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What is crime? What is deviance?

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1 What is crime? What is deviance?
Crime and Criminology What is crime? What is deviance?

2 Crime can be defined… Form of normal behavior
Violation of behavioral norms Form of deviant behavior Legally defined behavior Violation of human rights Social harm/injury Form of inequality Social, Legal, and Moral dimensions involved

3 Emile Durkheim (1893) Made three specific claims about the nature of crime: Crime is normal Crime is inevitable Crime is useful

4 Crime is normal As normal as birth and marriage
Crimes occur in all societies. They are closely tied to the facts of collective life. Crime rates tend to increase as societies evolve from lower to higher phases.

5 Crime is normal In societies with mechanical solidarity punishment was more severe. Criminal acts offend the strong, well-defined common consciousness. A crime against another person=crime against the entire society. Rejection was the most terrible punishment.

6 Crime is inevitable No society can ever be entirely rid of crime.
Imagine a community of saints in a perfect and exemplary monastery: Faults that appear small to the ordinary person will arouse the same scandal as does normal crime Absolute conformity to rules is impossible Each member in society faces variation in background, education, heredity, social influences

7 Crime is useful Crime is indispensable to the
normal evolution of law and morality. Crime often is a symptom of individual originality and a preparation for changes in society. Rosa Parks (was a criminal) is a hero now. Her simple act of protest galvanized America's civil rights revolution.

8 What is crime? Crime can be defined in a variety ways
At least four definitional perspectives Legalistic Political Sociological Psychological

9 Crime as legally defined behavior
Rooted in the criminal law…without law there can be no crime The Legalistic definition: Classic definition of crime is often quoted from Paul Tappan’s writings “crime is an intentional act in violation of the criminal law committed without defense or excuse, and penalized by the state as a felony” (1947)

10 Legalistic definition
Crime is human conduct in violation of the criminal laws of state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction that has the power to make such laws Is anything wrong with this definition? Moral definitions of crime suggests that a lot more victimization and injury occurs than is accounted for by the legal order.

11 Violence against women
Twenty-five years ago, police, prosecutors, and judges did not view rape and battering as real crimes but rather as private matters where the woman was to blame. As women gained the same rights as men, these views on the treatment of women changed. There are still some problems in ensuring this equal treatment.

12 Shortcomings of Legalistic Definition
Some activities are not crimes even though they are immoral (watching pornography, torturing animals, creating poor working conditions) Powerful individuals are able to influence the making laws Powerful individuals may escape the label “criminal”

13 Poor working conditions -Crime?
For many years, human rights groups have attacked Nike for the low pay and terrible working conditions and for the use of child labor. Over half of its employees in Asia work more than sixty hours a week and have no day off.

14 Nike Up to fifty percent of workers
cannot drink water or go to the toilet when they want. A quarter of workers receive less than the legal minimum wage, even though Nike makes huge profits. “Abusive treatment", physical and verbal, is exercised in more than a quarter of its south Asian plants.

15 Gap The clothing company Gap
Report revealed terrible working conditions in its factories in Mexico, China, Russia, and India Report disclosed details of child labor, the virtual slavery of workers, and working weeks in excess of 80 hours.

16 Political definition of crime
Powerful groups of people label selected undesirable forms of behavior as illegal. Powerful individuals use their power to establish laws and sanctions against less powerful persons and groups. Official statistics indicate that crime rates in inner-city, high-poverty areas are higher than those in suburban areas. Self-reports of prison inmates show that prisoners are members of the lower class.

17 Political perspective
Crime of inequality includes a lot of behaviors that are omitted by legalistic definition. Crime is a political concept used to protect powerful people. Crimes of power = price fixing, economic crimes, unsafe working conditions, nuclear waste products, war-making, domestic violence, etc.

18 '‘Eco-mafia'' The developing South (particularly African countries like Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Algeria and Mozambique) has become the dump for hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive waste from the world's rich countries A colossal business which is linked to money laundering and gunrunning

19 Nuclear waste drums found by Greenpeace
IIlegal dumps - among the largest in the world - in Somalia, where workers handle the radioactive waste without any kind of safeguard or protective gear - not even gloves! The workers do not know what they are handling, and if one of them dies, the family is persuaded to keep quiet with a small bit of cash.

20 Sociological definition
A more comprehensive sociological definition of crime was offered by Julia and Herman Schwendinger (1975): “Crime encompasses any harmful acts, including violations of fundamental prerequisites for well-being (such as food, shelter, clothing, medical service, challenging work and recreational experiences, as well as security from predatory individuals or repressive and imperialistic elites.”

21 Sociological perspective
Schwendingers have challenged criminologists to be less constrained in what they see as a crime Violation of human rights A man who steals a paltry sum can be called a criminal while agents of the State can legally reward men who destroy food so that the price level can be maintained while a sizable portion of a population suffers from malnutrition.

22 Psychological definition (moralistic view)
Any behavior which stands in the way of an individuals developing to his/her fullest potential would be considered crime. If criminologists adopted this view of crime, the scope of criminology would be greatly expanded..

23 Social Context of crime
Crime is socially constructed (Burger, 1968 on social construction of reality) A criminal act can be the same but the interpretation of it can be different

24 The vocabulary of Homicide
Murder is the name for legally unjustified, intentional homicide (legal and moral meanings) Execution is the name for justified homicide (when terrorists kill their enemies) Journalist Ambrose Bierce: “Homicide is the slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the slain whether he fell by one kind or another-the classification is for the purposes of the lawyers”.

25 Defining crime Anthropologists have been unable to find behavior that is universally defined as crime. Every society sets boundaries of life and death, justifiable homicide and murder. Societies disagree over what constitutes murder.

26 Suicide Bombers They claim that it is merely a tactic of war in defense of their land and homes. They see it as a heroic act of martyrdom, not suicide, and not murder.

27 What is deviance? Deviance involves the violation of group norms which may or may not be formalized into law. Some examples: criminals, alcoholics, people with tattoos, compulsive gamblers, and the mentally ill

28 Howard Becker (1966) “It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.” People in different societies react differently to the same behavior. Moreover, within the same society at a given time the perception of deviance varies by class, gender, race, and age.

29 Deviance is commonplace
We are all deviant from time to time. Each of us violates common social norms in certain situations. Being late for class is categorized as a deviant act.

30 Deviance Deviation from norm is not always negative:
A member of an exclusive club who speaks out against its traditional policy of excluding women or poor people is a social deviant. Rosa Parks was a social deviant. She deviated from the accepted social norms of the culture in which she was living.

31 Deviance Deviant behavior is human activity that is statistically different from the average. Deviance and crime are concepts that do not always easily mesh. Some forms of deviance are not violations of the criminal law and the reverse is true as well.

32 Relationship between crime and deviance

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