Sociologists note that all societies allow a margin

This preview shows page 4 - 6 out of 41 pages.

Sociologists note that all societies allow a margin of tolerable or invisible deviance-deviance that will go unseen, or if seen, unpunished. Conformity is easier when we know there are occasional opportunities to break the rules Psychologists typically focus on individuals and the factors that influence them in a social context, i.e. the person is abnormal Sociologists look for answers for deviance outside the individual, why do people conform? Both conformity and deviance are normal , universal, and continuously present Sociologists in the functionalist tradition often follow either the social control theory or the rational choice theory Social control theory: posits that even normal people have deviant impulses. People conform to the rules when they develop a stake in conformity, thinking they will benefit, or at least avoid punishment, by doing so. Feeling secure and socially connected, they are unmotivated to deviate, locked in reciprocal obligation As people get locked into conventional conformity, some get locked into deviance, so called criminal careers. Sampson and Laub show that an early involvement in crime weakens the social bonds to significant others and conventional
institutions. The failure, early in life, to build social networks outside crime can trap people in a criminal lifestyle. Some people are able to escape this lifestyle by undergoing a key life event, such as marriage, parenthood, etc. These events can lead to new social bonds that impose controls on behavior and reduce the risk of further criminal behavior Rational choice theory : second approach, that is arguably part of functionalism, is concerned with the reasons that normal people might purposely set out to commit criminal acts. Proponents of this theory assume that most people are competing for desired social and economic resources, because they value the dominant goals of society: success, wealth, power, respect, fame, etc. Under some circumstances, if they believe they will not get caught, or if caught, will not be punished-people are motivated to maximize their own welfare even if they have to break the rules. Illegal work (crime) and legal work are merely points on the same continuum of income-generating activities: just ways of making money. The links between crime and legal work involve trade-offs among crime returns, punishment costs, legal work opportunity costs, etc. Often, ordinary people engage in illegal work because of the low wages and harsh conditions they experience in legal work. Many criminal offenders engage in both legal work and crime Businesses as well as individuals behave rationally where crime is concerned, weighting the benefits and costs of criminal activity. IN this sense, corporate crime-crime by seemingly upstanding people-is similar to street crime. The factors that encourage corporate crime include the failure of government regulation, lack of corporate self-regulation, and a lack of public awareness about corporate crime, etc. Thus, sociologists since Durkheim have shown that people

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture