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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Difference between "Sin", "Crime", "Vice", "Tort", and "Immorality".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - 0 Comments

For the sake of scientific study, the sin, the vice, the tort, the immorality etc, have been dealt with differently in criminology. A crime is an act against society or law or both for which it is penalised. Keeping this definition of crime in view, it will be beneficial to differentiate all these concepts from crime.


Crime and Sin

All the acts against religion are considered sins. Thus, sin can be defined as the transgression of divine laws. Its very base is religion, while the crime is based upon laws. The concept of sin is traditional, based on orthodoxy and rigidity. The final decision in sin is taken on the basis of religious books while in the matter of crime; it is taken by law court. Darrow has defined sin in a most suitable manner. In his words, “Sin……is an offence against God, a transgression against the divine law and any thought, desire, word, an act or omission against that law”.


Crime and Vice

Vices are often included in the category of crimes, but many of them, sometimes are not regarded as crimes. There is a lot of difference in their aims. The crimes cause harm to others while the vicious or the wicked causes harm to him only. For example, the vices like gambling, drinking prostitution or deriving pleasure out of illicit sexual intercourse; cause harm to the individual only. As the harm to the individual indirectly effects, the latter therefore prohibits the vices and generally gives punishment for them.


Crime and Tort

The encroachment upon the individual rights is known as tort. Under-hill has included the following actions in tort.

1. Encroachment of fundamental rights for which one is really authorized.

2. Encroachment of rights for which one is to suffer from personal loss.

3. The encroachment of social rights of an individual. The losses which can be compensated are counted as tort. The torts can be compensated, but in a crime a due punishment is given compulsorily by the law itself. In tort the man who has been injured or damaged by the vicious act, applies to the court for the compensation while in the matter of crime, the state itself punishes the criminal. The expression, interpretation or any sort of article.

Public Order Crime

Public Order Crimes

Public order crimes are violations of public order and decency and are crimes without victims. Public order crimes do not involve real injury to other person. Rather they disturb the community, as in the case of prostitution, they may be injurious to the individual as in drunkenness and drug addiction.

There are striking differences in the behaviour systems of various public order crimes. Most public order offenders do not regard their criminal behaviour as part of their life organization.

The extent of prostitution and the reaction of society to it have fluctuated over years. Prostitution is a sexual intercourse on a promiscuous and mercenary basis with emotional indifference. Prior to entering into prostitution many call girls have had personal contact with some one professionally involved in call girl activities such as pimps or other call girls. Once a girl has become a prostitute her apprenticeship period begins under the direction of another call girl of a pimp. Here she learns the call girls sub culture, major characteristic of it being how to develop attitudes and behaviour patterns which are parts of their social role. They develop their own professional language, special acts and service. The prostitute is paid for her loss of social esteem. Many prostitutes are able to leave their occupation for marriage or, for employment as waitresses or sales girls. But for many who are affected by V. D. alcoholism and drug addiction the end is in a derelict life of crime and imprisonment. The prostitute rationalizes about commercial sex by the legitimate value of financial success in society. Arrests strengthen the self conception of a prostitute and other associates.

Some public order offences such as prostitution and homosexual behaviour grow out of and are rather heavily supported by clearly defined deviant subcultures. Prostitutes can be classified according to their method of operation as individual common prostitutes, organized houses of prostitution, and call girl and high class independent prostitutes. New girls are brought into the house and they soon learn various sex techniques. The call girl often depends upon some organization to recruit her patrons or through the intermediary services of a ball hop, hotel desk clerk, a taxi driver etc, who expect a fee. Prostitution is associated with panderers or pimps. Some prostitution is permitted by shady business of commercial recreation such as night clubs. Prostitutes have often been indoctrinated into the profession. Group solidarity exists for protection from Police.

Much of the behaviour of public order offenders is consistent with legitimate behaviour patterns of society. The prostitute’s behaviour is simply one way of satisfying legitimate heterosexual needs and is a commercial occupation.

Public order offences are considered as contrary to the system of morals of standards of proper conduct but social condemnation is mild. Indeed there is a dilemma between criminal actions as opposed to no action at all against behaviour such as prostitution. Attitudes toward prostitution have varied historically and today they differ widely. The attitudes toward and the social status of the prostitute according to Davis vary according to 3 conditions: (1) if the prostitute practices discrimination among customers (2) if her earnings are used for some socially desirable goal (3) If she combines with her sexual role other more acceptable roles. In Latin America prostitution is prohibited by law but people tolerate it in urban areas. Prostitution is opposed because of: (1) degradation of the prostitute (2) effects on general law enforcement through police protection (3) effect on marital relations and (4) the patronage of prostitutes by youths.

