Profile of a Con Artist – Gambler
Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups, and societies, sometimes defined Beauty by Pari as the study of social interactions. It is a relatively new academic discipline that evolved in the early 19th century. It concerns itself with the social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, and institutions.
The study of crime and why people commit crimes is intriguing. It helps us to understand seemingly incomprehensible behaviour and the rational behind the criminal’s actions. We have to look beyond the obvious.
Criminals and deviants refuse to live by the rules that the majority of us follow. Yet human society is governed by rules and norms. Our society would collapse into chaos if we did not stick to rules defining acceptable from inappropriate behaviour in particular contexts and social situations. We create rules just as we break them. However many in our society do not live by these rules.
The American sociologist, Marshall Clinard, suggests that the term ‘deviance’ should be reserved for “those situations in which behaviour is in a disapproved direction and of a sufficient degree to exceed the tolerance limit of the community”. In terms of Clinard’s definition, crime and delinquency are the most obvious forms of deviance.
Most of us on some occasions transgress generally accepted rules of behaviour. We may for example, have at some point committed minor criminal acts – like exceeded the speed limit or smoked marijuana. Criminology concerns itself with forms of behaviour that are sanctioned by criminal law. We will also try to understand why people behave the way they do and we will direct our attention to social power. Using a case study, involving the profile of a criminal, we will try to match the circumstances relevant to this case with a theoretical background. We have selected a 45 year old male, who’s name we have change to Mark in order to protect his identity. Part of our sociology exam consisted of interviewing and writing a profile on a criminal. Through contacts, Mark came to our attention and we decided to write his profile due to his remarkable life so far. He just ended a nine month stay in a foreign prison for cheating/conning a croupier at a roulette table in a Spanish casino.
To conduct this interview, we prepared a substantial list of questions for Mark – all of which he was willing to answer. We focused on his upbringing, peers, social institution and environment and the link to symbolic interactionism/choice theory, differential association theory/social reaction theory, social control theory as well as showing the connection between delinquency and crime.
Before we move on to the case study and the theoretical approaches, we would like to give you an analysis of the mind and morality of the typical con man and what makes him tick. Although our case study falls into the ‘typical con man’ bracket, there are some areas where Mark would not thread as you shall see. Mark is true to type, meaning he is only interested in one type of crime.