Sample Law Paper on The Sociology of Crime

Law Paper on The Sociology of Crime

Sociology, together with other disciplines, such as criminology, focuses and provides numerous reasons why people engage in crime. Key amongst these reasons encompasses social disenchantment, drug abuse, social alienation, urban decay, unemployment, and many others. Sociology provides a comprehensive insight into understanding the occurrence of crime, and it relates many factors that contribute to crime in the society (Downes et al. 30). Thus, this research seeks to discuss the sociology of crime and the theoretical perspectives that explain crime and deviant behaviors.

Social Construction of Crime

Crime is a word that infers to multiple types of wrongdoing prohibited by law. Some reasons can contribute to viewing crime from the social construction perspective. The constructionist model, grounded on numerous sociological factors, considers a society as a multifaceted matrix in shaping crime. The model accords a chief role in the manner to construct and comprehend crime in the society (Downes et al. 32). The public concerns over criminal behavior usually relate to violence and theft, which are considered as being grave enough to deserve sustained responsiveness from the police (Shoham et al. 30). Thus, this concern conveyed in intermittent moral panics and often ensures that the people engaging in criminal behavior and theft do so as part of secondary deviation. Subsequently, these kinds of individuals cultivate a criminal identity (Eglin et al. 15). For example, the report by the British crime survey shows that the danger of being a victim of crime tends to be shaped by lifestyle, gender, age, locality, and ethnicity (Downes et al. 33). The British crime survey shows that the danger of committing a crime is common in men aged under 30 and living in the intercity areas. The best example to illustrate that crime and other criminal behaviors are socially constructed is the Black Crime. In the 1970s, the media indicated and continually projected Britain as the white society. However, crime, as well as criminality, was the key motif that constructed the black persons as the challenge to the community (Downes et al. 31). Further analysis of race and crime support this idea. The perceptions of weakness in the black culture and family life, often expounded by the lack of a father figure and contempt of British law and tradition cumulatively define the black people as those that disrespect the law. Nonetheless, the importance of the protracted campaigns that resulted in the inquest into the assassination of Lawrence Stephen cannot be over-elaborated. Huge representation of the black descent as the problem to the white British community has been challenged prosperously.

Similarly, the media has been a very effective organization that makes a tremendous impact on the social construction of criminal behavior. The significance of mainstream media in shaping the public comprehension of social challenges is broadly recognized. Studies in several nations confirm that criminal reports are one of the most catching headlines in the news (Downes et al. 40). The research also shows that there is a wide correspondence between various images of crime articulated in the news report and their construction (Eglin et al. 20). For instance, media presentation of information buttresses the social construction of criminal behavior and crime in totality.

Sociology of Criminal and Deviant Behaviors. Numerous levels of explanation provide tremendous insight to understanding the sociology of crime and deviant behaviors. The first level of description concerns differences in the norms among social groups as expressed in the subculture and cultural differences. Sociologists such as Young and Lee have often emphasized that crime is just an aspect, even though generally small, of an established process of cultural adaptation to oppression (Downes et al. 40). Primarily, socialization occurs within given social groups and thus the norms and beliefs of these groups define the standards for identifying any criminal behavior.

Theoretical frameworks also help to understand how to construe crime in the society. This is vital since it revitalizes the past discoveries, put new emphasis on the construction of events, and relates these to current actions in the society. Marxist theory views crime as an endemic within the social disorder. According to Marxism, males make their history, though they do not attain it as they wish: they fail to achieve it in the right circumstances chosen by themselves, rather in the circumstances encountered and conveyed from the past. The Marxist model developed the Marxist theory of understanding crime. From his viewpoint, crime is a product of capitalism, where criminal and other antisocial characters are indicative of the problems and contradictions inherent in the capitalist structure (Downes et al. 35). The fundamental motivation in capitalism like prominence on self-enrichment and materialism, anti-social, enhance self-interest, and by ramification, criminal behavior. In his case, Marxist argues that the existing systems largely ignore most business-related crimes. Although there are certain publicized exclusions, some tend to support the image that criminals are largely from the working group and that most business crimes are not true criminals (Eglin et al. 15). They just do what any other person does. Marx further argues that capitalism generates conditions that encourage criminal behavior. According to Marx, the crime takes place due to economic depression as well as the contradictions that are normally apparent in a capitalistic society. A country experiencing economic depression tends to have various challenges, and this may cause a state of unemployment among the population. Some people may resort to different criminal activities in an attempt to make both ends meet and feed their families (Loader et al. 5). Thus, Marxist emphasizes the need to have a strong economic foundation in fixing the social challenges in the society such as crime. Similarly, Marxist views working-class crime as a rebellion against disparity and against the structures that utilizes legal ways like law, court, police, and prison as weapons.

Durkheim’s theory of crime is also fundamental in analyzing and understands the sociology of crime growth. The basic argument presented by Durkheim suggests that contemporary industrial urban communities enhance a situation of egoism, contrary to maintaining social solidarity and conformity of law (Eglin et al. 15). His anomie theory argues that social inequality leads to perceptions of anomie in a society.  An anomic muddled society lacks efficient nature of social control thereby resulting in a state of independently perceived amorphousness. As such, according to Durkheim, crime occurs in virtually all kinds of social environment and it tends to be extreme in more industrialized nations (Shoham et al. 20). He claims that crime is inevitable since not all members of the community can be correspondingly dedicated to a collective sentiment as well as it is dreadful for everyone to be similar (Loader et al. 5). Durkheim trusts that without penalty, the combined commitment would wash out the force to eliminate the behavior and rate of crime would ultimately become dysfunctional. Thus, he views that a healthy society needs both crime and penalty.

Recently, functionalist theories of crime grounded in the idea of there being a joint agreement of norms and values, have concentrated on the sources of crime. The functionalist model of crime tends to accept that there is universal consensus within the community over what is wrong and right behavior (Downes et al. 40). The sociological study has been instrumental in analyzing and comprehending the nature of the crime and how various social factors shape them in the society (Loader et al. 5). Crime is a menace to the society, all manners that attempt to understand how they occur, and suggesting ways that they can be controlled is hugely encouraged.


In conclusion, the paper unfolds the thesis of the research that aimed to discuss the sociology of crime and the theoretical perspectives, which explain crime and the deviant behaviors. The paper shows that crime occurs as a reaction to the frustration experienced by those individuals who cannot attain the goals or norms of the society. It also states that various social challenges contribute to crime and these include drug abuse, social alienation, social disenchantment, urban decay, unemployment, etc. Thus, sociology is vital in offering an important perspective on this matter. Various theoretical models such as Marxist theory, Durkheim’s theory, and more recently the functionalist theory explain the causes and social construction of crime in the society.






Works Cited

Downes, David, Paul Rock, and Eugene McLaughlin. Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Eglin, Peter, and Stephen Hester. A Sociology of Crime. Routledge, 2013.

Loader, Ian, and Richard Sparks. “For An Historical Sociology of Crime Policy in England and Wales Since 1968.” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy vol. 7.2 (2004): p. 5-32.

Shoham, S. Giora, and John P. Hoffman. A Primer in the Sociology of Crime. BookBaby, 2012.


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