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NCJ Number: 73855 Find in a Library
Title: Some Relativities in Crime Definition
Journal: Home Office Research Bulletin  Issue:10  Dated:(1980)  Pages:42-45
Author(s): D J I Murphy
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Two models of viewing the nature of rules are outlined. The formal model concentrates on rule conformity and deviance, viewing the rule itself as invariant. The judgmental model emphasizes the negotiated aspects of rule use, examing the situational factors which provide the context for rule organization.
Abstract: Traditional criminologists concentrate unduly on questions of either/or -- conformity or deviance. They are concerned with absolute numbers of crimes and absolute numbers of offenders, and they seek to explain deviance by analyzing the personal, economic, and social characteristics of offenders. The judgmental model concerns factors relevant in the process of judging whether a person is to be held a deviant or not. It examines the context in which rule use, deviance, and conformity are located. The judgmental model is similar to that used by the police and the courts. The classification of events as conforming or deviating from a particular rule can only be determined by reference to the contextual framework of specific instances. If a court agrees that a suspect did not intend to steal from a shop, then that person cannot be classified as a shoplifter, and consequently the offense of theft never occurred. Even with offenses having strict liability, such as speeding, there are definitional problems in describing the criminal act. Traditional criminologists attempt to quantify the 'dark figure' of crime by means of victim surveys and self-report studies. But offenses and offenders cannot be considered without reference to the judgmental processes which go into making them. Five references are included.
Index Term(s): Deviance; Socialization
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