Posted in A2 Sociology: Crime and Deviance, A2 Sociology: Religion

Classic vs. positivist criminology

The argument has a political (right vs. left wing) and scientific dimension.

The classic approach could be considered to directly relate to governing whilst the scientific approach is directly linked to Lombroso.

Classical approach

  • Started with the enlightenment period which took place during the early industrialisation of Europe, the French Revolution and later, the American Revolution.

During this time the ideas of Cesare Beccaria were influential:

  • the power of the monarchy declined
  • human rights increased
  • freedom increased
  • reason was prized over superstition
  • Free will was seen as vital

The idea of the social contract also became ubiquitous: that free rational individuals sacrifice part of their freedom so it maintains peace and security.

Utilitarianism: Jeremy Bentham utilised a ‘hedonistic calculus’ to argue that individuals used a cost benefit analysis between pain and pleasure. Therefore, most people don’t commit crime if the pain will clearly outweigh the pleasure. The action is right if it creates happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse of happiness—not just the happiness of the performer of the action but also that of everyone affected by it.

Positivist approach

  • Cannot assume humans are the same – study the actor not the act
  • Imitate the natural science approach
  • Subconscious, biological, physiological, stats etc.
  • Focus on medical treatment of crime
  • Criminals born criminal

E.G Lombroso – profiling according to head size, extra nipples etc.!

How do these ideas link to the beliefs in society topic?

The enlightenment is a key period in social history because it was perhaps the first time the hegemonic status quo was challenged by an organised group of intellectuals which then spread to the public consciousness. One of the reasons some countries in Europe are considered to be more secular is because they experienced the enlightenment. On the other hand, the USA didn’t which has therefore has lead to greater levels of religiosity.

How do these ideas link to the crime and deviance topic?

The classical approach is still very influential particularly upon neo-liberalism (a common ideology throughout the world) which views individuals as rational actors therefore when they commit a crime, they need to be punished fully. The right wing press are an influential part of this ideology. This is very different to the left wing approach which tends to look at wider social factors such as social class.

It could also be argued that there is a subconscious observance to the positivist approach – perhaps legal professionals follow what Cicourel labels the ‘typical deviant’ – someone who might look too dissimilar to the criminal types identified by Lombroso.

Advertisements
Posted in AS Sociology: Education

Education: ‘Manhood Academy’

Black British men, particularly Afro-Caribbean males are more likely to go to prison and under perform in schools. Suffering from material and cultural capital are often said to be key causes. However, most commonly, living in a single parent family headed by a female is seen as the biggest cause because young males lack a positive male model. At his ‘Manhood Academy,’ in North London, Davis Williams and several other black male mentors take on the paternal and fraternal roles they feel young men are missing.

Watch the video on the following link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-40287582

Posted in GCSE Sociology

GCSE Media/Power: propaganda

The Conservative Party are spending millions of pounds advertising on social media, in particular, Facebook. It is a great way to connect with the electorate because it is interactive. It also reaches a huge amount of people. For example, a recent video attacking Jeremy Corbyn’s relationship with the IRA:

A persuasive video. However, it is yet another example of misrepresentation.

When Corbyn is asked, “But you’re condemning all bombing, can you condemn the IRA without equating it to.” The video is cut when Corbyn said: “No.”

However, the full quote was: “No, I think what you have to say is all bombing has to be condemned and you have to bring about a peace process. Listen, in the 1980s Britain was looking for a military solution, it clearly was never going to work. Ask anyone in the British army at the time … I condemn all the bombing by the loyalists and the IRA.”

Posted in GCSE Sociology

GCSE C + D: A knife and gun crime epidemic?

Image result for knife crime london

You may have read that the Metropolitan police (London)  has recorded a 40% increase in gun and knife crime – this is obviously causing real concern.

Some have argued that the reason for this increase has something to do with the decrease in police numbers (implemented by Teresa May when she was Home Secretary –  143,770 officers – 2009 compared to 122,859 in 2016. This is why Labour have pledged 10,000 extra officers as part of their campaign pledge.

However, as usual, a little digging beneath the headlines reveals a less shocking reality:

– The gun crime stats are still much lower than in 2004 for example – in 2004, gun crime stood at 24,094 incidents a year, the figure was 5,864 in 2016.

Indeed, the Office for National Statistics states that the crime levels are largely steady in much of England and Wales

Posted in GCSE Sociology

GCSE Power + Politics: voting and age

Image result for grey vote

There is an estimated 10 million people in the UK over 65

YouGov has estimated that:

  • for every 10 years older people get, the chance of them voting Tory increases 8%
  • one in five voters aged 65 to 75 vote Labour
  • less than one in 10 over-75s identify as Labour.

Perhaps policies such as universal (everyone over 65) benefits such as the winter fuel bonus, free bus passes and free TV licences have helped secure this vote…