Criminology - Causes of the 2011 London Riots

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Criminology Coursework – Assessing the riots...

Criminology is focused on the attempt to understand the meanings involved in social interaction. Theorists have tried to explain sociological behaviour by looking at the patterns created by individuals that commit crime. The August 2011 riots are pivotal in explaining criminological behaviour since official statistics show that 865 individuals were put in prison by the 9th September 2011 for offences related to the disorder between 6th and 9th August 2011. This is not to say that others were not involved, but that they have simply not been identified to date and may never be identified, however the evidence we do have about the recent riots gives us plenty to talk about. This essay will
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According to Becker deviance is ‘a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender’. Becker came to the conclusion that people are criminalised through the process of negotiation, known to be social constructionism for example the Crown Prosecution Service may drop the charge of murder to manslaughter if there is not enough evidence to convict for murder. By doing this the defendant becomes labelled for the crime of manslaughter even though he may truly be guilty of murder. By introducing what could be regarded as ‘petty’ legislation more people will be labelled criminals, which in turn may lead the offender to act further on this basis. Lemert referred to this as secondary deviance as when a person is labelled criminal they change their view of themselves and this then becomes their ‘master status’. On the other hand primary deviance is when someone violates a social code, but does not get labelled. Therefore a person is only labelled a criminal if he is caught and since ethnic minorities are subject to much more scrutiny than the white population this puts black people at an automatic disadvantage. Following the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence it was uncovered that the police are institutionally racist. Institutional racism can be defined as ‘the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to the people

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