I am doing an essay and am having a bit of trouble with deciding which criminal behaviour to choose. The question states that I should select one aspect of criminal behaviour and then explain how sociological theories explain that behaviour. Would it be appropriate to choose antisocial behaviour or should I choose something more specific like murder? Is antisocial behaviour too wide of a topic? Is antisocial behaviour a synonym for criminal behaviour?
Undergraduate or college?
If you are using anti-social behaviour, firstly you would quote the law on anti-social behaviour and the penalties for such.
Have you looked at Edwin Sutherland's Differential Association? It starts with deviant behaviour which is not wholly criminal but can lead to criminal behaviour. The different types of people or groups one associates with will influence the behaviour. That group may conform and another group may not - hence anti-social behaviour will follow.
Look at Merton's Strain Theory and the functionalist perspective. This traces the beginnings of deviance and the tension between the individual trying to reach acceptable goals in society but are hindered by the structure of society because they do not have the means to achieve the goals legitimately, they will turn to crime.
Labelling theory is a prominent theory in sociological explanations of crime. Starts from the assumption that no act is actually criminal- it only becomes criminal because the forces of law and order deem it to be so.- labelling theory is embedded in institutions as schools, the police, etc. in other words, those in power who impose and enforce the rules.
Look at Stanley Cohen's famous book Folk Devils and Moral Panics, where specific groups can become marginalized. x