Consensus view on crime
According to this perspective on crime, the behaviors that constitute crime are those that are considered as harmful to a large number of the citizens of a state or government, due to their universal considerations as harmful, they have been therefore regulated by existing criminal laws (Siegel 12). These behaviors are contrary to the universal norms, goals, and values of the society within which individuals freely interact. According to this perspective on crime, both the criminal law and crime are as a consensus of public opinion and that a general agreement on the behavior control, both at societal and state levels are definite. The consensus view holds the assumption that criminal law is basic tool for social control, thereby creating social balance in the society, where no individual takes advantage of the weaknesses of their fellow citizens. The name of this perspective is so named since it is believed that the citizens unanimously agree to the specific behaviors in the society that should be eliminated and controlled by the criminal law and those behaviors that should be upheld unanimously. An example of such crimes that fall under the consensus is theft; every society unanimously upholds that infidelity is against the societal norms, values and goals and therefore should be controlled by the criminal law.
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Conflict view of crime
According to this perspective on crime, the existing class struggles between the societal poor and rich populations, the haves and have-nots have the basic control on what constitutes criminal law and therefore these determines what should be considered as criminal behavior (Hollin 20). According to this perspective on crime, the rich, who are the ruling class of the society, create and enforce criminal law as a measure for controlling the dissatisfied poor members of the society. According to this view, the rich members of the society use laws to maintain their influential positions and control the behaviors of the members of the society who oppose their ideas and desires, or those who might contradict the unequal distribution of societal resources. For instance, laws that define violence are aimed at controlling the dissatisfied poor members of the society, drug laws are also made to ensure that workers are sober at work and at their highest productive capacity in order to perfectly serve their masters. Any attempt to violate such laws subject the member of the society to punishment. However, white color crimes are accorded relatively lighter punishment considering the magnitude of damage they cause.
Interactionist View of Crime
This view of crime falls in between the above two perspectives of crime. This view upholds that criminal law is formulated to reflect the opinions and preferences of members of the society who possess social power in particular legal jurisdictions (Brain 47). These privileged members of the society use their positions to influence the constitution of right or wrong, which should be obeyed by all members of the society. According to this view, crimes are considered as unlawful behavior simply because the law prohibits them, and not because are evil or immoral behaviors. This view focuses on the individuals who are assigned the responsibility of formulating the legal process in a society. For example, while it is legal to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, certain societies have in their laws the prohibition of smoking Bhang and hashish, despite holding equal health disadvantages.
Brain Christine. Advanced Psychology: Applications, Issues and Perspectives. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes, 2002. Print.
Siegel Larry J. Criminology: Theories, Patterns and Typologies. Stamford, Connecticut Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Hollin Clive R. Psychology and Crime: An Introduction to Criminological Psychology. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.