Suicide, its Causes and Factors

Man naturally wants to live. He wants to maintain his body and prolong his life by all means available. In fact he spends good deal of his energy and resources towards finding ways and means to extend to the uppermost limit of longevity of existence on this planet, nay he dreams and wishes to conquer death and reverse the processes of ageing. He wants to avoid even minor hurts. It is often observed that a man involved in a major accident or a soldier injured by multiple bullet injuries when admitted to hospital is asked by the doctor; your left and right arm are affected by gangrene and these must be amputated to prevent general poisoning of the body immediately. May we proceed? The patient may feel depressed and, for a while, may think about the futility of life. But soon he recovers himself and asks of the doctor: Shall I be able to live and feel healthy? The doctor nods and the patient willingly consent. The self-same story is repeated again and again in the Emergency operation theatres of the hospitals all over the world. This confirms the fact, if ever a confirmation was needed, that this urge for survival is most deep-rooted and fundamental in man. As a matter of fact, the instinct of self-preservation is primordial and pivotal of all other urges; because, without survival nothing can be worthwhile. All these facts, not withstanding, some persons do put an end to their lives. Then there are some persons who individually and rationally choose to die. Such persons commit suicide, that is, sui (self) + cide (killing). Such cases are no doubt few and such persons are somehow abnormal; their reactions to life and certain events are extremely uncommon, not to be found in average man. Though these reactions to life and such individuals are very few and far between, they are to be found at all times in every clime and every society. Thus the act of suicide is universal and timeless; there is no society and no time where the acts of suicide are non-occurrent. However, suicide, besides being personal, is also a social event and is profoundly affected by social problem. His study of sociology includes study of both social organisation and social disorganization. In social disorganization we study those problems which disturb the social organisation and are productive of subversion in society. Suicide is one such problem. Therefore, the study of suicide and the investigation of its nature and prevention form the subject matter of sociology.


Definition of Suicide

1. Encyclopaedia Brittannica defines suicide as “the act of voluntary and intentional self destruction.” This emphasizes two salient features of the act of suicide: (1) that suicide involves the “will of the person, which consents and acquiesces in willing self-destruction: and (2) “Knowledge” that death is being preferred to life and that reason in person concerned is an award of and he has acknowledged this as a fact and accepted it as inevitable and non-avoidable. Another important fact brought out by this definition is that there is some sort of purpose behind the act of suicide and that without purpose suicide is not possible without desire there can be no intention; and desire presupposes some object or goal, that is, some purpose which has to be attained. Ruth S. Cavan has defined suicide “as the intentional taking of one’s life or the failure when possible to save one’s self when death threatens.”

2. Suicide is an Act which Affects whole Society – If someone indulges in self destruction or commits suicide, not only the members of his family but society as a whole is affected. This is true more or less in every case of suicide; but this is particularly so if the suicide is committed by an eminent scientists, scholar, artist, writer, social reformer etc; because their death deprives the society of their valuable services and may mean an irreparable loss to the society. This fact is illustrated by suicides in recent years by eminent personalities Marilyn Monroe and Dr Shah etc, by consuming an over dose of sleeping pills. Recently a Japanese writer of world renown and a recipient of Noble Prize killed himself by cutting his throat. The loss of such persons is deeply regretted by society because society is poorer on account of their deaths.

3. Suicide is a symptomatic of Personal Disorganization – Only if there is total disintegration of the personality of man and he has lost his equilibrium, a person commits suicide. There can not be an urge to put an end to one’s life so overwhelming as to suppress or counter the deep-rooted instinct of self-preservation unless there is some fundamental spiritual unrest and the soul, so to say, undergoes sea-change and is topsy-turvy. The suicide implies complete loss of sense of values in the person and the consequent feeling of emptiness and un-wholeness of everything – every aim or object of living. There is so much mental and physical disintegration that the ultimate escape through death appears to be the only way out.

4. Suicide is symptomatic of Social Disorganization – Besides, being a case of personnel disorganization, suicide also indicates or is symptomatic of social disorganization. The personal disorganization, as a matter of fact, is disorganization of a social unit; and, in as much as a change or deterioration in the unit spells change or deterioration in the whole, individual disorganization is a product of and as well as produces social deterioration in the society. In the least, it clearly foreshadows following fact: the norms and values which underline and govern the society are being seriously questioned and challenged in some quarters and that society lacks the flexibility to accommodate the serious dissent.


Psychological Nature of Suicide

The problem of suicide is highly complex; it can be approached in numerous ways and from various standpoints. A number of eminent psychologists have discussed suicide from the view point of psychology. Among them Freud and Bunsel are the most prominent. Below we shall discuss the views of these authorities of the world of psychological learning and accomplishment.

(A) Freud’s Viewpoint – The famous psychologist, and the father of Psychoanalysis, Freud has discussed the problem of suicide from his peculiar point of view and in the light of his remarkable psycho-analytical account of the whole gamut of human behaviour. According to him there is.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prison, its Characteristics and Aims

Friday, January 22, 2010 - 0 Comments

The crimes have existed in every society and in all times. Seeing that there is no society nor any era which is free from crimes, one is temped to say that criminality and humanity are the two sides of the same coin; and if this hurts some sensitive souls, this at least can be maintained without the fear of contradiction that no society can be free from a-social elements. The conception of society involves the conception of discipline and the discipline is needed only if the subject of discipline is wild, free and unfettered. The social thinkers have always been concerned about the ways of dealing with the crime and the criminals. Some have advocated the simplest way of elimination: kill or transport criminals. But others have advocated a moderate approach of reform and rehabilitation of the criminal by letting them realize their folly and learn the new way of life. It is under this approach that the idea of prison sprang up and various shelters or housing complexes were put up to exclude the criminal from the society so that he may realize and learn that deviant life does not pay and that he must accept the discipline of the society. In order to know fully about prison, their aim and purpose, we must first of all, attempt a definition of the prison.

