Culture Crime and Law:Relationship between Culture, Crime and Law

Culture, Crime and Law are distinct concepts but sometimes influence one and other in application. Here we will discuss their relation and how they influence each other while all are the basic attributes of the society

Culture Crime and Law
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What is the relationship between culture, crime and law ?

Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by a man as a member of society (Edward, B. Taylor). Culture crime and law all these elements exist in society and culture has a major contribution in crime and crime control. Law crime and culture are distinct concepts but sometimes influence one and other in application. It is culture that pave the way for crime and norms in society play an important role in controlling the crime. 

Culture and crime the relationship between culture and crime is illustrated through the processing of two topics:  the first is the influence of culture on determining the circle of incriminated behaviours as well as the way in which society reacts to crime; the second problem relates to the effect of certain cultural factors on the genesis of criminal behaviour

Culture and Crime

The relationship between culture and crime is explained through the processing of two topics: the first is the influence of culture on determining the circle of incriminated behaviours as well as the way in which society reacts to crime.

Crimes of necessity, such as stealing to food for family. If a poor man can earn food and other basic needs for his family will not commit crime and crime level will go down. For example, in Islamic culture zakat, usher and charity system is introduced to full fill the basic needs of poor.

Crime as a response to oppression when governments or upper classes use their power to oppress (Dominate) others, a powerful criminal response is inevitable.

Criminal learns crime from culture, it is also reality that a criminal learns crimes from the culture for example we see many movies on television in movies many crimes are introduced and way, tools of commit crime. A criminal also learns crimes from peer group, neighbour and family.

Subculture a subculture is defined as a “subdivision within the dominant culture that has its own norms, beliefs, and values”. 

Subcultural theories explain crime as a collective phenomenon, resulting from the devotion to values and norms, which are different from those of the dominant society. In situations of marginalization from the mainstream society, individuals bond together and develop their own norms, beliefs, and symbols, creating new identities and ways of life.

Swedish American sociologist Thorsten Sellin developed the culture conflict theory, which explains crime as a conflict between different conduct norms regulating the behaviours of (groups of) individuals. If there are two groups in a culture there must be clash between there norms and values, later this pave the way for commit a crime

Behavioural resulting crimes due to cultural values. Many people in our culture commit crime due to culture values some examples are here given bellow:


A.   Patriarchal cultural value system: Pakistani culture is male dominant culture, head of the family is male of old age mostly and in our culture man has decision making power. Man took many decisions which deprive women from their rights. In some northern areas of Pakistan mostly female are not allow to go outside of their home alone or without permission, even they do not allow to visit a doctor’s clinic alone in emergency or critical health condition some women and children die when male is not at home due to no or late treatment. Some women refused to accept male decision and male/head of family punish even kill them. 

B.    Force marriage: Forced marriages can also be linked to other forms of violence perpetrated before the marriage by the parents (domestic violence, segregation, abduction, etc.), during the marriage by the husband (sexual and domestic violence) and after the marriage in the event of a divorce, by the family of the wife or the husband (violence that can amount to killing).

C.    Honor-Based Violence: An honour killing or shame killing or honour based violence is the murder of a member of a family or violence on member of family, due to the perpetrators' belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonour upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community, culture or a religion, usually for reasons such as divorcing or separating from their spouse, refusing to enter an arranged  or exchange marriage (watta satta), being in a relationship that is disapproved by their family, having sex, outside marriage, becoming the victim of rape, dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate, engaging in non-heterosexual relations or renouncing a faith. These cultural values create the ground for crimes. 

Law and culture 

Law and culture are two distinct concepts but sometimes influence one and other in application. Law is what the legislative bodies enforce but culture is what people already practicing to the implementation of law to that effect. 

1.     Legislatures keep in mind current cultural practices while making a law.

In enacting a law in respect of certain matter, the legislature will like to take into account the existing cultural practice in social unless the purpose of such a law is to abolish or modify the culture available in the society.

2.     Law is product of culture Law is actually a product of culture, much like every single other social construction. Our culture defines how we perceive society and our place in it, and thus how we perceive what society “ought to be” and the rules it should follow.

3.     Law deeply influences the culture: Although you may think law is a dry subject, it deeply influences culture. Culture can be defined as a way of life, and what good is it if we do not have the freedom to live safely? Laws protect our fundamental rights and enable us to pursue our goals.

4.     In a democracy, laws are decided by the legislature, which is elected by the people. If the people voice their displeasure regarding a particular law, the legislature's members should take it up.

5.     A liberal culture can only claim to be liberal if laws do not differentiate between people on the basis of race, class, and gender. Protesters down the ages have ensured that today we can live in a culture of transparency. 


It is important to sensitize yourself on topics relating to law and culture. Due to this we can prepare future generations for change required in the system. 


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