In the recent times, the issue of crime and deviance has become one of the most talked about within the society. Deviance is made up of two categories: legally deviant behavior and illegally deviant behavior. For example, to understand legally deviant behavior, we can refer to this situation. Jonathan walked through his local library while listening to loud music from her mobile phone. This can be termed legally deviant since she is not breaking any law, but her acts are socially unacceptable. Moreover, illegally deviant takes place in a different approach. For instance, Kelvin hit a pregnant face on her back. In such a situation, Kelvin engaged in an illegally deviant behavior as he assaulted the pregnant lady. On the other hand, criminal behavior takes place when the law and regulations are broken. For example, John downloads numerous songs for his mp3 player via illegal means. In such a scenario, John is a criminal because he is interfering with the copyright act. It can be said he is deviant because his actions do not hurt anyone. Sociologists are engrossed why such differences are in existence and their impacts on individuals and groups. Since time immemorial, theories on crime and deviance have been developed to explain the situation. In his time, Aristotle developed his theory that claimed poverty was the origin of all revolution and crime. As a result, we find ourselves asking this question: what makes a person a criminal? What is the major factor that induces devious and criminal tendencies in an individual? Why does man engage in bad acts while he already knows what is good? The classical theories of criminology apply free will, riotous decision making, and stress and family expectation to try and explain the reason why individuals develop deviant and criminal tendencies. Many theories are centered on this explanation, and they make a huge contribution to give answers to mystifying questions.
Krohn et.al (262) asserts that most traditional criminology theories state that crime is the result of interaction between disposition and situation. These theories attempt to provide insight why people engage in criminal activities. The theories use different approaches including biological, psychological, or sociological (Krohn et.al 262). They are termed disposition because they seek to examine a general disposition or propensity to compel crime. But then again, crime is not merely a propensity but an act that can be well understood on the basis of the interaction between the disposition and the condition that offers the opportunity or even the stimulus of the crime to happen.
Birkbeck and LaFree (114) asserts that situational and dispositional explanations can be used to describe crime and deviance. In their description, much attention is given to situational explanations. From the past, scientists had concentrated on dispositional theories, but currently, they established the limitations associated with them and paid more attention to situational theories (Birkbeck and LaFree 115). The authors proceed further to note that extensive research conduct to explain situational analysis stems from different fields e.g. opportunity theories or experimental psychology. The experimental research fails to identify the theoretical structure that aims at organizing its typical experimental findings. A situational theory of crime has been established by theorists, but it has failed to incorporate theoretically and methodologically means. Furthermore, experimental research has illustrated that situations create a huge motivation of the chances of a person’s committing crime or deviant behavior. Nonetheless, situational analysis pays much attention by gathering reliable data that explains why man chooses evil despite knowing the consequences.
Moreover, criminal cults and killers engage in crime and deviance acts. Daspin (77) claims that in cult groups, the leader plays a very crucial role. Since the successful cult leaders are charismatic and intelligent, they use their position to convince their followers of better rewards and life is they subscribe to the beliefs of the cult group. As a matter of fact, the cult leader uses his/her salient personality to win the hearts of the group members. In most situations, people are attracted to join cult groups if there is an economic benefit that results from partaking cult’s activities and practices. The cult leader creates a powerful security and hostility to assure the followers that the group is in a position to dilute any attacks that might harm the members. By joining the cult groups, members are promised that they will attain their purpose of life without many struggles. For instance, a cult leader may create a group and promise the followers of peace and achieving satisfaction in their lives. Within no time, the leader can force the followers to engage in dubious acts that are termed as criminal activities.
As expounded above, crime and deviance have grown into a popular phenomenon within the society. It has been established that hedonistic decision making, stress and family expectations, and free will are all at the epicenter of classical theories of criminology that plays a crucial role in interpreting the reasons why individuals engage in criminal and deviant tendencies. Crime and deviance determine the operations of the society especially the activities undertaken by the young population. There is a need to conduct campaigns that will raise awareness on the consequences of taking part in criminal and deviant practices within the society. It is always a good idea to restore peace and order within the society.
Birkbeck, Christopher, and Gary LaFree. "The situational analysis of crime and deviance." Annual review of sociology (1993): 113-137.
Daspin, E. Criminal Cults and Killers. Inside the Criminal Mind (pp. 77-79). New York: Time Home Entertainment Inc, 2014
Davis, J., & Holland-Davis, L. (2015). Beyond Neighborhoods and Crime: Expanding the Scope of Social Disorganization to Explain Occupational Deviance. Sociological Inquiry, 85(2), 262-284.
Krohn, Marvin D., Alan J. Lizotte, and Gina Penly Hall, eds. Handbook on crime and deviance. Springer Science & Business Media, 2010
Osgood, D., McMorris, B., & Potenza, M. (2002). Analyzing Multiple-Item Measures of Crime and Deviance I: Item Response Theory Scaling. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 18(3), 267-296.