Theories Of Crime And Deviance Essay

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He has taught Politics and Sociology A Level for many years and has a Ph D in Social History.

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A recent MORI poll, for instance, concerning the public’s attitudes towards the area of crime and delinquency reveals that almost 45 per cent of those poled thought that their concern of crime had “Increased a lot” over the last few years and that 46 per cent had lost confidence in the police and the social services ability to deal with its victims.

With this in mind, this paper attempts to place the theories of deviance and control within the context of modern theories concerning social work and social work policy.

It is unlikely, given today’s socio-political climate that gay men or lesbians would be included under the heading of deviance and the same possibly goes for the mentally ill.

A working definition of deviance as Haralambos (1991) suggests should involve some idea of relativity; with the current moral and ethical trends and mores taken as a benchmark for comparison: “Deviance is a relative: there is no absolute way of defining a deviant act.

I will then move on to look at the area of postmodern social theory as exemplified in the work of, among others Michel Foucault, and how such notions of privileging and minor narratives can be used to challenge criminal stereotypes and provide a sound foundation for future practice. It is not enough, as most commentators point out (Haralambos, 1991; Giddens, 2001; Downes and Rock, 1998 etc.) to suggest that it is merely the study of criminal activity, although they are of course inextricably linked.

As Lefton, Skipper and Mc Caghy state (1968) the sociology of deviance, like many definitions in the social sciences, can best be thought of as a series of linked practices that are generally considered as constituting a partially homogenous discipline: “Traditionally (for instance) in American sociology the study of deviance has focused on criminals, juvenile delinquents, prostitutes, suicides, the mentally ill, drug users and drug addicts, homosexuals and political and religious radicals.” (Lefton, Skipperand Mc Caghy, 1968: v) It is obvious from this statement that not only are problematic but so too are definitions of deviance itself.

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Illustrate your discussion with reference to age and crime.

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