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Sociological Theories of Crime

It is believed that criminal behavior is acquired from the people who commit heinous crimes. The more this person takes interest in the crime being done, the more dangerous their intention to commit the crime becomes.

Sociological theories are mainly dependent on the four deviant theories.

  1. Social Strain Typology – It was given by Robert K. Merton which was based on two things. First, a person’s desire to achieve social and cultural goals; secondly, their belief that they can achieve those goals. Merton said, “there are five types of deviance based upon these criteria: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion. Merton’s typology is fascinating because it suggests that people can turn to deviance in the pursuit of widely accepted social values and goals. For instance, individuals in the U.S. who sell illegal drugs have rejected the culturally acceptable means of making money, but they still share the widely accepted cultural value of making money.”
  2. Structural Functionalism – It talks about how deviance plays an important role to unite different types of populations together. It also helps to distinguish between what kind of behavior is acceptable what is not. It helps in affirming certain norms of the society as it draws lines between the right and the wrong.
  3. Conflict Theory – It is the third sociological theory that explains that deviant behavior takes place because people face economical, social, and political inequalities. As a result, these people protest in their own ways against their so-called “oppressors”. Occupy Wall Street Movement is one of the examples under the conflict theory. In this movement, people who belonged to the lower strata of the economic hierarchy started protesting against the “rich” or “wealthy” by coming up with more communal ways to live in Zucotti Park.
  4. Labeling Theory – This theory explains that people become deviant or defiant because society puts that label on them. In a way, they “adapt” to all those labels put on them and try to behave in exactly the way others expect them to behave. This attitude is because of social stigma, thus harming the community being targeted. Another incident took place in an American high school, where a group of high schoolers were labeled as “shooters” and very soon, they became part of what is called the “Columbia High School Massacre.”

Other Theories

Other theories include Biological Theories of Deviance which further talks about penology, atavism, and the Italian school of criminology. The Psychological Theories of Deviance talks about the criminal’s “intention” or “motivation” for defying all the social norms. Conduct disorder is generally diagnosed in childhood which happens as a result of repetitive defiant behavior of the child. Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD happens after a really stressful event that takes place in a person’s life. It includes disturbed sleep cycles, recurring dreams, and low concentration.


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