construction

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In this essay I will be discussing Christie’s (2004) viewpoint that crime is a social construction, drawing viewpoints from Henry (2001), Walklate (2007), and Cohen (1972). Firstly, it is important to address the construction of the dictionary definition of crime and then to delve further into the changing nature of crime itself, also reflecting on crime within certain contexts. This will happen by looking at the current definition of crime and cross-examining it with Christie’s theoretical perspective, and then contrasting this with differing viewpoints who look at it from a broader perspective in regards to time and different cultures.
Firstly, Oxford Dictionaries (n.d.) currently defines crime as ‘an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law’ and a social construct as ‘a concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group’. Christie (2004) offers an alternative perspective that crime, as an entity, does not exist and is a social construct. He mentions that ‘crime does not exist. Only acts exist, acts often given different meanings within various social frameworks. Acts, and the meaning given them, are our data.’ He discusses the theory that crime is utilised as a universal classification for a range of bad ‘acts’. Within the context of crime, these ‘acts’ consist of a range of behaviours that members of a society have reached a moral consensus on what is seen as
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