The Relation Between Crime And Deviant Behavoiur

Criminals, such as terrorists, who display deviant behaviours should not be discriminated against as actions does not reflect their inherent nature and deviance is also important in society as moral boundaries. ( Dischristina, 2016) The supporting reasons are as follow:

  1. Different societies have unique notions of crime and perceptions ( Discristina, 2016). For example, some social process theorists label LBTQ community as sexual deviants merely based on criminal law. However, according to J. S. Mill’s harm principle, it that interests of community will not be negative impacted with such divergent sexual preferences. ( Woods, 2017). Hence, condemnation may appear unnecessary in this case. Crime is a form or subtype of deviance. Crime is sufficient for deviance to exist, but it is not necessary ( Goode, 2015)
  2. Symbolic interactionism, where individual’s behavior are shaped by society’s influence, is a cause of deviance ( Thiel, 2015). Terrorist groups members are often brain washed through social media platforms into having an extremist mentality ( Alfif, 2018), yet, they may not be inherently violent.
  3. People who stray from normalities are met with the prospect of a substantial diminishing of their moral standing. However, this would be unjustified in some cases, such as psychologically ill criminals. ( Schurs, 1980).
  4. Even though some may argue that some acts of crime are anomies which violates moral rulings and should be stigmatized, according to Durkheim’s work whereby deviance has a functional objective of defining right and wrong ( Dicristina, 2016), proves that deviance are necessary in the moral construct of society.

Overview Reason/ Evidence (1): Symbolic interactionism explains one’s behavior being the product of societal normality and interaction with individuals within that society ( Theil, 2015). Society is created and maintained through repeated interactions among individuals. ( Carter, Fuller, 2015). The different association theory by Sutherland’s (1947) postulates that “ A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to violation of law over definitions unfavourable to violation of the law” (pp. 6–7). Hence, an individual may commit crime due to majority support of an act of deviance, which can be shaped by his social environment, and not necessarily on his own accord.

However, The legal concept of crime may or may not be a factor of deviating behaviours. ( Sampson & Laub, 1992) Illustrating with the example of terrorism, it is a common view that terrorism is a violent transgression of the law and hence viewed as a crime( Karoui, 2010). However, individuals are unique within each society and it is inevitable that some of their differences be criminal. ( Karoui, 2010) According to Hudson, “[F]or an individual to choose to become a terrorist, he or she would have to be motivated to do so. ” (1999) Karoui justifies this as a matter of choice and education, where in most Muslim countries, the new leaders and believer of Islamism will have similar background of coming from newly urbanized and modern educated communities. ( Gole, 2000) Extremism happens when a factor arises that sets off the motivational imbalance, the degree to which a given need comes exceeds all others, that creates the deviance ( Kruglanski, Jasko, Chernikova, Dugas, Webber, 2017). Although sometimes brutal and harmful to the well-being of others, deviance is undeniably an action socially oriented. ( Karoui, 2010)

Reason/ Evidence (2): According to Durkheim, deviance and crime are standard components of each society as not all its members would be in full accordance with prevailing rules and regulations. Lack of such normalities may lead to failure of the social system and creates a state of anomie, where there’s a lack of social standards ( Diaconescu, 2018), people would not be aware of what are the right ways to act as there is a lack of a yardstick. Deviances are not necessarily wrong. In some cases, tolerance of deviant behaviour acts as a safety valve and actually prevents more serious instances of nonconformity ( Tischler, 2014).

However, there also seem to be a paradox regarding the function of crime in maintaining social order, thought it builds social solidarity and cohesiveness, fear of crime might instead constrain their social interaction. ( Liksa & Warner, 1991) Bruce Ackerman states that “Even the most puritanical regimes learn to live with vice on the fringe. But when a fringe group obtains a technology of mass destruction, it will not stay on the fringe for long” (2006). Hence, without proper management of deviances by the authorities, the consequences might outweigh the benefits suggested by functionalism. For example, lack of control of crime by middle east countries such as Syria has led to the domination and overthrowing of the government by of the extremist terrorist Jihadist Group, ISIS, leading to millions suffering its brutality and violence.

13 January 2020
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