Examining Social Theory
Examining Social Theory
Criminology is basically the study of crime and its consequences. Sociological criminology believes that society plays a big part in influencing an individual to become a criminal. It was argued that human beings are rational beings and therefore have free will in making choices all which are meant to cause satisfaction and avoid pain. The history of criminology dates back to the eighteenth century. Punishments in those days were considered inhumane and cruel. The laws were unequal and corrupted. Penalties included torture and even death. .
It was later argued that the law must be equal to all and punishments for mistakes must fit the wrong done that is, the punishment must be greater than the satisfaction gotten from committing the wrong. Later in the nineteenth century, Emile Durkheim, a sociologist, concluded that every society has criminal behavior and that no society can lack crime. He stated that criminals are humans and they are the price society has to pay for its freedom.
Sociological social psychology is a part of sociology that is more interested in social actions and interrelations according to the social structure and culture. According to sociology socialization is the process of teaching someone to behave in a way that is acceptable in society.
Social processes are processes that show how criminal activities are learnt via interactions with other people.
Social psychology focuses on how people behave according to the social structures and cultures that govern them while socialization can be termed as integrating someone into a society and social process involves studying human interactions to show how they lead to crime.
The Learning theory states that people absorb knowledge from their surroundings and therefore become conditioned by what they’ve learnt. The knowledge gained helps them understand the world its people and how they function.Theories supporting this include; cognitive theory which is used to try and understand the mind, Transformative theory which focuses on peoples perspectives and events that may change these perspectives like life crises.
The Strain theory states that certain pressures increase the possibilities of crime. The society may be one of the stressors because it places unrealistic expectations on its people. It may either be; Structural -includes society levels that affect how people view their needs and Individual- includes the struggles experienced by individuals as they look for ways to satisfy their needs.
The Social structural theory basically shows how disadvantaged economic conditions influence criminal activities. Social structure refers to how a society is organized. It could be organized in terms upper class, middle class and the poor. The theories in this include; Cultural conflict theory- occurs when different cultural beliefs and values clash and Social disorganization theory- associates crime with to an individual’s surroundings.
The Cultural deviance theory states that crime is dependent on location. It states that crime depends on how close one is to the city and that the community is more to blame for crime rather than the individual themselves. High crime rates occur mostly in the transitional zone that is the zone just outside the city. This zone tends to have a lot of issues like unstable families and poor housing. The theories in this include; Low class theory-people in this class include slum dwellers. They are forced to violate the law in order to meet their need since they can’t afford them and the middle class theory- this class focuses on education and hard work. It’s much harder to fit in this class than it is to fit in the low class.
Strain theory may have the biggest effect on triggering crime because the social strain placed on individuals is real. The pressure to belong and achieve socially accepted goals leads to individuals committing crimes like drug trafficking to gain financial security.
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Loader, I., & Sparks, R. (2013). Public Criminology. Routledge.