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Crime And Deviance Is Normal In Society

2836 words - 12 pages

Crime and Deviance is Normal in Society

Is crime an abnormal act committed by an abnormal person? Most persons confronted with this particular question would undoubtedly say, ¡§Yes¡¨. They would consider themselves, perhaps not angelic, but certainly law-abiding members of society. However, if these, law-abiding citizens were to focus on the question, their answer might be very different. They might discover that the gene of criminality is in us all. Crime and deviance is not only a normal part of society, it is undoubtedly a product of its very existence.
Through the work of great individuals such as Durkheim and Merton, who thought at great length about the question, and used a variety ...view middle of the document...

In accordance with Marxist theory, it is the views of the powerful that dominate, as they have the ability to make their views prevail. It would then appear that what constitutes a crime is open to debate; moreover, the criminals who we choose to despise, are they no more than mere victims of our own perceptions. Our own social conditioning? To see why this is, we must look to the very basis of society and how it decides what is right or wrong.

„« Physiological theories

Cesare Lombroso, an Italian army doctor, is considered by many as the founder of the scientific school of criminology, drew physiological conclusions. Lombroso¡¦s infamous work, L¡¦Uomo Delinquents (1876), first developed the idea of the atavistic criminal. Atavism, a term originally used by Charles Darwin, suggests that in the process of human evolution some individuals can represent a genetic ¡¨throwback¡¨. Utilizing this idea, Lombroso debated that the criminal individual was born so. Physical indication of criminal potential could be identified through specific bodily characteristics, all of which suggested the bearer was a throwback from a more primitive age. These physical characteristics included abnormal teeth, extra nipples, extra or missing toes and fingers, large ears and an overly prominent jawbone. Later research however, found no support for Lombroso¡¦s ideas. This did not mark the end of physiological theories, though.
Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck found a casual relationship between biological factors and delinquency. These factors were based on physical build; they argue that stocky round individuals ¡§mesomorphs¡¨ tend to be more active and aggressive than those with other builds. This may be true, but a criminal is more likely to possess these characteristics because a small weak man would undoubtedly make a very poor criminal. Strength is something that is of benefit when you are to undertake the role of criminal, and thus opens the criminal arena to the ¡§mesomorph¡¨. Similarly, any bizarre appearance may well exclude the majority from leading a normal life.
Taylor, Walton and Young also provided an alternative explanation for the link between the mesomorph and delinquency. They suggested: ¡§It may well be that the lower working-class children, who are more likely to be found in the criminal statistics, are also, by virtue of diet, continual manual labor, physical fitness and strength, more likely to be mesomorphic¡¨ .
It may well be that physiological factors predispose a person to criminal activities but to claim physiological factors, as the sole cause is an unfair notion as it causes society to observe certain people in a stereotypical view. Thus certain members are virtually ostracized from society, which in turn in counter-productive as it segments society.

„« Psychological theories

Psychological theories share particular characteristics with physiological theories in how the deviant is seen. The deviant is seen as entirely...

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