Evaluating Sociological Perspectives on Crime and Deviance

Last Updated on August 27, 2016 by

A template I use to get students to evaluate the various perspectives on crime and deviance – it should work well for consensus theories such as Functionalism and Conflict Theories such as Marxism, but might be more difficult to complete for later postmodern theories… 

Types of Crime to consider

  • Serious Violent Crime, Terrorism, Anti-Social Behaviour

  • Burglary, Theft, Fraud, Drug possession

  • Hidden crimes: DV, elite crimes

  • Global crimes: cybercrime/ state crime/ green crime

Evidence to consider

  • Official Stats: Police Recorded Crime / CSEW

  • Specific sociological research studies – e.g. Venkatesh.

  • Any case studies


Supporting Evidence: Crimes this theory can explain

Is there any statistical evidence or case study* evidence which supports this theory?


Criticising evidence: Crimes this theory cannot explain

Is there any statistical evidence or case study evidence which criticises this theory?


Evaluate using other perspectives

What does the theory under investigation ignore?

  • Consensus theories

  • Marxism

  • Feminism

  • Interactionism

  • Postmodernism

  • Realist Criminology


Historical evaluation

Has society changed so much that the theory is just no longer relevant?


Evaluate in terms of ideology/ power

Is the theory biased, does it serve the powerful?

Out of 10 – How Useful is ___________________ Theory in helping us understand crime and deviance in contemporary society?

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