I didnt finish it- the last paragraph I just planned and I didnt write a conclusion but if I did what mark do you think i would get?
Assess sociological views on state crimes (21 marks)
Green and Ward describe state crime as ‘illegal or deviant behaviour perpetrated by or with the complicity of the state.’ State crimes include crimes such as genocide and war crimes. McLaughlin argues there are four types of state crimes: Political crime, Economic crime, social crimes such as institutional racism, and crime by social control agencies such as the police. Sociologists have explored many aspects of state crimes such as why it is so serious, why is so underreported and more significantly sociologists debate on how we are meant to overcome the state’s power and make the state responsible for such crimes.
Sociologists argue that although we don’t hear a lot about state crimes, they can be considered the most serious type of crime. This is because the state has so much power, and thus such crimes would be large scale and have wide spread victimisation. Khmer argues ‘with great power, comes great destruction.’ There is certainly evidence to support this point, for instance the Khmer Rouge government under Pol Pot in Cambodia in the 60s and 70s, is estimated to have killed a fifth of its population. What also makes it so seriously is because the state can claim national sovereignty, and argue what they choose to do in their county is a national matter, not an international one and therefore other countries should not be getting involved. Not only this, the state are the ones who have power to make certain laws, thus they could make laws that would make their actions perfectly legal. For example, under Hitler rule in German, Hitler passed a law that made the sterilisation of disable people legal, such an act would have been illegal before hand, but because Hitler passed this law it was no longer classed as a punishable crime.
However, it can be argued that even though the state can claim national sovereignty, there have been examples where in the past outside countries have got involved. For example America getting involved in the Iraq war in 2004.
Furthermore, critical criminologists argue that laws from the state shouldn’t be relevant when deciding whether an action of the state is criminal or not. Herman and Schwendinger’s argue that we should class an action is criminal if it goes against human rights. Human rights include: freedom of worship and speech for example. So in their view, if the state go against any of these human rights then they should be regarded as criminal. They argue if we just follow laws then of course the state will get away with it as they are the creators of the laws, and thus the laws will be bias and go in their favour. This type of criminology is described as transgressive criminology as it goes beyond traditional criminology which was considered about issues which just violated the laws.
However, such transgressive criminology has been criticised. There is no fixed list of human rights, thus it’s an extremely subjective way to classify an act as crime. For example whilst genocide and torture are clearly breach of human rights, some may argue that freedom of poverty is not a human right as of course some people are going to be impoverished. So there could be conflation between sociologists on whether if a certain act is criminal or not.
Cohen also criticises Herman and Schwendinger’s for wanting to judge on wherever something is criminal based on if it goes against human rights. He argues that even if the state does go against human rights, they can simply deny it. Dictatorships can easily just denounce any involvement of the act, but for democracies, this is harder as the public would demand answers. Cohen argues that democracies follow a ‘three stage spiral of denial.’ One is ‘it didn’t happen’ but then the media shows it did and then they say ‘its something else’ and if that fails they argue it was for national protection and honour, so in some way the state find a way to take responsibility away from themselves. Cohen goes further and has created a ‘neautlisation theory’ to explain the methods used by the state when denial is no longer an option. Drawing on the work of Skye and Matza they identify a number of methods: denial of victim- they deserved it for instance they are terrorists, denial of injury: the other started, it we had no choice. These techniques don’t deny the event by seek to make it not look as serious or the fault of the state.
However, Cohen has been criticised, now especially in democratic societies, social campaigns have become far more influencing. Also through social media, the public have much more of a voice,and thus such denials and covers used by the state are becoming far less effective.
Marxist sociologists Tomb and Whyte also study why exactly state crime is so underrepresented….
(would talk about how state fund research projects, and block publishing of anything against them.
SOCIOLOGY SCLY4: Is this essay good?
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Last edited by Emilycunningham; 21-06-2016 at 16:43.
- 21-06-2016 16:42
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- 22-06-2016 15:04
Overall, I think the essay is too long but you definitely have plenty of content in there, so you'd get a decent AO1 mark.
The first paragraph is quite descriptive but shows a good understanding of the question and the various issues raised. Assuming this essay is split into three "passages", the first passage shows examples, which is great, but could perhaps be made more of with Marxist evaluation, because it's not very sociological as it stands.
The second passage is stronger sociologically and shows some better evaluation. I'd get Cohen in here rather than leaving him for the third passage.
Generally what I see is a good essay written by someone knowledgeable but it seems like a regurgitation of facts in passages 1 and 3 especially. I'm not saying I could write much better, but I don't think this would hit the top band for anything other than perhaps AO1. I also think you might struggle to write this amount in the exam, since you probably wouldn't be able to write much more for the 33 marker.
I'll link you to this thread which might be of further use to you, since I'm not very versed in essay marking: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=3795967