Distinguish Between Crime as a Social and a Sociological Problem, to What Extent Should Sociologists Attempt to Combat “the Social Problem of Crime”

1943 Words Dec 1st, 2012 8 Pages
In this essay we shall look at what crime is, what social problems are, and what sociological problems are , how they overlap and we will also look into what sociologists do and look into Robert Merton’s strain theory, and also other sociologists views like William Chambliss’s ‘roughnecks and saints’.
A crime is the breaking of certain rules laid out by a society i.e. the Government. Crime is said to be ‘activities that break the law and are subject to official punishment (Holborn and Haralambos, 2000, pg. 330)

All social norms are accompanied by sanctions that promote conformity and protect against non-conformity. A sanction is any reaction from others to the behaviour of an individual or group that is meant to ensure compliance to a
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He wanted to show how deviant identities are produced through labelling rather through deviant motivations and behaviours (Giddens, 2001, pg. 210). Becker saw deviance as a process and that an act of deviance can only be deviant when someone breaks the law and is held accountable for such an act. Once you are convicted and labelled as a delinquent or deviant, that person is stigmatised and is probably considered as untrustworthy by people and prospective employers (Becker citied in Giddens, 2009).due to having this label, the deviant adopts the label and this can lead to further deviant acts,

Another theorist William Chambliss, whose study on ‘saints and sinners’ showed the difference between crime and class. ‘The saints’ who are people that are very high up in society like judges, politicians, or doctors and ‘the roughnecks’ who are people that are of working class and lower. Road sweepers, shop assistant, or van driver. If someone from both classes commits the same crime, the person who is from ‘the saints’ would not get the same punishment or stigma as the person in ‘the roughnecks’. This would be because ‘the roughnecks’ would have very little power in society due to labelling. Labelling helps towards the segregation (or separation) of the classes. The offence would be seen as a lot worse than that of ‘the saint’. ‘The saints’ would be the people who implicate the laws and they have the power to label the