Crime and Deviance in Society

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Crime and deviance constitute a classic pathology within societies which has led to a variety of responses at political and societal level. This essay will explore crime the cause of crime and deviance with two theories, the labelling theory and biological theory. As Melossi notes, ‘the struggle around the definition of crime and deviance is located within the field of action that is constituted by plural and even conflicting efforts at producing control’ (1994) p.205 Every culture has unique norms governing what it considers to be suitable behaviour. For example laws, dress codes, rules of sports and games, all convey social norms. But what if someone deviates from these expectations? Deviance is behaviour that violates the standards…show more content…
On the sociological perspectives of deviance, labelling seems to be very common and Becker (1963) argued that labelling creates self-prophecy. Although labelling theory focal point is not on why an individual commit deviant acts, but rather trying to explain why an individual is regarded as deviants, antisocial or criminal; while some other individual with similar behaviour are considered as less deviants. This reflects the input of interactionist theorists, since labelling theory highlights how an individual happen to be labelled as deviant or to allow it happening. Howard Becker (1963) p.9 popularised the labelling theory stating that “Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.” - Therefore the labelling approach can be explain as the ‘reaction’ from societies towards crime and deviance, demonstrating that it is the response to an act, not the behaviour itself, that determines deviance. There no deviant acts there are only acts labelled as deviant. Durkheim considered deviance to be a natural and essential part of all social organisation. For instance the issue of binge drinking on university campus. It can be viewed as a deviant behaviour, breaching the university standards of conduct; however it can also be perceived as conforming, obeying to peer culture. Although most members of societies conform to and obey basic norms, “Hirschi (1969) asserted that when youths are strongly
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