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1) Positivist sociology

Comte argued that sociology should be based upon the same methods as natural science. He said that if we can find “facts” about society we could then identify a cause and effect relationships and laws in society. Durkheim said that social facts, institutions, beliefs and values of society, should be treated the same way as … Continue reading

2) Realist Sociology

Realists say that there are differences between the social and natural worlds, however this doesn’t mean social science is impossible. This is because both the natural and social worlds are produced by structures and mechanisms, and it is the job of sociology as a science to uncover these structures and mechanisms. Andrew Sayer said that … Continue reading

3) Interpretivist Sociology

Max Weber said that sociology is ‘a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation’. Weber said we need to understand why people do things if we are to truly understand their actions. Weber developed the theory of verstehen whereby researchers put themselves in the … Continue reading

1) Physiological theories

In his book L’Uomo Delinquente Cesare Lombroso argued that criminals were throwbacks to an earlier and more primitive form of human being. He said there were several characteristics, such as large jaws, extra fingers and monobrows which were clear signs that someone was a criminal. Lombroso said that we can easily identify who the criminals, … Continue reading

2) Functionalist perspective

Crime is inevitable – Durkheim, a functionalist, said that crime is inevitable in society. This is because not everyone will buy into the collective sentiments of society, and will deviate from these norms and beliefs. Durkheim said a certain amount of crime and deviance as normal and an integral part of all healthy societies. This … Continue reading

3) Subcultural Theories

Subcultural theories build upon the work of Merton. They say that deviance is the result of individuals conforming to the values and norms of a social group to which they belong, if you belong to a social group whose norms differ from those of the main society then you will become a deviant. Cohen said … Continue reading

4) Interactionist perspective

Interactionists disagree with functionalist on both the idea that society has a consensus about what crime is and the idea that crime is caused by “external forces”. Instead Blumer said everybody commits crimes and deviance, it is more important to look at the way society reacts to this behaviour. Howard Becker said that society creates … Continue reading

5) Marxist perspective

Marxists say crime can only be understood in terms of capitalism and the class struggle.  Not only is the justice system unfair on the working-class it also benefits the ruling class. Who makes the law and who benefits? The first question Marxists asks is, who makes the laws and who benefits? They say laws are … Continue reading

7) Neo-Marxist perspective

In their publication The New Criminology the neo-Marxists Taylor, Walton and Young said that they agreed with Marxism on three key issues in relation to crime. They agree that the economy is the most important part of society, and it is from this that crime is born. They believe that the capitalism is to blame … Continue reading

7) Feminist Perspectives

Crime statistics tell us that men commit more crimes then women, and sociologists have different explanations as to why this is. Sutherland (1949) said girls have a stricter upbringing whereas boys are encouraged to take risks; boys also have more opportunities to commit crimes due to their freedom Parsons (1955) said in the modern nuclear … Continue reading