Crime is inevitable within a society that has law and order for where boundaries are placed, since it automatically gives someone the right to have power over other individuals. Therefore it follows naturally that people will challenge this authority. In order to decrease the rate of crime, we must explore reasons for why people may commit it and tackle the issues from the source, thereby bringing us one step closer in providing a long-term solution. Due to the diversity in society, to provide a single theory of why people commit crime is not possible, therefore many different groups of sociologists have investigated and developed different ideas concerning potential causes, hence aiding us in our understanding of crime today. In what follows, I shall explore what reasons the investigations of the Postmodernists offer. The Postmodernist perspective should be given great weight; as a new emerging group they identify that society is dynamic and fluid and therefore very relevant.

According to new figures, crime in society has fallen dramatically. However, Postmodernists challenge this by identifying the changes in society which have affected our understanding of what crime is. For instance, Baudrillard recognizes that in a media-saturated society the media has become a source of socialization resulting in a hyperreality. Examples of this can be seen in soap operas such as Coronation Street where the fictional character, Deidre Rachid, attracted a lot of attention from the public. Even the then Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke about the injustice of her imprisonment. Surely this hyperreality blurs the line between what is real life and fictional. This could be dangerous when looking to understand crime, primarily for the reason that it fails to recognise that humans have individual autonomy.

The prominent Postmodernist, Baudrillard also upholds that many people use crime as a way of constructing their own identity. As we live in a fluid and dynamic ‘pick and mix’ society, individuals have the opportunity to choose to partake in activities that help us and others define who we are. One only has to look to the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist terrorist attacks to witness criminal activity being used to reinforce individuals’ sense of identity. Arguably a correlation can be found between crime and a consumerist community. In the sense that life is almost like a shopping mall in which individuals can decide what to take and this helps them construct their own identity.  However, this assertion has a major flaw as it ignores the fact that all too often criminal activity is not voluntary, but rather  a result of economic circumstances or other external factors such as peer pressure, therefore it can only aid us to a certain extent.

Additionally, there is the issue of globalization. Beck maintains this has resulted in a degree of uncertainty and chaos. This idea is reinforced by cheap, readily-available air travel, which has led to greater interconnectedness, allowing crime to be committed on a mass scale. This has produced a risk society where man-made disasters are now more harmful than natural world disasters; the Bhopal Disaster illustrates this point. This also could serve as an opposing argument to the statistics that crime has fallen. Individuals are now exploring other ways of committing crime and therefore are difficult to catch. For these reasons it would logically follow that rates in burglary and robbery, for example have fallen, since people are now finding different opportunities to play out criminal activity. Fraud and hacking is an example of criminal enterprise in which, through technological advances, criminals have other routes of stealing information and finances, therefore no longer needing to physically steal – something that would have a higher rate of being caught. This suggests people are committing crime because opportunities have become readily available and it’s easier to carry out undetected as a result of globalization.

I have briefly considered and explored different reasons for why people may commit crime. It is difficult to strike a perfect balance because as humanity advances technologically, so does the intelligence of the criminal mind. Furthermore, as a result of the Enlightenment, around the eighteenth century and the importance of autonomy, this has led to the death of meta-narratives and with that, a diminishment of authority, rules and people in power. As a society we have become increasingly fragmented and this has created uncertainty in what crime actually is; this then  affects our understanding of crime as a contemporary social feature.

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