There are a large number of theories which seek to explain the motivation behind criminal behavior. Some of these theories attribute crime causation to a person’s psychological makeup others to their biological and physiological predispositions and still others to sociological factors. However, it is commonly agreed that in most cases, no single theory could adequately explain how criminal behavior is caused.
sociological crime causation theories examine aspects of social structures and processes which motivate or otherwise contribute to criminal behavior. Social structure, social process, social conflict, and rational theories are all types of sociological crime causation theories. A common thread in all of them is the assumption that crime is a function of the sociological environment; it is a result of nurture rather than nature.
Social structure theories attribute high crime rates to social disorganization or social strain. According to social disorganization theory, poverty, widespread family dysfunction, poor quality education and high rates of unemployment all conspire to lead members of society towards criminal behavior. A disorganized society cannot adequately equip its members with the tools required for behavior which conforms to socially acceptable norms and standards and therefore members of such a society are more or less incapable of living within the confines of the law. Social strain theory holds that persons of low socio-economic status may perceive that no legal opportunities of achieving their goals are available to them. They observe that others in more fortunate circumstances have means of reaching their goals hence they feel compelled to engage in illegal activities in order to realize these goals.
Social Institution is defined as an organizational system which functions to satisfy basic social needs by providing an ordered framework linking the individuals to the larger culture. This paper will provide more information as to how social institutions apply to organized crime, also which empirical and speculative theories are most applicable when applied to organized crime and criminal ...
Social process theories state in short that people are the product of their environment. People who continuously interact socially with criminal minded people eventually learn criminal behavior. Children who grow up in tough, high crime neighborhood will almost invariably learn to engage in criminal activity
Social conflict theories add a political spin on criminal causation. These theories postulate that crime is a response to social and political inequalities. People are forced to commit crimes because of the inequitable distribution of wealth and power. Alternative forms of these theories see crime as a rebellion of the lower socio-economic class against these inequalities and against the upper classes whom they see as imposing and perpetuating these inequalities against them.
Finally, the rational theory states that offenders commit crimes after they have assessed the risks and benefits of their behavior and have concluded that the advantages of law breaking outweigh the disadvantages. This theory suggests that persons who are exposed to opportunities to benefit from crime will in fact, avail themselves of those opportunities.
There are merits to sociological theories of crime causation. However, these theories all seem to ignore the principle of personal responsibility and blame criminal behavior on external factors. Also in the overwhelming majority of cases, no single theory of crime causation could adequately determine the motivation behind criminal behavior. When trying to assess the causes of crime, it must be recognized that there is a continuum between nature and nurture in the causes of behavior of any kind. Hence biological and psychological factors must also be taken into account.
Biological theories address deviant behavior as a relationship between biological factors, and social norms in respect to crime. The theories address behavior of an individual based upon his or her biological impact. Schmalleger, (2008) points out a connection to social environments and the impact upon human behavior. The connection has validity because of human thoughts and activities are ...