Definition of Prison

The prison is a place which shelters persons of a particular category, viz. criminals, each for a definite period depending upon the ruling of the courts, to the exclusion of his family members. Below we give the definitions offered by eminent scholars of penology:

(A) In his book Society and the Criminal, M. J. Sethna defines prison thus; “A prison (meaning a ‘cage’) is a place for detention, prisons are places for detention of undertrials also. They are the place where the offender can be loged for his/her reformation”. Two features emerge from this definition: (1) prison is a place of temporary stay and (2) the temporary stay is intended to reform the criminal, that is, make him realize the folly of his deviant behaviour and also help him accept the normal ways of living.

(B) According to the ordinance of 1984, a prison house is a particular building or a building complex set up and maintained by the state government for keeping on a temporary or permanent basis the convicts and the undertrials. This definition brings out an important feature of the prison, namely, the fact that it is set up and maintained by the state government.

(C) Fairchild has defined the prison house in his Dictionary of Sociology thus: The prison house is a “penal institution operated by either the state or the federal government and used only for adult offenders whose sentence exceeds one year.” The definition of Fairchild brings out three elements: (1) government; (2) only adults are lodged there and they must have been proclaimed offender by the courts and (3) only those offenders are kept in the prison whose sentence exceeds one year.

Probation

Probation

Importance of Probation

Probation methods represent a distinct break with the classical theory of criminal law for here an attempt is made to deal with the offenders as individuals rather than as classes and to select certain offenders who can be expected to change their attitudes and habits with assistance while residing in the free community and to use punitive methods of rendering assistance.

What is Probation?

Probation is the suspension of a sentence during a period of liberty in the community condition upon the good behaviour of the convicted offender. It is thus a substitute to imprisonment. The Court and Probation Board looks after probation work. In many states probation is granted after the conviction for an offence. Before a person is placed on probation an investigation of character and the conditions of his crime is generally made. Probation is used as a substitute for discharging without supervision and imprisonment. The terms of probation are generally fixed by the court and Probation Board. They include observance of all laws, good habits, keeping good company, regular reports as required, regular work or school attendance, payment of fines or reparation, abstinence from the use of alcohol and drug, avoidance of unnecessary debts, living in a specified place, not marrying or divorcing, etc. a probationer may be required to undergo specific medical or psychiatric treatment. The maximum probation period is generally fixed by law and is the same as the maximum prison sentence for the offence. The probation officer informs the court if the probationer breaks the condition of probation.

Procedure or Probation

After he has been granted probation a probationer is assigned to a specified probation officer who administers the probation programme Contacts between the probation officer and his ward are made either in his officer or to the home of the probationer. Home visits are regarded as more effective. Probations are to report to the probation officer at regular intervals. The probationer is both supervised and guided towards non criminality. The objective of probation work is to change the attitude of probationers. The procedure for modifying attitudes consists essentially in arranging the person’s group relations. In order to be effective the policy of probation must be implemented by organizations of the local community, counselling by the probation officer and the receptivity and attitude of society especially that of the intimate groups like family and neighbourhood towards the probationer. Probation is the only method which totally avoids the punitive reaction as the only method which a released criminal has to cope with.

Modern notions of crime and criminality aim at reform and rehabiliation of criminals and correctional measures consist of parole, probation, juvenile reformatories, minimum security prisons, adult reformatories etc. But the defect in the correctional administration many a time mars the very purpose of correction which aims at the rehabilitation of the criminal into social life and the preparation of proper social environment for him. As a result of the constant clamour by reformers and the defects observed in the actual correctional practices welfare minded government have introduced measures which aim at establishing better relations between prisoner and his parole officer or prison guard. The defects lay in the selection of the parole and probation boards, absence of proper case work, terms of parole etc. Today the rules regarding parole and probation have been further elaborated and clear guidelines have been laid down. Suitable qualifications which mainly include proper counselling aptitude have been elaborately laid down and strictly adhered to in the selection of parole and probation officers. Further the implications of parole and probation have been made widely known and the parole officer is a friend, philosopher and guide to the prisoner. Proper checks and counterchecks have been provided in the internal working of probation and parole mechanisms. The conditions of parole have been further simplified. Proper placement of the prisoner in gainful employment is a necessary condition of probation and parole. Emphasis is given to the proper training which includes human relations and social work as its essential parts. Proper reforms have also been made in the prison administration where the prison guard today is the nominal supervisor of prisoner’s activities. The period of parole and probation has been considerably reduced and parole is treated only as a connecting link between the prison and the open society. Proper record is kept of the prisoner’s behaviour and the prisoner is encouraged to gain as much as possible for good behaviour to speeden his release. Individual case work is given all the importance and social workers help in the process. Parole officer is generally a Social Worker.

