Critical perspectives on crime differ from other perspectives in that they focus on ways people and institutions respond to crime and criminals. Critical perspectives are often called social reaction theories. The different theories covered under critical perspectives include Labeling theory, Conflict and radical theory and feminist theory. Labeling theory states that deviance is not the act itself that a person commits; a deviant label will lead us to be more deviant. Labeling theory is one of the most significant perspectives in the study of criminology. Amongst these theories is the labeling theory which is one of the most significant theories studied. Labeling theory adopts a relativist’s definition, by assuming that nothing about a given behavior automatically makes it deviant. While traditional theories accept the accuracy of official labeling such as the arrest and prosecution, Labeling theory challenges the view and says some people’s behavior is more likely to be labeled deviant than others.
Conflict and Radical theories take up where labeling theory leaves off. They argue that law is only controlled by the powerful and that they are often preserved by the dominant, unlike traditional theories that promote the law and stress the positive aspects of it. One area inspired by feminist work is often called gender-ratio; it is the study of female rates is so much lower than male’s rates in violent crimes. Within the feminist theories we have victimization, differences in crimes, Gender Differences, Masculinity. A great deal of focus is spotlighted on masculinity of crimes. Researchers argue that in order to reduce crime men must be socialized more and male dominance must be illuminated.
It was noted in Chapter 3 that we already do a good job of raising our girls not to be criminals, however how can we implement this into the masculine side of things. Masculinity and crime is the significant focus of the work of gender-ratio issues. The problem according to sociologists is that crime is essentially a male issue and we need to figure out how we get to it being much less of an issue. Most crimes against women are either produced as a crime against a weaker person or a crime because the criminal is the dominant one. It seems to be a double edge sword.
Power-Control theory explains the level of female criminality by examining the gender process of families. It highlights the roles played by women and men in perspective to their class. Power Control theory looks at two primary sections, the first is Patriarchal households in which only the father works outside the home and the mother is left at home to care for the children. In this type of household boys learn the masculine roles and girls learn the feministic roles.
The other is egalitarian, in which both the matriarch and patriarch works outside the home, therefore the guidance is not there to justify roles which tends to lead to delinquency in both gender children. Although most tests of Power control theory produce mixed results. Feministic theories show us just how unequal women are portrayed in law and society. The main issue with control theory is a mother’s occupational place vs. a father’s occupational place in the family. It focuses on the balance of power and control and how this affects the child’s preferences for risk taking.
Criminal law divides murder and non-negligent manslaughter into four subgroups: first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Some of the patterns described in our book include geographic patterns in which is chronicled with data statistics. It focuses on the different regions and shows the highest statistics in the South, with the Northeast and Midwest being low to mid. According to data the highest weapon used in homicides are handguns at 68 % with knives and blunt objects at 13%. Researchers say that the south is the highest percentage of crime due to the high temperature and crowded urban areas. According to our book (P200) an adequate explanation of homicide and aggravated assault must answer the following questions: Why does the United States have a higher homicide rate than any other industrial nation? This is answered by research that provides data that the United States has more inequality than other nations and thus this produces more crime.
There is a vast difference between the rich and the poor. The other reason or answer given to this is that in the United States more handguns are owned, and since handguns are the major cause of homicides, this also contributes to the higher rates. Within the United States, why are homicide and aggravated assault rates highest in the urban areas? This is best answered with Social disorganization, anomie and strain theory help explain why crime in general is higher in urban areas; this includes higher populations, denser areas of habitation, household overcrowding as well as dilapidated living conditions. There is also a chance of higher unemployment rates. Why do men commit almost all homicides and aggravated assaults? The masculinity theories were brought up in chapter 9, but this question is answered as this seems to be shaped in adolescence and the need for boys to grow up stronger and better than women who are looked upon as less dominant.
Poverty also interacts with masculinity, the competitiveness in families and social groups. Why do African-Americans and other people of color have high rates of homicides and aggravated assault, both as offenders and victims? This question is explained in similar ways to those above. It has been a question full of hard emotions and personal opinions. It could also be construed as a racist or stereotypical question. Because it is such a touchy subject most researchers go about it in explaining how minorities have criminogenic structural and ecological factors which cause their crime rate to be higher. There is social disorganization stress, the stress of being deprived and discriminated against. Also listed are negative family and school experiences along with the peer pressure from other deviant youths that are common in the urban areas. All of these factors separate may not have much effect, but together it proves to be the perfect combination to put African Americans, especially young African Americans at a higher risk for crime.
For which two types of violent crime are women’s rates of victimization much higher than men’s victimization rates? At what rates are women victimized for these crimes? Describe cultural myths supporting rape and battering that are discussed in the text Rape/sexual assault and domestic violence/violence committed by intimates are at the top of the list for crimes committed against women more than men. (P220) Our book states that women represented 89% of all sexual assault crimes and 79% of aggravated assaults. Many of the cultural myths are involved in overseas and third world countries which see women as possessions or less than worth compared to a man. In India, as well as Pakistan Dowry deaths which claim the lives of thousands of women are committed daily. These deaths are sanctioned as legal or usually overseen by law enforcement with payment.
Dowry deaths are committed against a bride by either a husband or the husband’s family because the bride’s dowry was not paid as it was supposed to be. Wartime rape and batteries is also high in other countries and often overlooked in the judicial system. Some of the myths involved in these victimizations include women “like” to be raped or they “ask” to be raped. Our book uses the opening scene in Gone With the Wind to express one of the many portrayals of women enjoying being sexually assaulted , she is whisked up-stairs against her will, and then is shown with a smile on her face in the morning. The other myth is that women ask to be raped by the way they dress or how they behave.
This has been an excuse used by many, even today. The blame does not go on the abuser in these cases but looks at how the woman was behaving prior to the sexual assault. For domestic violence and assaults the women is again said to have “asked” for the beating by antagonizing the abuser. The woman is blamed for saying or doing something to anger the male and therefore deserved the beating or abuse they received. Women are also blamed because they do not leave the abuser when they have a chance to leave, nor do they press charges when they often have the chance to. Women normally do not leave abusive spouses because they are often the sole providers, women have children and often no money to leave or pay for housing anywhere or legal fees to divorce or put restraining orders on abusers.