Crime and Deviance has brought huge sociological debate,crime can be defined as an action that breaks the laws of society. With theselaws being written down, these are enforced by the police. (J Griffiths, STivey, 2013) However, a deviance is slightly more difficult to define. Adeviance is an action or actions that break the social norms of a specificsociety at a specific time.
(J Griffiths, S Tivey, 2013) This creates an actionthat can be relative and differ between societies and cultures, for example,not saying please and thank-you can be seen as a deviant action. These are notpunishable by law. The idea that crime and legislation changes over time createsthe grounds of questionable validity in crime statistics, this essay will analysethis validity and outline the social construct of crime and deviance. The social constructionists theory of crime suggests that theconcept varies from place to place and time to time, for example abortion wasillegal in Britain until the legislation changes in 1967 and in Medieval times,it was the norm to marry girls under the age of 16, whereas now it is seen asillegal and creates a label of “paedophile” (J Griffiths, S Tivey, 2013).
Certain societies and cultures create this social construction and therefore,crime becomes relative. Considering, there is no social consensus on what formsof conduct should be seen as a crime, creates this relativity. Time, society,place, behaviour and culture have different views on the concepts of crime. (CAlcock, G Daley and E Griggs, 2008) Crime is analyse in many different ways,however the main way in which crime is researched is through official crimestatistics. The social construct of crime had a profound impact on these statisticsas well as the relativity. Official crime statistics offer sociologists the opportunityto see trends in crime relating to gender, ethnicity and class amongst others.
The statistics acquired from different sources, the home office for exampleshow the increase and decrease in reported crime. Whereas, victim and crimesurveys offered by The Crime Survey for England and Wales creates a largervalidity of the actual crime situation in the UK. When considering gender in relation to crime,the changes in how female related crime is reported, documented and dealt withwithin the criminal justice system all affect the official statistics. In 2013,the prison population only consisted of 5% female prisoners. ( J Griffiths, STivey, 2013) However, when looking at this statistic, there are many theoriesthat support the idea that female prisoners are dealt with differently to themale criminal population. The socialization concept states that males are socialisedto be more aggressive that women who are socialized to be gentler, suggestingthat due to the strict social control are less likely to get into trouble. Thisconcept is changing, the idea of ladette culture that suggests that more womenare acting like men has led to an increase in female violent crime.
However according to the crime survey for Englandand Wales suggests that in the year 2016 there was an increase in sexualassaults where females where the victim (ONS, 2016). Another concept is the chivalryfactor, suggesting that women are treated more favourably by the police andcourts. However this may start from school age where males are treated moreharshly. ( J Griffiths, S Tivey, 2013) Resulting in a significant difference infemale and male convictions. In comparison, the media has a huge influence in the demonizationof females in relation to crimes seen to be going against their caring nature. Thepresentation of females being considered evil for crimes relating to children forexample (J Griffiths, S Tivey, 2013).
The portrayal of crime in media is hugelyinfluential in the reporting of crime and in some cases crime itself. The mediahad been scrutinised for creating moral panic and focussing their attention on certaincrimes rather than others, in particular crimes committed by the workingclasses (J Griffiths, S Tivey, 2013). White collar crime is seen to be treatedmore leniently, perhaps supported by the “old boy network” and corporate crimewhere victimisation is harder to pin point, especially when dealing withpollution. When considering the social class system in relation to crimethere are many indications that the working class are penalised for committingmore crime than the upper classes. Where there is more police activity in theworking class areas there is destined to be more crimes committed. There hasbeen suggestion that the concept of cultural and maternal depravation of thepoor has links to the higher conviction rates (J Griffiths, S Tivey, 2013).
Marxistviews suggest that the working classes are subject to victimisation from thepolice force, also suggesting that institutions such as the courts do notfavour the working classes. This is evident in the CSEW, where crimes again businessare not even included. However in the Commercial victimisation survey, shows anindication in commercial crime, even the unreported statistics. The CVS showed theretail and wholesale sector experienced the highest level of crime, anestimated 5.2 million incidents (ONS 2017) Indicating as rise in the documentationof upper class crime.
The concept of labelling and its large influential statuswithin sociology was outlined by Howard Becker and developed by Stan Cohen (JGriffiths, S Tivey, 2013) This concept is used when dealing with ethnicities’relation to crime. Stereotypes and racism is clearly apparent in the convictionrates of ethnic minorities. Neo- Marxists, a perspective derived from aspectsof Marxists and Interactionists