Which Theory Argues That Crime Is Due to Social Conflict Social Change and a Lack Of?


Diego Sanchez

Crime is a complex issue that has been studied and analyzed by numerous social theories. One such theory argues that crime is a result of social conflict, social change, and a lack of opportunities. This theory, known as the conflict theory, provides valuable insights into the underlying causes of crime in society.

Social Conflict:
At the core of the conflict theory is the belief that society is characterized by social inequality and power struggles. According to this perspective, crime arises when individuals or groups with less power and resources challenge those in positions of authority. This can manifest in various forms, such as acts of rebellion, protest, or even criminal behavior.

Social Change:
The conflict theory also emphasizes the role of social change in contributing to crime. As societies undergo periods of rapid transformation and upheaval, individuals may feel marginalized or disempowered. This can lead to frustration and disillusionment, increasing the likelihood of engaging in criminal activities as a means to assert control or voice grievances.

Lack of Opportunities:

Another key aspect highlighted by the conflict theory is the significance of a lack of opportunities in fostering criminal behavior. When individuals are denied access to education, employment, or other essential resources, they may resort to illegal means to meet their needs or achieve their goals. Limited economic prospects and inadequate social support systems can create an environment ripe for criminal activity.

  • Unemployment rates
  • Poverty levels
  • Discrimination
  • Inequality

Unemployment Rates:

High unemployment rates contribute significantly to crime rates. When individuals are unable to secure stable employment that provides financial security and personal fulfillment, they may turn to illegal activities as a means of survival or escapism.

Poverty Levels:

Poverty is often linked to higher crime rates. Economic deprivation can lead individuals to engage in criminal behavior to meet their basic needs or achieve a higher standard of living. The lack of resources and opportunities can create a sense of desperation and hopelessness, pushing individuals towards criminal acts.


Discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, or socio-economic status can contribute to crime. When certain groups face systemic disadvantages and societal prejudice, they may resort to criminal behavior as a form of resistance or rebellion against their marginalized position.


Inequality in wealth, power, and social status is another significant factor that contributes to crime. When disparities between different segments of society are stark, it can breed resentment and conflict. This social imbalance can result in acts of violence or property crimes as individuals seek to level the playing field or express their frustration.

In conclusion, the conflict theory provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the causes of crime in society. By emphasizing social conflict, social change, and a lack of opportunities, this theory sheds light on the underlying dynamics that contribute to criminal behavior.

Factors such as unemployment rates, poverty levels, discrimination, and inequality all play crucial roles in shaping the prevalence of crime within communities. By addressing these root causes and working towards greater equity and inclusivity, societies can strive towards reducing crime rates and creating safer environments for all individuals.