Term paper on Three Approaches to Explanation of Crime

The theoretical base of study of the negative social phenomena remains poorly developed in spite of numerous researches on criminology and sociology of deviant behavior. There is a number of theories and approaches to the study and explanation of crime.

From the point of the systematic and structural functionalist approach criminality is a complex social dynamic system. It is open, self-determined and developing. In the structural functionalist approach researchers believe that the presence of criminality in the society performs certain social functions, serves as the form of either regulative or adaptative reaction on public processes, phenomena, institutions, etc. The aim of structural functionalist analysis is to explain the studied phenomena by determination of their value for large social structures they belong to.

The theory of social interaction studies not only individuals officially qualified as criminals but also processes during which people are determined as criminals. The model of deviant or criminal career was developed in which interaction plays the main role. It consists of 5 stages: nonconformal action; enjoying it; experience of arrest or stigmatization of man as a criminal; joining a criminal group. This step influences greatly the self-rating and self-perception of personality.

The theory of social conflicts is of prime importance in the criminal sociology. Man’s life is an element and result of interactions inside a group and between groups. People clamouring against the majority opinion and refusing to follow the prescribed codes of conduct are certainly declared criminals and treated accordingly. This theory explains criminality as a phenomenon necessarily accompanying social and political conflicts conducted in order to either hold or improve the positions of groups in a race for power in the society.

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