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    Criminology, Law, Deviance and Punishment

    Criminology, deviance and punishment are all multidisciplinary fields of society that are contributed to by sociologists.

    Sociologists typically look at these fields through a positivist lens, using empirical data to highlight societal factors that influence criminology and deviance.

    Different theories view deviance in extremely different ways. Some theorists see deviance as a necessary and normal part of society, allowing us to have an understanding of what our norms are by demonstrating ‘what not to do.’ Other theorists point to different factors that influence deviance. Some theories highlight social strain, frustration in attaining goals, socio-economic reasons and labelling as contributing to deviance.

    There has been a trend in North America recently to begin identifying ‘root causes’ of crime in order to prevent this type of behavior in the future. The last decade has seen an influx in particular types of crime including gang violence, mass shootings and sexual assaults. Sociologists contribute hugely in identifying societal factors that predispose certain social groups to certain types of crime. This understanding is necessary if there is any hope in preventing both violent and nonviolent crime.

    Punishment is another hot button topic in North America right now. What are the positive and negative consequences of America’s ‘tough on crime’ policies? Why does society no longer punish people for things that used to be punishable? What processes need to happen in order for something to become more or less worthy of punishment?

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