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... nd Criminality p 75). Quinney argues that different segments of society have different normative systems and and different patterns of behaviour, all of which are learned in their own social and cultural settings. The likelihood that individuals will break the criminal law depends, to a large extent, on how much power and influence their segments have in performing and administering the criminal laws. In more influential segments of society, people are able to act according to their own normative standards and behavioural patterns without violating the law. But when people in less powerful segments do the same thing, their actions are legally defined and officially processed as criminal (Criminological theories p 232).
Quinney argued that beliefs of crime are created and communicated as part of the political process of promoting particular sets of values and interests. 'The social reality of crime', according to Quinney, is that powerful groups support particular notions of crime in order to to legitimize their authority and allow them to carry out policies in the name of the common good that really support their own self interests. 'We end up with some realities rather than others for good reason- because someone has something to protect... Realities are then, the most subtle and insidious of our forms of social control... The reality of crime that is constructed for all of us by those in position of power is the reality we tend to accept of our own. This is the politics of power. ' Richard Quinney In conflict theory a person's values and interests are basically shaped by the conditions in which the person lives. Complex societies are made up of people who live under very different conditions. Therefore, the more complex a society is, the more likely it will be, that people within the society will have different and conflicting values and interests (Criminological Theories p 240).
The cultural differences in relation to the Aboriginal way of life opposed to the European lifestyle have caused a variety of conflicting views to arise. From a radical perspective Aboriginal drinking is seen as a direct result from their confrontation with expanding capitalism, in which they are constantly being pushed to the margins of the capitalist world. The introduction of Capitalism has made it difficult for Aboriginals to adjust too, Secondly, alcohol is a prestige good which creates slightly unequal relations within the community, however no major inequalities arise as no members of the group can dominate alcoholic beverages and children (Study guide p 27). There exist a variety a levelling devices, many places to escape, and such high levels of violence that is hard for some people to obtain power and resources. Deviant behaviour often leads to deviant activities (drinking and fighting) which is a representation of their resistance and rejection of the white community whose rules are made to impose more hierarchical relations.
People tend to act in ways that are consistent with their values and interests. When values and interests conflict, people often alter their values to come into line with their interests. Since the conditions of one's life tends to remain relatively stable over time, people begin to develop relatively stable patterns of action that benefit them personally and that they believe to be good, right, and just. Homosexuality in society is generally perceived as a deviant behaviour that threatens to undermine peoples values and interests.
To be homosexual in society prevents people from finding suitable employment due to personal opinion making it difficult to keep a proper job. As a result homosexuals often feel the need to hide their sexuality in order to avoid public scrutiny. The enactment of criminal law are comprised of organised groups who attempt to promote and defend their values and interests. Specific criminal laws generally represent a combination of the values and interests of many different groups rather than the values and interests of one particular group.
However, the greater a group's political and economic power, the more criminal law tends to favour the values and interests of that group (Criminological Theories p 241). Therefore, the greater a group's political and economic power, the less likely they will be to violate the criminal law. The laws applied to Aboriginal and excessive drinking serves to promote the values and interests of those in power. It is used in order to control and dominate those who are less powerful. Alcohol is constantly abused by those in power and by the Aboriginals in the sense that it is seen as a valuable commodity and used to manipulate people. In the case of homosexuality their sexual preference is portrayed to the public as a deviant behaviour through law, religion with same sex marriages being illegal, jobs (Homophobic), and the constant talks regarding the spread of Aids.
Aids is seen the as the biggest threat to the health and well being of society. It is viewed and controlled by powerful group's who create law in order to benefit the majority of society whose interests and values are there main concern. In conclusion deviants challenge our assumptions, it questions our basic beliefs, and ideas presenting a threat to society's sense of normalcy. At a social level it questions the social order regarding relationships, values, reality and meaning. Although deviance is problematic it is also an essential part of society.
It is problematic in the sense that it is disruptive to society and essential as it helps to define the limits of our shared reality. Deviance is fundamental to the concept of order in defining what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour. Deviance is a labelled acquired by society in order to gain power, control, and position of a dominant group. The term deviance serves to preserve, protect, and define group interests and in doing so maintaining a sense of normalcy. Merton explains that the weakening of of individual commitment to culturally defined goals and norms create anomie. For example, when individuals realise that no matter how hard they work, they cannot achieve the desired levels of wealth which they have been taught to aspire to, deviant behaviour may result.
Howard Becker's approach to the labelling of deviance, outlined in Outsiders views deviance as the creation of social groups and not the quality of some act or behaviour (Howard Becker website). According to Becker, researching the act of the individual is irrelevant as deviance is simply rule breaking behaviour that is labelled deviant by those in a position of power. Richard Quinney concentrates more on the development of a capitalist economy in the creation of deviants. He views the introduction of capitalism as condition where struggle is a natural component. In the book ' Class, State, and Crime', Quinney states that deviance is a product of the condition of the social structure (p 107) (Richard Quinney website). He believes that that the state maintains the capitalist order through the creation of laws.
The state exists to serve the interests of the capitalist working class. The criminal law is merely an instrument of that class to perpetuate the current social and economic order and is used to repress those who are less powerful.
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