Concerning the Role of Social Class in Crime

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Many scholars have continued delving into the actual causes of crime and delinquency in the United States. In the awareness, there are numerous contributing factors of crime such as lack of sensitization, peer pressure, and bad governance but what stands out most is the unbalanced social order (Hewitt & DeLisi, 2016). By this, the relationship between the occurrence of crimes as well as the social class structure is directly proportional. About Consensus theories, it pinpoint that higher crime rates are linked to the lower social class. Whether that is true or not remains a subject of debate, but the paper enhances an inquisition of clarity.

Before discussing anything else, it is essential to ask if it is appropriate to use the social class as an indicator to evaluate the crime rate alongside delinquency in the society. But by the end of it all, the primary aim should be to project the most accurate picture as far as crime occurrence is concerned. Since it is a sensitive matter, the analysis of crime alongside delinquency needs to be realistic. From that point, regarding the notion of left realism, it explains that the rate of crime growth emanates from the fact that the society is filled up by not only marginalization but also inequality. In this case, the concept of Whiteman Supremacy provides the principal point of reference. Regarding President Reagan’s reign, prison privatization was given a top priority. Racism was so dominant to the extent of using the black skin color as a recipe for crime occurrence but was that fair?

It was not fair since it was a form of racial discrimination and in return, marginalization compounded to lower social class. Robert Merton gives the notion of left realism the nod through his Strain Theory (Franzese, 2015). Merton asserts that any society does establish an objective for instance, economic growth but as much as there is lack of a balanced social order, it will be difficult to achieve the goals, at least from a collective point of view, and by that, some people from the lower social class will resort to committing crimes.

With such an argument, even though Charles Darwin theory of evolution boasts of a biological background, some sociologists are still borrowing Darwin’s ideologies purposely to explain the distinction between social classes. Through his notion of ‘survival for the fittest’ (Darwin, 2018), in an environment dominated by stronger species, the weaker species which in this case happens to be black Americans belonging to the lower social class stands no chance as far as access for equal economic, social and political opportunities is concerned. That is what Merton, through his Strain Theory is referring to as a gap brought about by blocked openings.

In simple terms, delinquency refers to a criminal act committed by a minor, something that has been dominant in the United States until recent times (Hewitt et al., 2016). In this case, the social class to some more significant extent plays an integral role in determining its occurrence. Out of low-income family background, some minors are enjoined in the quest for achieving material success but unfortunately in an illegal manner such as crime involvement. For example, they are involved in a burglary, and by such criminal acts, Merton sees them as a response emanating from the desperation of meeting wealth aspirations.

As another part of Consensus theories, Albert Cohen is trying to relate crime and delinquency with not only social class but also culture. From this, a culture forms an integral part of the society. Here, Cohen explains that there are some cultural factors such as status and values that tend to put pressure on members of the social class. With personal identity, teenagers categorized under lower social level are desperate to emulate the aspirations and success of those from the Middle class as well as the upper class. In the acknowledgment, the failure is tantamount to status frustration which in turn makes them consider embracing criminal acts. From Cohen’s point of view, the failure results in a violation of norms as per the community standards and this under the guise of delinquent subculture.


About Marxist’s explanation on why crime and delinquency continue to exist until today, he provides a different insight from the above two arguments. He sees crime as something that both the social classes need to be guilty of and having already mentioned something about prison privatization during President Reagan’s era, the modern society should establish a well-structured judicial system which in return treats criminal activities reasonably irrespective of one’s social class. Furthermore, Marxist talks of capitalism as a prospect contributing to an increased poverty level but this, however, should not be worrying (Aronowitz, 2016). Besides, to achieve social, economic and political growth, the society needs to put a joint effort when eliminating social justices such as gender discrimination and racism.


Cite this paper

Concerning the Role of Social Class in Crime. (2021, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/concerning-the-role-of-social-class-in-crime/



What are the social causes of crime?
Social causes of crime can be attributed to poverty, inequality, lack of education, and unemployment, which can lead to a sense of hopelessness and desperation among individuals, ultimately leading to criminal behavior. Additionally, social factors such as cultural norms, peer pressure, and family dynamics can also contribute to the development of criminal tendencies.
What is the role of crime in society?
The role of crime in society is to provide a sense of order and stability. It also serves to protect the innocent and uphold the rule of law.
What is the social theory of crime?
The social theory of crime is the idea that crime is a result of social factors, such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality.
Who in society is most likely to commit a crime?
Males commit more crime overall and more violent crime than females . They commit more property crime except shoplifting, which is about equally distributed between the genders. Males appear to be more likely to reoffend.
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