Crime and Violence in Society
The concept of deviance in sociology is a broad one, encompassing many forms of behavior, legal and illegal, ordinary and unusual. Crime is one form of deviance, specifically, behavior that violates specific criminal laws. School violence, shootings in the workplace, drive by shootings: these are the images of violence in America. Violence is growing more rapidly among youth than any other groups – both as victims and as perpetrators. (Becker, 2004) What can be done about violence?
Sociologists emphasize that violence is a social context. It is higher in some regions than others namely in the south and in urban areas. Violence is also more likely against certain groups, particularly young African American men, for whom homicide is the leading cause of death. (Lauer & Lauer, 2008) What can be done about violence? There is not a single answer to such a question. Some suggest that gun control is the key to reducing violence; others attribute the cause of violence to family problems. Poverty and unemployment are also strongly related to violence. Some sociologists suggest that the media sensationalizes violence, exaggerating the true extent of violence and creating a “culture of fear.” Politicians, corporations, and advocacy groups can and do profit from creating a culture of fear and use the media to convey a sense of that the nation is wracked by crime, drug abuse, and disease. These fears divert attention and financial resources from other problems such as poverty, education, and housing – problems that could be addressed with increased resources. (Becker, 2004) (Benokraitis & Macionis, 2004)
There are three sociological theories on crime and violence. The functionalist or social control theory assumes that deviance occurs when a person or groups attachment to social bonds is weakened because most of the time, people follow the rules of behavior. (Benokraitis & Macionis, 2004) According to this view, people...