Sample Essay on Conflict Theory, Criminology, and Sociology


Conflict Theory, Criminology, and Sociology

In the course of the 20th century, the sociological perspective to criminology turned out to be a powerful viewpoint. Sociology acts as the study of social conducts, approaches, and systems while crime denotes the infringement of standards, which communities through the set legal structures usually deems criminal. Criminology on the other hand, represents an interdisciplinary topic based on the kinds of conducts outlawed by criminal regulations (Hayle, Wortley, & Tanner, 2016). The conflict theory is anchored on the fact that crime emanates from social inequities within the society. Critical criminology views crime as a means of propagating social inequalities that are already extant in the communities. For instance, both the underemployed and unemployed in the society are less productive and have a high probability of becoming demoralized and engaging in all forms of criminal activities. This occurs when many individuals start residing in the streets, engaging in prostitution, trafficking drugs, and being involved in substance abuse. Such individuals are not evil; they are just weak and underprivileged. Nevertheless, they are perceived worse when judged against the people destroying the environment for their selfish gains.

The Role of Politics in Conflict Theory

Conflict theory signifies the views in social science that focus on the material, political, and social inequity in society. This could result in the critiquing of the extensive socio-political structure. Under the conflict theory, sociologists assert that the monetary and political systems generate social divisions, categories, pecking order, and divergences that heighten inequality. Consequently, organizations and societies operate in a manner that every participant endeavors to capitalize on their gains, which inevitably generates social changes, for instance, political transformations and rebellions (Kupatadze, 2014). Since the state upholds property, owning it creates political struggles involving capitalists and employees, possessors and renters, among other groups. The financial status establishes the capacity of any group to assume political power successfully. Furthermore, material ownership facilitates a given group to spread their perspectives to the others. Conflicts occur because all the material wealth is a product of human labor. For example, capitalists take advantage of their employees for cheap labor without sharing equally with them the huge profits they make. Such exploitation is what enables the rich to succeed politically and enforce their ideologies.

Politics and Crime Levels of the Lower Class

The different treatment of the existing forms of criminal activities is mainly a concern of politics and money. Currently, lobbyers, the majority of whom stands for the concerns of the powerful and the wealthy, use nearly nine billion dollars to influence political outcomes and lure government representatives to act in their favor. On the contrary, the people in the lower class do not have money to spend to sway political processes. Moreover, the rising economic significance of the prison-industrial complex has been greatly controlled by the politics of crime (Kupatadze, 2014). In this regard, mobile phone corporations, in addition to health maintenance organizations, are given well-paid contracts to offer services to the correctional facilities. The issue of incarcerating lower class people, even for minor crimes, while overlooking corporate offenders attributable to their political influence hinders the activities of the underprivileged individuals hence compelling some of them to engage in capital offenses (Berliner, 2013).   

Different Sociological Schools of Crime Causation

The three major sociological schools of crime causation are social learning, control, and strain. According to the strain theory, people engage in criminal activities when they suffer stress or get upset. Such people take part in criminal activities to decrease or flee from the stress overwhelming them (Agnew, 2012). For instance, they could take part in hostility to eradicate harassment from other people, theft to decrease monetary challenges, or run away from their residence to avoid continued abuse by their parents. Moreover, they could get involved in criminal activities as vengeance against people who have wronged them or substance abuse as a way of giving themselves pleasure. In line with the social learning theory, people learn to take part in criminal activities, mainly from their association with criminals (Tittle, Antonaccio, & Botchkovar, 2012). Through interaction with criminals, people are influenced into crime, receive convictions that encourage felony, and become exposed to criminal approaches. Therefore, they gradually start perceiving crime as enviable or justifiable in some circumstances.

Control theory starts from the inquiry of what makes people adapt to new or different behaviors (Zembroski, 2011). Contrary to the social learning and strain theories, control theory embarks on both engagement and disengagement in criminal behaviors. The theory argues that every person has aspirations and needs that are more effortlessly met through illegal approaches than legal means. For instance, it is easier to engage in theft to obtain huge sums of money than working for it. In this regard, crime does not need much explanation as it is usually the easiest manner of having what one desires. However, engagement in criminal activities is less probable of happening when other individuals seek to influence a person’s conducts positively, the moment one finds that there is much to lose for taking part in a crime, and when people attempt to control their desires and behaviors.


Agnew, R. (2012). Reflection on “a revised strain theory of delinquency”. Social Forces, 91(1), 33-38

Berliner, D. (2013). Effects of inequality and poverty vs. teachers and schooling on America’s youth. Teachers College Record, 115(12), 1-26.

Hayle, S., Wortley, S., & Tanner, J. (2016). Race, street life, and policing: Implications for racial profiling. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 58(3), 322-353.

Kupatadze, A. (2014). Prisons, politics and organized crime: The case of Kyrgyzstan. Trends in Organized Crime, 17(3), 141-160.

Tittle, C., Antonaccio, O., & Botchkovar, E. (2012). Social learning, reinforcement and crime: Evidence from three European cities. Social Forces, 90(3), 863-890.

Zembroski, D. (2011). Sociological theories of crime and delinquency. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 21(240), 254-257.