Practical Reforms and Judicial Reforms about Criminal Law

The data of criminal anthropology and statistics, and the positive theory of responsibility which flows from them, although they have been systematised only by the positive school, are nevertheless too constantly in evidence not to have made their way into courts and parliaments.
I have already spoken of penal jurisprudence in its relations with criminal sociology, and may now cite a few examples of the more or less direct and avowed influence of the new data on penal legislation.
The legislators of t-day, vaguely impressed by statistical and biological, ethnographical and anthropological data, and still imbued with the old prejudice of social and political artificiality, were at first hurried into a regular mania for legislation, under which every newly observed social phenomenon seemed to demand a special law, regulation, or article in the penal code. Then, as Spence has said in one of his most brilliant essays, the citizens finds himself in an inextricable network of laws, decrees, regulations and codes, which surround him, support him, fetter and bind him, even before his birth and after his death. For those whom M. Bordier calls the gardeners and trussmakers of society, forgetting the natural character of social phenomenon, picture society as so much paste, to which the cook may give any form he pleases, whether pie-crust, dumpling, or tart.
Hence we see on all sides, side by side with dogma in the classical sciences of law, economy, and politics, empiricism in the laws themselves. And that is why the practical defects and constant impotence of repression in penal justice are the most eloquent arguments of the experimental school, which extends and strengthens its own theoretical inductions by the practical reforms which it suggests.
A first example of the influence more directly exercised by the new ideas in penal legislation is furnished by the proposal already realised in the penal laws of Holland, Italy &c, of two parallel systems of punishment by detention-one for the graver and more dangerous crimes, and the other, “simple detention,” or custodia honesta (“as a first-class misdemeanant”), for contraventions, involuntary offences, and crimes not inspired by the baser passions.
Similarly, the enumeration contained in certain codes, as in Spain, and in the old Mancini draft of a penal code in Italy, of the main aggravating and extenuating circumstances common to all crimes and offences, such as the antecedents of the accused, venial or inexcusable passion, repentance and confession of a crime, extent of injury or the like, is only an elementary and empiric form of the biological and psychological classification of criminals.
Thus also the foundation of asylums for the detention of lunatic criminals, in spite of their being acquitted of moral responsibility; the more and more vigorous, but often too empirical measures against the progressive increase of recidivism; the proposed repressive measures as alternatives to short terms of detention; the recreation against the exaggerations of cellular confinement, which I regard as one of the aberrations of the nineteenth century, are all manifest proofs of the more or less avowed and logical influence of the data of criminal biology and sociology on contemporary penal legislation.
These practical reforms, which, when grafted on the old trunk of the classical theories of crime and punishment, are mere arbitrary and misplaced expedients, really represent, when they are logically coordinated and completed, the new system of social defence against crime, which is based on the scientific data and inductions of the positive school, and which it is therefore necessary for us to trace out from its foundations.
In the first place, whilst the positive theories largely reduce the practical importance of the penal code, yet they do more to increase the importance of the rules of penal procedure, which are intended to give practical and daily effect to penal measures, for the defence of society against criminals. For, as I maintained in the Italian Parliament, if the penal code is a code for evil-doers that of penal procedure is a code for honest people, who are placed on their trial but not yet found guilty.
This is all the more true because, if it is possible to have penal codes whose machinery of psychological coercion is planted on a platonic platform of penitentiary systems written out fair in their symmetrical clauses, but still non-existent, as is the case in Italy, this is not possible in regard to penal procedure. The regulations of the code of “instruction” must of necessity be carried out by a judicial routine. The penal code may remain a dead letter, as, for instance, when it says that punishment by detention is to be inflicted in prisons constructed with cells; for happily, the cells necessary in Italy for fifty or sixty thousand prisoners (or in France for thirty or forty thousand) are too expensive to admit of the observance of these articles of the penal code-which nevertheless have cost so many academic discussions as to the best penitentiary system: “Auburn,” “Philadelphian,” “Irish” or “progressive.” In the organisation of justice, on the other hand, every legal regulation has its immediate application, and therefore reforms of procedure produce immediate and visible results.
It may be added that, if the slight deterrent influence which it is possible for punishment to exercise depends, with its adaptation to various types of criminals, on the certitude and promptitude of its application, the others depend precisely and solely on the organisation of the police, and of penal procedure.
Passing over special and technical reforms which even the classical experts in crime demand in the systems of procedure, and often rather on behalf of the criminals than on behalf of society, we may connect the positive innovations in judicial procedure with these two general principles: - (1) the equal recognition of the rights and guarantees of the prisoner to be tried and of the society which tries him; and (2) the legal sentence, whereof the object is not to define the indeterminable moral culpability of the prisoner, nor the impersonal applicability of an article in the penal code to crime under consideration; but the application of the law which is most appropriate to the perpetrator of the crime, according to his more or less antisocial characteristics, both physiological and psychological.
From Beccaria onward, penal law developed by reaction against the excessive and arbitrary severity of the middle Ages – a reaction which led to a progressive decrease of punishments. Similarly official penal procedure in the nineteenth century has been, and continues to be, a reaction against the medieval abuses of the inquisitorial system, in the sense of a progressive increase of individual guarantees against the domination of society.
As we considered it necessary in the interests of social self-defence, in the case of criminal law, to combat the individualist excesses of the classical school, so in regard to penal procedure, whilst admitting the irrevocable guarantees of individual liberty, secured under the old system, we think it necessary to restore the equilibrium between individual and social rights, which has been disturbed by the many exaggerations of the classical theories, as well will now proceed to show by a few examples.
The presumption of innocence, and therewith the more general rule, “in dubio pro reo,” is certainly based on an actual truth, and is doubtless obligatory during the progress of the trial. Undetected criminals are fortunately a very small minority as compared with honest people; and we must consequently regard every man who is placed on his trial as innocent until the contrary has been proved.
But when proof to the contrary is evident, as, for instance, in the case of a flagrant crime, or of confession confirmed by other elements in the trial, it seems fit that the presumption should cease in view of absolute fact; and especially when we have to do with habitual criminals.
Even the criminals of this class whom I have questioned recognise a presumption of the opposite kind. “They have convicted me”, said a habitual thief, “because they knew I might have done it, without any proof; and they were in the right. You will never be convicted, because you never stole; and if we happen to be innocent once in a way, that must be set against the other times when we are not discovered”. And the ironical smile of several of these prisoners, condemned on circumstantial evidence, reminded me of a provision which was once proposed in the Italian penal code, under which a person surprised in the attempt to commit a crime, if it was not known what precise form his crime would have taken, was to be found guilty of a less serious offence. This might be good for an occasional criminal, or a criminal of passion, but would be absurd and dangerous for habitual criminals and old offenders.
The exaggerations of the presumption “in dubio pro reo” are due to a sort of mummification and degeneracy of the legal maxims, whereby propositions based upon observation and generalisation from existing facts continue in force and are mechanically applied after the facts have changed or ceased to exist.
What reason can there be for extending provisional freedom, pending an appeal, to one who has already been found guilty and liable to punishment for a crime or offence, under sentence of a court of first instance? To presume the innocence of every one during the first trial is reasonable; but to persist in a presumption which has been destroyed by facts, after a first condemnation, would be incomprehensible if it were not a manifestly exaggerated outcome of classical and individualist theories, which can only see a “victim of authority” in every accused person, and in every condemned person also.
Another point is that of acquittal in case of equality of votes, especially where born and habitual criminals are concerned. I think it would be much more reasonable to restore the verdict of “not proven,” which the Romans admitted under the form of “non liquet,” as an alternative to “absolvo” and “condemno,” and which may be delivered by juries in Scotland. Every one who has been put on his trial is entitled to have his innocence declared, if it has been actually proved. But if the proofs remain incomplete, his only right is not to be condemned, since his culpability has not been proved. But it is not the duty of society to declare him absolutely innocent, when suspicious circumstances remain. In this case the only logical and just verdict is one of “not proven.” Such a verdict would obliterate the shadow of doubt which rests on persons who have been acquitted, by reason of the identical verdicts in cases of proved innocence and inadequacy of proof, and on the other hand it would avoid the tendency to compromise, under which judges and juries, in place of acquitting when the proof is insufficient, sometimes prefer to convict, but make the punishment lighter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What is Deviance?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 0 Comments

