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Deviance And Criminology: Article Review

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1. Howard S. Becker- Labeling theory

Labeling someone as a criminal can cause other to treat them more negatively. The person may act more negatively if they are being treated negatively. In this theory, I can understand better about deviance and criminal behavior. Deviance refer to rule-breaking behavior which is the recognized violation of cultural norms. However crime is is a wrong against society proclaimed by the laws and if committed under certain circumstances, punishable by society which is the violation of a society’s formally enacted criminal law. Therefore deviance is a process of interaction between deviant and non-deviant and the context in which criminality is being interrupted. The more powerful and dominant group in society is create and apply a deviant label to the subordinate group. The causes of crimes can be related to social stratification.

In conclusion, to analyse deviant identity, Becker has used Hughes’ distinction between master and status trait (Becker, 1963, P.9). For example, the doctor has a certificate that fulling certain requirement and is licensed to give medicine to patient compare to those who does not have this status trait. I very much agreed with what Hughes has stated.

However, I also have disagree about this theory. This is because of the theory is neglect the importance of collecting the response of social control. Besides that this theory also cannot explain well that why people likes to break the law.

2. Stuart Henry – The Social Construction of Crime

Social construction is a theoretical position that cuts across a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields. According to social constructionists, what counts as crime and deviance varies depending on who is defining it. “There are no purely objective definitions; all definitions are value-laden and biased to some degree” and what is defined as a crime by law “is somewhat arbitrary, and represents a highly selective process” (Barak, 1998, p.21) . Based on this article, they believe that there is reality exists and that why social construction is created. We all know that humans has tthe power to create reality and shape the world. So, crime is a social reality. The norms and value of society represent the whole society.

However, (Becker,1963, p.9) argued the components of interactionist approaches to deviance is “social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying these rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders. So, from this point of view, deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender.

In conclusion, I gain the idea that if the deviance, social problem and crime is situated in deconstructionist analysis, they have to change it to make the production slow and make it less harmful to constitute.

3.Emile Durkheim – The Normal and Pathological

Most of people may think that crimes is a society problem. In my opinion, I also agree that crime is a society problem because human created the society and when they fails to obey the rules it is considered as a crime. After I have reading ths article, I noticed that Durkheim is argued that crime should be seen as something which is functional and is necessary for society rather than something pathological which is a symptom of a society diseased. He points out that crime is present across all the time and space. We knows that all society have already experienced the crime. Therefore, crime has to be seen as normality in our life. For example like robbery, gambling and drug or alcohol addiction is happening arround the world and it is easy to see this on newspapers or people surrounding us in this modern era.

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Besides that, Durkheim also argue that crime is a function. When a crime is being punished, the society must have their own rules.If the crime is not committed then the values of society will become blurred. If there is no punishment, then there will be no way of reestablishing the values that crime offends. Durkheim define that culturally relative is constitutes to crime rather than is universal. A crime is a crime because it offends the value and is not because of there is fundamental wrong.

In conclusion, we can see that Durkhiem use the two social facts in a research which is normal fact and pathological social fact. So, a normal fact in one society may become pathological in one society.

4.Alexander B. Smith and Harriet Pollack – The Reach of the Law: Sin, Crime and Poor Taste

A deviant person is one who does something we would not to do.Thus, deviant is consider as a subjective, but not all is cultural relative.Examples like rape, murder and assault is considered as crime. When social change occur, the old practices had became an acceptable and the new practices become objectionable. The one not acceptable will be label as deviant. In the middle America, they don’t care about racial, sexual discrimination and they aslo state that contraception and absorbing doesn’t seem wrong in their societies because it can limit the growth in welfare (Smith and Pollack, 1973, p.3) . In my opinion, I totally disagreed about this point because absorting can bring sides effect to the women and it is already considered as crime.In the same times some of the anthropology proffesor will said that murder and rape is a deviant. I also disagree because rape and murder is consider as crime not deviant.

