Muncie and E. McLaughlin "The Problem of Crime"; F. Schmalleger "Criminology Today"; J. Tierney J. "Criminology: Theory and Context"; G. Barak "Integrating Criminologies"; D. Downes and P. Rock "Understanding Deviance. A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule Breaking"; S. Jones "Criminology"; M. Lanier and S. Henry "Essential Criminology".
In order to prevent misunderstanding it is necessary to emphasize: the sociology of deviance does not substitute criminology and does not replace it. Each of these sciences has own subject, both of them are social, sociological sciences. Their correlation (from the general to the special) is: sociology - sociology of deviance - criminology.
While each of us knows very well what a crime is, it is one of the most complicated questions for an expert-criminologist. What is crime finally defines the legislator of the concrete state in the concrete time, reflecting the interests of ruling minority (authorities). Something that is claimed as criminal in one state in the certain time can be not considered as a crime in the other state or during the other time. A crime and criminality are relative, conventional concepts; they are social constructions (Muncie, & McLaughlin, 1996, p. 13-14; Tierney, 1996, p. 14-15; Barkan, p. 15).
It does not mean that crimi...
Thus the same (as for the matter) actions can not considered as crimes: the murder of "enemy" on the war, or the murder of a "criminal" in accordance with the verdict of the court, taking possession of things of another person "under the law" or under the decision of court.
As a matter of fact this dual "nature" of crime ( which is on the one hand is a real harm, and on the other hand is a "foresight" of the criminal law (conventionality) causes the complexity of definition of crime.
How does criminology cope with this duality First of all is given "legal" definition of a crime. The formula offered by Tappan is considered to be classical one: the crime is the deliberate infringement of the criminal law accomplished not for the protection or the justification, and punishable by the state (Tappan, p. 100). In other words, the behavioural act is criminal, while and as it breaks the criminal law (Brown et al., 1991, p. 18). Alongside with it the crime is a "social construction", "ideological condemnation", "historical invention" (Muncie, & McLaughlin, 1996, p. 7-18).
In criminology are considered such characteristics of a crime, as the form of normal behaviour (for the first time this idea has been stated by E. Durkheim), infringement of behavioural norms, the form of deviant behaviour, infringement of human rights, presence of social harm, social damage, form of inequality (Barak, 1998, p. 22-26). These characteristics are especially actively defended recently by postmodernist criminology which in particular considers social construction of "crime" as a "production" of authority with a view of restriction of others, not belonging to authority, individuals in their aspiration to