For sociologists, the term deviance does not mean perversion or depravity. Deviance is behaviour that violates the standards of conduct or expectations of a group or society. In Pakistan, alcoholics, gamblers, rapists, and atheists would all be regarded as deviants. Being late for class is categorized as a deviant act; the same is true of dressing too casually for a formal wedding. On the basis of the sociological definition, we are all deviants from time to time. Each of us violates common social norms in certain situations.
Deviance involves the violation of group norms that may or may not be formalized into law. It is comprehensive concept that includes not only criminal behaviour but also many actions not subject to persecution. The public official who takes a bribe has defied social norms, but so has the college student who refuses to sit in an assigned seat or cuts class. Of course, deviation from norms is not always negative, let alone criminal. A member of the police force who exposes corruption and brutality present within the force is deviating forms the norms of the force.
As we noted earlier, deviance can be understood only within its social context. A nude photograph of a man or woman may be perfectly appropriate in a medical college but would be regarded as completely out of place in an elementary school classroom.

Is Law a Major Source to Prevent the Crime from Society?

Law and Society
Some norms are considered so important by a society that they are formalized into laws controlling people’s behaviour. In a political sense, law is the “body of rules made by government for society, interpreted by the courts, and backed by the power of the state”. Some laws, such as the prohibition against murder, are directed at all members of the society. Others, such as fishing and hunting regulations, are aimed primarily at particular categories of people. Still others govern the behaviour of social institutions (Securities and Exchange Agency, for example). Despite such differences, all types of laws are considered examples of formal social norms.
Sociologists have become increasingly interested in the creation of laws as a social process. Laws are created in response to perceived needs for formal social control. Sociologists have sought to explain how and why such perceptions are manifested. In their view, law is not merely a static body of rules handed down from generation to generation. Rather, it reflects continually changing standards of what is right and wrong; of how violations are to be determined and of what sanctions are to be applied.
Sociologists representing varying theoretical perspectives agree that the legal order reflects underlying social values. Therefore, the creation of criminal law can be a most controversial matter. Should it be against the law to employ illegal immigrants in a factory, to have an abortion, or to smoke on an airplane? Such issues have been bitterly debated because they require a choice among competing values.
It is important to underscore the fact that socialization is the primary source of conforming and obedient behaviour, including obedience to law. Generally, it is not external pressure from a peer group or authority figure that makes us go along with social norms. Rather, we have internalized such norms as valid and desirable and are committed to observing them. In a profound sense, we want to see ourselves (and to be seen) as loyal, cooperative, responsible, and respectful of others. In our society, people are socialized both to want to belong and to fear being viewed as different or deviant.

