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Sociological Perspectives

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Frank Schmalleger, 2006 in the text “Criminology today, An Integrative Introduction” is keen to describe societal perspectives and dynamics to society. Crime is defined as the conduct of persons who violate the state’s criminal laws, where the federal government or local jurisdiction defines the laws. The author creates a clear picture of the relationship between social problems and social responsibility where crime is involved.

The American society has long been affected by crime which has been persistent. Crimes such as the white collar crimes, organized crimes and conventional crimes have been describe not only in the American society but world over. Crimes have been against persons, against property, white collar crimes and organized crimes, linked to drug abuse, and linked to technology. This essay describes three 3 publicized criminal acts according to the modern word and the three sociological perspectives i.e. Legalistic, Political, Sociological, Psychological as described by Frank Schmalleger. The sociological perspective is critically addressed giving examples and assumptions in their context.

A social crime is an antisocial act that must be repressed so as to preserve the existing social order. Whenever such as act occurs it must be addressed previous to it changes the social structure. This social crime has its shortcomings in that it makes it possible to criminalize acts that may only cause indirect injury.

According to Schmalleger, 2006 p.111 “human beings are fundamentally rational and most human behavior is the result of free will coupled with rational choice; pain and pleasure are the two central determinants of human behavior, and punishment is a necessary evil”. This means that crime is sometimes inevitable in society and the punishment is a necessary measure to correct it. Crime can described using characters that define the criminals; criminologists identify legal categories, victim behavior, offender motivation, offender peculiar aspects, and the situation of the event to give a clear typology of the crime.

Rape has highly been publicized which falls under sexual offenses where it is a sexual assault, an example is the case against Kobe Bryant an NBA star. The media highly focused on the case where he was acquitted of the charges. Computer hacking has also been highly publicized with Kelvin David Mitnick being one of the renown computer hacker (Schmalleger, 2006 p.334). He had several counts of criminal acts where he had hacked into numerous systems read emails, made free calls or tapped important information from government institutions. He was convicted in 15th February 1995. Terrorism has also been widely publicized, since the September 11 2001 event terror gangs and individuals have remained on the spot over their actions. Such groups and individuals include the Al-Qaida and Alfaizul who was the major suspect in the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and is still facing trial.

Violent acts have been numerous and most common in the American society with majority of the case dealing with violence. Violent crimes include homicide, rape, assault, and robbery. They also encompass cold blood murder situations, simple assault, and planned murders. All these violent crimes may be as a result of change in social structure. The typologies that define violent crimes include biosocial issues, availability of weapons, factors of development, and the relationship between the offender and the victim and are aspects that criminologists must address to their reduce crime rates (Schmalleger, 2006 p.320).

The social perspective of crime has two basic assumptions which are firstly that the group dynamics are the major causes of the crime and secondly are that social disorganization leads to increased crime rates. Mainly society is defined by its unique characteristics and this means that whatever they believe in will lead their morals. This can be evident in the causes of terrorism which is caused by social dynamic factors where a certain religion believes in holy war. This drives the crime rates high with numerous suicide bombings and terror attacks such as the September 11 2001 on the Americans.

Any disorganization of the society leads to crime increase or causes crimes. Whenever the structure of a society changes it may lead to aggravated crimes especially when their social status is affected (Ferrell, et al, 2008). This can be seen when person get involved in robberies to get rich or involving in drugs and alcohol to accept themselves. Drugs will lead to other crimes in the social setting. This disorganization may be due to changes of economic class or organization based on race, religion, gender, and politics among others. Cultural changes in society also have links to causing crimes; social culture is sometimes very fragile to change in view of the fact that it affects the social structure. Whenever culture is changed it leads to social conflict and thus leads to instability. Crimes such as workplace stalking and terrorism are as a result of social changes.

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