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Crime and Deviance: A Social Inquiry

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  1. Is crime normal in a society?
  2. What is the purpose of crime and punishment?
  3. How much crime is “enough,” and how would this be measured?
  4. How is crime defined?
  5. What problems are defined as worthy of social control?
  6. What is the influence of the media?
Sep 26th, 2017

1.) Yes, crime is definitely normal in a society not only because it is a fictitious scenario to have a crime free society, but also because it is actually essential in a society.So even though crime is perceived as an "evil deed" it actually serves a purpose.

 According to Emile Durkheim, crime is actually important to the well-being of society. He believes that crime challenges the established moral and legal laws act to bring together or unite the law-abiding citizens. 

Durkheim said that if we do not experience crime, society would not be able to learn what justice is, and how everyone needs to treated fairly. Also, if crime did not exist, law and order wouldn't have existed as well.

It is like the Chinese philosophy "Yin Yang". For good to exist, bad must also co-exist. The same flow with Durkheim's theory.

2.) Crime actually starts because of a selfish or evil intention, the main purpose of a criminal is to satisfy that intention. But to the society, the purpose of crime is for us to realize this need for justice . Also for us to realize that there is a need for a government, an organized way of life and that we need to be careful about other people. 

Crime can also be effective in bringing about social change, when social norms are incompatible with the conditions of life. Which means that a criminal of yesterday or today can be tomorrow's philosopher.

The purpose of punishment is to control crime. To keep it at a low rate, since high crime rate will make a society "chaotic".

3.) Emile Durkheim's theory states that there needs to be a perfect balance for crime. Too little would end the interaction of the public for solving problems and too much would lead to a chaotic society.

So too see if crime is enough, there are crime statistics used. Surveys and Law enforcement reports are used to gather data to measure how much is the crime rate of a certain district.

But without using numbers, we simply observe the society and it's economy, if you hear a lot of crimes in the area then there is probably too much crime, this would affect the economy afterwards as investors will then be threatened and leave the area. Based on studies, areas with very very low crime rates are often those that have low population and is also not progressive. So If the economy is booming or stable, then most probably it indicates that crime in that area is just controllable.

4.) According to the dictionary, It is an act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction.

But for Emile Durkheim:

'The only common characteristic of all crimes is that they consist in acts universally disapproved of by members of each society. crime shocks sentiments, which, for a given social system, are found in all healthy consciences.'

5.) The problems that break the  conformity, solidarity and continuity of society are the problems that are worthy of social control.

6.) The media influences how a person thinks and behaves. We rely on the media for news, current affairs and entertainment and so media bombards us with all the images and information. Such images and information can affect the way we perceive real life and can affect how we think and act. Also, information the media realeases can be biased or partial, therefore they can hide or alter the truth.

Sep 10th, 2014

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