Informal and Formal Social Control

The sanctions used to encourage conformity and obedience – and to discourage violation of social norms – are carried out through informal and formal social control. Informal social control, as the term implies, is used by people casually. Norms are enforced through the use of the informal sanctions described in earlier chapters. Examples of informal social control include smiles, laughter, rising of an eyebrow, and ridicule.
Techniques of informal control are typically employed within primary groups such as families. Individuals learn such techniques early in their childhood socialization to cultural norms. Since these mechanisms of social control are not formalized, there can be great variation in their use even within the same society. For example, imagine that a teenager is sated in a crowded bus in a seat. A rather frail-looking elderly man gets on the bus and has nowhere to sit; yet the teenager does not move. One nearby passenger may scowl at the teenager; another may stare until the teenager becomes uncomfortable, while a third may verbalize the control mechanism by telling the teenager to get up.
In some cases, informal methods of social control are not adequate in enforcing conforming or obedient behaviour. In the example above, the teenager might look away from the scowling and staring passengers and might tell the third person, “Mind your own business!” At this point, passengers might enlist the aid of the bus-driver – whose occupational role carries with it a certain authority – in an attempt to force the teenager to give up the seat. Formal social control is carried out by authorized agents such as police officers, physicians, school administrators, employers, military officers, and managers of any organization. As we have seen, it can serve as a last resort when socialization and informal sanctions do not bring about the desired behaviour.
Societies vary in deciding which behaviours will be subjected to formal social control and how sever the sanctions will be. In the nation of Singapore, there are fines of $625 for littering, $312 for eating on the subway, and $94 for failing to flush a public toilet. In 1992, Singapore banned the sale of chewing gum, and 514 people were convicted of illegally smoking in public. Although a law has not yet been passed, Singapore’s government has officially criticized people who come fashionably late for dinner parties; such behaviour is viewed as a “growing problem with wide implications for productivity”. Sadly, all of the above mentioned undesirable behaviours which are being tried to be eliminated or at least be curtailed in Singapore are very much present in our society and go unnoticed like routine activities.
It is important to emphasize that formal social control is not always carried out only by government officials in response to violations of the law. Certain subcultures within a society exercise formal social control to maintain adherence to their distinctive social norms. For example, in the villages of Pakistan especially in the interiors of Sind, any person (mainly women) caught to be having an illicit relationship is killed by her male family members in the name of honour.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Conformity and Obedience

Friday, January 15, 2010 - 0 Comments

Techniques for social control can be viewed on both group and the societal levels. People whom we regard as our peers as our equal influence us to act in particular ways; the same is true of people who hold authority over us or occupy positions that we view with some awe. Stanley Milgram made a useful distinction between these two important levels of social control.
Milgram defined conformity as going along with one’s peers – individuals of a person’s own status, who have no special right to direct that person’s behaviour. By contrast, obedience is defined as compliance with higher authorities in a hierarchical structure. Thus, a recruit entering military service will typically conform to the habits and language of other recruits and will obey the orders of superior officers.
We often think of conformity in terms of rather harmless situations, such as members of an expensive health club who work out in elaborate and costly sportswear. But researchers have found that people may conform to the attitudes and behaviour of their peers even when such conformity means expressing intolerance toward others. It has been empirically determined that social control (through the process of conformity) influence people’s attitudes and the expression of those attitudes.
Regarding social control (through the process of obedience) and its potential in alerting people’s behaviour, Milgram says,
“Behaviour that is unthinkable in an individual while acting on his own, may be executed without hesitation when carried out under orders”.
Milgram pointed out that in the modern industrial world we are accustomed to impersonal authority figures whose status is indicated by a title (professor, lieutenant, doctor, and so on) or by a uniform (a policeman’s, for example). The authority is viewed as larger as and more important than the individual; consequently, the obedient individual shifts the responsibility for his or her behaviour to the authority figure.

