Comparing crime and deviance

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  • Comparing crime and deviance
    • Crime
      • Legal definition- Any action that is forbidden by the criminal law
        • Actus reus: Guilty act. Mens reus: Guilty mind
      • Social definition: Any offence which breaks rules or laws of society.
      • Criminologists look beyond the legal definition of crime because some laws are no longer relevant and sometimes legal things are unacceptable. This shows that crime is socially constructed
        • The social definition of crime can be a problem because societies can have different norms and values so it can be difficult to standardise definitions of crime. It's subjective.
        • In conclusion, it's difficult to define crime as it's dependent on the society in which the act is committed
    • Deviance
      • Behaviour that goes against social norms, moral codes and values of a specific society. Not always illegal.
      • Social norms
        • Behaviours which are deemed acceptable in society or groups. They help judges and law makers define what is a crime
      • Moral codes
        • A set of unwritten rules that an individual or society believe are right/wrong. Taught by society until we create our own moral code
      • Values
        • What an individual sees as important and valuable. It is unique to each individual.
    • Laws
      • A system of rules which a society develops in order to deal with areas such as crime that helps to regulate a society
    • Implications of committing a criminal or deviant act
      • Sanctions
        • Positive rewards or negative punishments used to enforce social control which includes both written and unwritten rules. Used to encourage our conformity with social norms
        • Enforced by agencies of social control such as the police, courts, peer groups, family. Help to constrain people's behaviour
        • Formal sanctions are based on written laws and enforced by organisations and institutions
          • Informal sanctions are enforced by individuals or groups that aren't apart of a formal system
    • Impact of reporting and not reporting crime and deviance on public perceptions
      • If criminal and deviant behaviour is not reported it may longer be seen as deviant or criminal. It could influence law maker to change the law e.g. homosexuality in 1967


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