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Basic Concepts

This introduction to crime and deviance examines definitions of crime and deviance, different types of deviance (including societal and situational, culpable and non-culpable) and ways of operationalising the concept of deviance.

Routine Activities

Is Crime a Cause of Crime? This set of Notes shows at how students can methodologically evaluate Felson and Cohen’s Routine Activities approach (1979) to understanding crime and crime prevention. Is one of the most-influential recent New Right / Realist theories of crime methodologically flawed?

Broken Windows:


This 3-part reassessment of the seminal New Right / Right Realist theory covers:

1. Broken Windows: The general theoretical and empirical background - a general introduction to some fairly standard "strengths and weaknesses".

2. Broken Windows: The ecological context locates the general theory in its historical context and critically examines Zimbardo's "Anonymity of Place" experiment - the one piece of empirical evidence in Wilson and Kelling's original formulation.

3. Do small disorders lead to major disorders? The final part looks at recent (2017) research that questions the claim proactive / Zero Tolerance policing prevents minor forms of social disorder developing into major forms.

Introduction To Deviance

Designed, in the author David Keir's words, to be "a very gentle introduction" to the AQA Deviance and Social Control synoptic module. The focus of this illustrated booklet is on identifying, defining and explaining a range of introductory concepts relating to deviance (Defining deviance; Types (formal and informal); Social control (formal and informal); Conflict and consensus policing; Social sanctions. The format combines informative notes with brief exercises and extensive synoptic links.

Social Distribution of Crime

A general overview of explanations for the social distribution of crime that includes patterns of crime according to region, age, gender and class as evidenced through Official statistics and British Crime Surveys.

Non-Sociological Theories

The focus here is sociological criticisms of non-sociological (Genetic, Biological and Psychological) theories of crime and deviance. Examples include Lombroso’s and Eysenck’s theories of crime.

Functionalist Theories

An overview of the general Functionalist perspective with an emphasis on Durkheim and the functions of crime and Merton's Strain Theory.

Interactionist Theories

An introduction to Interactionist ideas about crime and deviance, including the "I" and the "Me"; Delinquency and Drift and Labelling theory.

Orthodox Marxism

An outline of Marxist conflict theory as a distinct sociological perspective. This looks at how "Orthodox" or "Traditional" Marxism has examined the nature of crime and deviance through concepts of power and ideological controls.

Radical Criminology

An exploration of Taylor, Walton and Young's principles of a "fully social theory of deviance" that includes:

The relationship between the social structure of Capitalist society and crime; Radical criticisms of Functionalist and Interactionist theories of deviance; Examples of Radical Criminological studies.

Radical Criminology


An overview of the theoretical origins of Radical Criminology as they can be related to Instrumental forms of Marxist analysis.

Radical Criminology


An outline of how Radical Criminology's "fully social theory of deviance" can be applied to understand some forms of sex crime. This file is based on an article by Soothill and Grover.

Right Realism

An overview and evaluation of Right Realism, including Control theory and Situational theory.

Situational Crime Prevention:

The (New Right) Theory

This brief examination of the theoretical background to situational crime prevention looks at:

1. The broad background in terms of a general “environmental discourse” that encompasses both cultural and physical environments.

2. A couple of New Right approaches – Control Theory and Routine Activities Theory – that flow from this general discourse.

Left Realism

An overview of Left Realism and its criticism of conventional and radical forms of criminology; the relative validity of official crime statistics; the relationship between concepts of subculture, relative deprivation and political marginalisation.

Left Realism Profiles

Focused on the idea of offender and victim profiling, this introduces both the 3-cornered approach and the square of crime.

Left Realism:

Key Ideas and Criticisms

Introduction to some of the key ideas that characterise Left Realist approaches to understanding crime and criminality: key concepts, types of crime, the problem of crime, solutions to crime, how to research crime. Includes a number of short criticisms of the perspective, including a couple you might not have come across before.

Subcultural Theories

This overview of Functionalist subcultural theories examines examples of  Reactive and Independent subcultures.

Youth Culture

This complete chapter, taken from OCR Sociology for AS (2012), examines the concept of youth and youth culture across four main areas:

The Role of Youth

Youth Culture and Subculture

Youth and Deviance

Youth and Education

Youth Subcultures


Exploring the concept of "youth" and outlining early theories of youth deviance.

Youth Subcultures


Examining three broad perspectives on youth subcultures: Functionalist, Marxist, Interactionist perspectives and beyond. Also looks at semiological analyses of youth subcultures.

Youth Subcultures


Examines the difference between culture and subculture and explores theories of youth cultures and subcultures, including concepts of  hegemony; relative autonomy and semiology.



Overview of Durkheim's explanation of suicide (including methodological outline), plus some general positivist explanations for suicide. 



Interactionist and positivist critiques of Durkheim plus Interactionist explanations of suicide.



An updated and more-comprehensive overview from a range of sociological positions:

1. The Sociological Study of Suicide.

2. Suicide Typologies.

3. Positivist Approaches and studies.

4. Interpretivist Approaches and studies.

5. Realist Approaches and studies.

A2 Sociology for AQA

This complete book chapter covers 5 areas:

1. Different explanations of crime, deviance, social order and social control.

2. The social construction of and social reactions to crime and deviance, including the role of the mass media.

3. The relationship between deviance, power and social control.

4. Different explanations of the social distribution of crime and deviance by age, social class, ethnicity, gender and locality.

5. The sociological issues arising from the study of suicide.

Deviancy Amplification

A teachers and learners support pack I wrote at some point for ATSS. In broad terms it contains background notes on Interactionist sociology and how it relates to the amplification process. The document also contains a range of relatively simple activities related to deviancy amplification, including a short self-report questionnaire you can use use in the classroom to test, in particular, the relationship between gender and crime.

Ecological Theories

This general introduction to classical ecological theories outlines and evaluates Concentric Zones; Cultural Transmission and Differential Association.


Introductory | Deviance | Identity | Education | Family | Global | Media |

Health | Methods | Politics | Inequality | Theory | Religion | Welfare

Crime and Deviance


Notes | PowerPoint | NotAFactsheet | Lesson Plans | Worksheets | Revision | Simulations | Flipbooks

Crime and Deviance Films

Strain Theory

Labelling Theory

Rethinking Moral Panics

Hate Crime in Everyday Life

Space, Place and (Broken) Windows

Durkheim and the Functions of Crime

Crime and Gender: Closing The Gap

Relighting the Streets: Situational Crime Prevention

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