Social Control

Social Control
As was seen earlier, every culture, subculture, and group as distinctive norms governing what it deems appropriate behaviour. Laws, dress codes, by-laws of organizations, course requirements, and rules of sports and games all express social norms. Functionalists contend that people must respect such norms if any group or society is to survive. In their view, societies literally could not function if massive numbers of people defied standards of appropriate conduct. By contrast, conflict theorists are concerned that “successful functioning of a society will consistently benefit the powerful and work to the disadvantage of other groups. They point out, for example, that widespread resistance to social norms was necessary in order to overrun the institution of slavery in the United States.
How does a society bring about acceptance of basic norms? The term social control refers to the “techniques and strategies for regulating human behaviour in any society”. Social control occurs on all levels of society. In the family, we are socialized to obey our parents simply because they are our parents. In peer groups, we are introduced to informal norms such as dress codes that govern the behaviour of members. In bureaucratic organizations, workers must cope with a formal system of rules and regulations. Finally, the government of every society legislates and enforces social norms – including norms regarding “proper” and “improper” expressions of sexual intimacy.
Most of us respect and accept basic social norms and assume that others will do the same. Even without thinking, we obey the instructions of police officers, follow day-to-day rules at our jobs, and move to the rear of elevators when people enter. Such behaviour reflects an effective process of socialization to the dominant standards of a culture. At the same time, we are well-aware that individuals, groups, and institutions expect us to act “properly”. If we fail to do so, we may face punishment through informal sanctions such as fear and ridicule, or formal sanctions such as jail sentences or fines.

Power, Theory of Crime; its Merits and Demerits

It seems obvious that power inequality affects the quality of people’s lives. The rich and powerful live better than the poor and powerless. Similarly, power inequality affects the quality of deviant activities likely to be engaged in by people. Thus the powerful are more likely to perpetrate profitable crimes such as corporate crime, while the powerless are more likely to commit unprofitable crimes, such as homicide and assault. In other words, power------or lack of it------largely determines the type of crime people are likely to commit.
Power can also be an important cause of deviance. More precisely, the likelihood of powerful people perpetrating profitable crimes is greater than the likelihood of powerless persons committing unprofitable crimes. It is, for example, ore likely for bank executives to peacefully rob customers than for jobless persons to violently rob banks. Analysis of the deviance is more common among the powerful (Thio, 1995).
First, the powerful have a stronger deviant motivation. Much of this motivation stems from relative deprivation ---- feeling unable to achieve a relatively high aspiration compared with the powerless, whose aspirations are typically low; the powerful are more likely to raise their aspirations so high that they cannot be realized. The more people experience relative deprivation, the more likely they are to commit deviant acts.
Second, the powerful enjoy greater deviant opportunity. Obviously, a rich banker enjoys more legitimate opportunities than a poor worker to make money. But suppose they both want to acquire illegitimately a large sum of money. The banker is bound to have access to more and better opportunities that make it easy to defraud customers. The banker also has a good chance of getting away with it because the kind of skills needed to pull off the crime comes from the kind required for holding the bank position in the first place. In contrast, the poor worker would find his or her illegitimate opportunity limited to crudely robbing, the banker, an illegitimate opportunity further limited by a high risk of arrest.
Third the powerful are subjected to weaker social control. Generally, the powerful have more influence in the making and enforcement of laws. The laws against higher-status criminals are therefore relatively lenient and seldom enforced, but the laws lower status criminals harsher and more often enforced. Not a single corporate criminal, for example, has even been sentenced to death for marketing some untested drug that “cleanly” kills many people. Given the lesser control imposed on them, the powerful are likely to feel freer to use some deviant means to amass their fortunes and power.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quinney’s Conflict Theory

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 0 Comments

Quinney’s Conflict Theory
Four factors influence one another, helping to produce and maintain a high level of crime in society.
To Marxists, the capitalist’s classless drive to increase profit by cutting labour costs has created a large class of unemployed workers. These people become what Marxists call marginal surplus population------superfluous or useless to the economy. They are compelled to commit properly crimes to survive. The exploitative nature of capitalism also causes violent crimes (such as murder and assault) and non-criminal deviances (such as alcoholism and mental illness). As Sheila Balkan and her colleagues (1980) explained, economic “marginality least to a lack of self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness and alienation, which create intense pressures on individuals.
Many people turn to violence in order to vent their frustrations and strike out against symbols of authority, and others turn his frustration inward and experience severe emotional difficulties.
Marxists further content that the monopolistic and oligopolistic nature of capitalism encourages corporate crime, because “when only a few firms dominate a sector of the economy they can more easily collude to fix prices, divide up the market, and eliminate competitors” (Greenberg, 1981). Smaller firms, unable to compete with giant corporations and earn enough profits, are also motivated to shore up their sagging profits by illegal means.
Conflict theory is useful for explaining why most laws favour the rich and powerful and why the poor and powerless commit most of the unprofitable crimes in society (such as murder, assault, and robbery). The theory is also useful for explaining why crime rates began to soar after the formerly communist countries in Russia and Eastern Europe embraced capitalism. But the theory has been criticized for implying that all laws are unjust and capitalism is the source of all crimes.

