Crime is a Social Construct.

Essay by Chyna1University, Bachelor'sB, October 2003

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Crime is the product of the social structure; it is embedded in the very fibres of society. In this essay, I aim to explore different theories as to why crime exists within society and how we as a society therefore construct it. Crime is a social construct; it is always in society and is on the increase. It is inevitable. Where does it come from? It comes from legislation, from the making of laws.

Functionalists see crime deviance in society as a function, in that it serves to remind us, through public condemnation of those who have broken the rules, of our shared values and norms. Furthermore, they suggest that crime is a result of structural tensions and a lack of moral regulations within society. If the aspirations held by individuals and groups in society do not coincide with the available rewards, this disparity between desires and fulfilment will be felt in the deviant motivations of some of its members.

This was the basis for Merton's Anomie theory. (Robert Merton 1957)

Emile Durkheim saw crime and deviance as social factors and believed both of them to be inevitable and necessary elements in modern society. The people in that society are less constrained than in traditional times. There is more room for the individual choice in a modern world and it is therefore inevitable that there will be some non-conformity. Durkheim recognises that no society would ever be in complete consensus about the norms and values which govern it. He also saw that it was necessary for society in that it fulfils two important functions. Firstly, deviance is an adaptable function, and by introducing new ideas and challenges in society, it brings about change. Secondly, deviance promotes boundary maintenance between good and bad behaviours. It...