CRIME Essay Example

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21 April 2014

Crime as a social Construction

Societies have cultures and values which individuals strive to uphold in their settings. Failure to act in compliance to them is a violation of the societal norms while compliance is considered moral. Humans’ routinely interaction facilitates the human minds to construct their social realities and interpret the behavior of others. Crime is hence a socially constructed reality and capable of been deconstructed. Certain behaviors are classified as crimes and are the once punishable; this is in reference to the collective norms, values and interests of the society. The behavior regarded as a crime in one societal setting could be held different in another society. For example, abortion policy could be legal in USA, but come to most African countries; it’s an action rebuked in societies and consequently punishable by law. Similarly, the labeled criminal behavior can change over time because of society deconstruct and alter the meaning/significance they attach to the behavior. Homosexuality had in the past been considered illegal, but currently several jurisdictions in Australia have decriminalized it. This indicates that the legal essence of homosexuality does not lay in the behavior itself, but rather how the society construct reality and respond to homosexuals and the controversial behavior they engage in.

Crime as a product of religious Authority

The supernatural and supreme being in the religious context communicates to the people on how to conduct themselves. Different people follow different religious doctrines, in which they believe the supreme authority created the world and its contents, but most importantly laid out clear instruction for men to follow. The holy books (Koran, Bibles and Torah) contain commands, instructions, laws, and guidance that allows religious followers to comprehend supreme-being’s intention. From the prophetic messages and written contents in the Holy books, clears rules, warning and repercussions are stipulated. Crime is hence the act rebelling God’s will, law, rules and instructions. Islamic law so far seems to be the only distinctive law that follows this definition of crime, where violations of Quran are punishable based on its teachings. The religious doctrines oppose abortion for it is deprival of innocent human life. In NSW, Zoe’s law is move towards stopping abortion crime and giving rights to an unborn life. The bill is based on the Christian religious doctrines, and moves to label abortion or grievous bodily harm of fetuses over 20 weeks old or least 400 grams in NSW a crime (Blayden, 2013, p.1). Zoe’s law was proposed by Christian Democratic Party, which aims at promoting Biblical principles and Christian values against destroying life, and reducing victims/human sufferings.

Crime as a reflection of nation state legality

It is the common applied theory of crime in most countries today. Crimes in a state are defined by the validly passed laws under the sovereign authority in specific jurisdiction areas of the nation. That is why certain acts are vividly unlawful in some states and not others. For example, in USA, capital punishment is legal in certain states like Missouri, while other states like Massachusetts abolished it. It follows that the sovereign body in a state determine the criminal acts and have procedures to assess the act accused to be a crime before any action is taken against the perpetrator. Laws are formulated and enacted by legislators, which the judicially use to examine the criminality of an act. Crimes result from violating the laws set by the sovereign power in the territory. The punishment to an established crime could vary based on the criminal codes of the state. For example, Murder is a crime in most countries, but most convicted criminals get life imprisonment punishment in most nations rather than capital punishment. Cannabis is considered an illegal drug in Australia, but punishment varies across the different states and territories. The effect results from decriminalization of the drug, which makes it possible for specific sovereign authority in a state to apply civil penalty system. Hence, the laws per state determine the crime, its extent and reasonable punishment to the crime.

Crime beyond the nation state and Complexity in defining crime

Globalization brought a new aspect of crime involvement. Crimes can be today within or outside the scope of the state but affecting different nations. The people in societies have concerns over their safety and would perceive their susceptibility to crime. They get anxious of falling victim of the criminal acts, which links crime with fear. In the modern contemporary society where cases of internal and external terrorism occur from time to time, there develops a social concern over the public members’ safety, who vulnerable to been victims of crimes. The media plays a critical role in influencing the social perception. An event projected in the media could be perceived by the society as escalated situation, hence causes the fear of crime, which requires the government to react to the situation or issues that have caught the public imagination (perceived reality) and appear to have taken measures against the crime that poses a threat to both the political and social realms. Since the state authority is constrained within the borders, this may require sovereignty beyond the States to define crime and ensure sufficient governance to the people.


Blayden, L. 2013. Crimes Amendments (Zoe’s Law) Bill 2013 (No.2). [Online] Available at:<$File/Crimes+Amendment+%28Zoe%27s+Law%29+Bill+2013+%28No+2%29.pdf> [Accessed 21 April 2014]

Morrison, W. 2006. Criminology, Civilisation and the New World Order. London: Routledge. Cavendish