Conflict Theory of Crime

Conflict Theory
Many people assume that the law is based on the consent of citizens, that it treats citizens equally and that it serves the best interest of society. If we simply read the U.S.A., constitution and status, this assumption may ideal be justified? But focusing on the law on the books, as William Chambliss (1969) pointed out, may be misleading. The law in the books does indeed say that the authorities ought to be fair and just. But are they? To understand crime, Chambliss argue, we need to look at the law in action, at how legal authorities actually discharge their duty. After studying the law in action, Chambliss concluded that legal authorities are actually unfair and unjust, favouring the rich and powerful over the poor and weak.
Richard Quinney (1974) blamed the unjust law directly on the capitalist system. The state and the ruling class to secure the survival of the capitalist system use “Criminal law”, said Quinney. This involves the dominant class doing four things. First it defines as criminal those behaviours (robbery, murder, and the like) that threaten into interests. Second it hires law enforces to apply those definitions and protect its interests. Third, it exploits the subordinate class by paying low wages so that the resulting oppressive life conditions force the powerless to commit what those in power have defined as crimes. Fourth, it uses these criminal actions to spread and reinforce the popular view that the subordinate class is dangerous, in order to justify its concerns with making and enforcing the law. The upshot is the production and maintenance of a high level of crime in society (Quinney, 1975).

Theory of Control by Hirschi

Hirschi: Control Theory
A functionalist sociologist Travis Hirschi (1969), who is credited with first formulating a coherent statement of “control theory”. Criminology should pay more attention to answering the question. Why do men obey the rules of society? As a starting point this has been neglected, as for example, in strain theory and theories of cultural deviance like different association in favour of the more obvious question “why do men not obey”?
Hirschi takes his lead from Hobbes (leviathan): of all passion that which inclined men least to break the laws is fear. Nay, expecting some generous natures. It is the only thing, when there is appearance of profit or pleasure by breaking the laws, which makes men keep them. Control theory does not do nor, that makes men keep them. Control theory does not, however, assume that man is basically amoral: but it does assume variations occur when social controls have weakened: when the individuals “bond to society is weak or broken” (Hirschi). With this, his respect decreases, he has less to fear from society’s reproof and he acts increasingly in self-interest.
In Hirschi’s analysis the bond involves attachment’, commitment’, involvement, and a belief in conventional morals. Conforming behaviour is thereby “explained” and with it its counterpart is deviance. His research and much since was designed to test the empirical basis for this and the link with deviance. What is valuable in this approach is the assertion of man’s freedom and rationality as opposed to the social determinism, which has characterized much else. Control theory’s major claim to novelty is that it re-conceptualizes the starting point of something, which might turn into a deviant career. By stressing the bountiful in an established institutional order to cares coax and covert new comers into conformity control theory reveals that when this object is not achieved individuals remain at liberty to explore, and that exploration may lead to behaviour labelled as deviant by the powerful. (Box. 1981).
Many studies have supported Hirschi’s theory that the lack of social bond causes deviance, but most of these studies have ignored, as does the theory, the fact that the lack of bond can also be the effect of youth to commit delinquency, delinquency can cause the youth to lose their bond to society.

Conflict Perspective
Functionalist assumes the importance of social consensus for explaining deviance. Thus for Durkheim, deviance is functional to society as a whole and hence to virtually all groups in it. To Hirschi, bond to society is always a desirable goal for everybody if they want to avoid deviance. And to Braithwaite, shaming is a widely shared value in communitarian societies. By contrast, conflict as in the form of inequalities or power differentials-for explaining deviance.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Theory of Durkheim/Functionalist Theory about Crime

Friday, January 1, 2010 - 0 Comments

Durkheim, Functionalist Theory

According to Durkheim, deviance can serve a number of functions for society.
First deviance helps enhance conformity in society as a whole. Norms are basically abstract and ambiguous, subject to conflicting interpretations. Even criminal laws, which are far more clear-cut than other norm, can be confusing. The criminal at a deviant commits and is punished for provides other citizens with a concrete example of what constitutes a crime. From deviants we can learn the difference between conformity and deviance, seeing the boundary between right and wrong more clearly. Once aware of this boundary, we are more likely to stay on the side of righteousness.
Second, deviance strengthens solidarity among law-abiding members of society. Differing values and interests may divide them, but collective outrage against deviants as a common enemy can unite them. Because deviance promotes social cohesion that decreases crime, Durkheim (1966) described it as a factor in public health, an integral part of all healthy societies.
Third deviance provides a safety valve for discontented people. Through relatively minor forms of deviance, they can strike out against the social order without doing serious harm to themselves or others. As Albert Cohen (1966) suggested, prostitution may serve as a safety value for marriage is male-dominated society, because the customer is unlikely to form an emotional attachment to the prostitute. In contrast, a sexual relationship with a friend is more likely to develop into a love affair that would destroy the marriage.
Fourth deviance can induce social change. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders were jeered and imprisoned for their opposition to segregation, but they moved the United States toward greater social equality.
There is a limit, however, to the validity of Durkheim’s functionalist theory. If deviance is wide spread, it can threaten social order in at least two ways. First, it can destroy interpersonal relations. Alcoholism can tear many families apart. If a friend flies into a rage and tries to kill us, it will be difficult to maintain a harmonious relationship. Second, deviance can undermine trust. If there were many killers, robbers, and rapists living in our neighbour we would find it impossible to welcome neighbours into our home as guests or babysitters. Nevertheless, Durkheim’s theory is useful for demolishing the common sense belief that deviance is always harmful. Deviance can bring benefits if it occurs within limits.

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