Deviant can be divided into three categories which is sin, crime and poor taste.Crime is a acts which is objective, measurably harmful to community and it is totally unacceptable by any society that wishes to have a stable organism. Sin is refered to the actions are originally prohibited by dominant religion and religion community which has involves into secular laws. For eaxmple, prostitution and obesity is no measurable damage to unwilling victim, and if it is conduct as break the rule, it is already referred to as victimless crime. Besides that, the development of economic, scientific discoveries, communication and mass media can reduce the social and cultural isolation. This is due to we can use advances technology such as smartphones to communicate the people which are very far from us. Another one of deviant is poor taste. The human behavior is consider as a matter of taste. In this point, I very agreed to what author has stated “the man who wears skirt in public is consider as sexual deviant”. Besides that, they also has symbolic conduct which is a rational objective. We need to recognise that if symbolism is exist and if it is truly is a disadvantages then action will be taken to regulate the society. As an example, boys use the cosmetic product may be seem as no problem in today.

5. Jeff Ferrell – Culture, Crime, and Cultural Criminology

Culture criminology focus on how the cultural practice mix with crime and crime control in a modern set up. It use the meaning, symbolism and power relations in explain the causes and effect of crime and deviance. I believe that all of us know the culture cannot be seen because of it social factors like ethnicity and class and these contribute in major way and they are not the only things that affect it. (Ferrell, Hayward and Young, 2008, p.2 ) .Besides that, cultural criminologists can observe why norms are created, and how they action threaten them and why laws are created and broken. The concepts of culture helps us to better understand about the relationship between order and disorder. Thus, to understand the action of criminals and laws enforcement and the laws maker, they are seeing into conflict between legal authorities and deviant subcultures in modern society ( Ibid P.4).

Next, crime is define as culture. Criminal subcultures is shaped by class, gender, age and inequalities. Ferrell points that, to understand the reality of crime and criminalization, cultural criminology should take place in the dynamic of criminal subcultures and dynamic of mass media. (Ferrell, 1995, P.3). They should understand media, languages, symbolism and styles. Thus, making sense of crime meanig that paying more attention on culture. As an example, over the past 50 years popular music has shown us the meaning of criminalization of culture for instance punk in the 1970s. Another one example is Sex Pistols. It has a violent image and lead the media to represent punk subculture as a threat of society. This phenomena continues growing up with gangster rap and artwork. (Ferrell, 1995, P.4). In the other hand, they also define the rap musicians most come from poverty and ethnic discrimination. In my opinion, I do not agree with this author’s view.This is because if there is discrimination happen they will be stop creating album and not continue singing anymore.

Morever, I very agreed with what author has say “first we must investigate youth culture as primary setting for the production of alternative style and second, we critically explore youth as category of social, cultural, criminal stratification with class, gender and ethnicity. Especially the minority of young people, they find themselves is in the intersection points between crime and culture (Ferrell, 1995, p.9).

Through this article we understand better about cultural criminology. Cultural criminology also paying more attention on everyday crime and individuals or group that cause it overemphasizes on large scale industrial or political crimes (Ferrell, Hayward and Young, 2008, P.15). Lastly, the most things I would like to highlight at here is the relationship between culture and crime is also refer to the relationship between criminology and contemporary social social and cultural life as it can be seen in cultural criminology.


  1. Barak, G. (1998). Integrating criminologies. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  2. Durkheim, E. (1893). The Rules of Sociological Method,(pp. 65-73). New York: The Free Press
  3. Ferrell, J. (1995). Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 3(2), 25-42.
  4. Howard S. Becker, (1963). Outsider: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance, (pp. 78-81).New York: Free Press
  5. Hengry, S. (2009) Social construction of Crime. In J.Miller (Ed.), 21st Century Criminology: A reference handbook. (pp. 296-305).Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.doi: 10.4135/9781412971997.n34

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Deviance And Criminology: Article Review. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
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