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© 2003 Wadsworth Publishing Co. Chapter Eight Conflict Theory Criminology 9 th and 10th edition Larry J. Siegel.

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Presentation on theme: "© 2003 Wadsworth Publishing Co. Chapter Eight Conflict Theory Criminology 9 th and 10th edition Larry J. Siegel."— Presentation transcript:

1 © 2003 Wadsworth Publishing Co. Chapter Eight Conflict Theory Criminology 9 th and 10th edition Larry J. Siegel

2 CONFLICT MARXIST CRITICAL RADICAL Schools of Thought Criminologists who view crime as a function of social conflict and economic rivalry are aligned with a number of schools of thought, referred to as:

3 The Branches of Social Conflict Theory

4 The goal of social conflict theorists is to explain crime within economic and social contexts and to express the connections among social class, crime and social control. Crime is an outcome of class struggle. Issues of concern to them include:  The role government plays in creating a criminogenic environment.  The relationship of personal or group power in controlling and shaping the criminal law.  The role of bias in the operations of the justice system.  The relationship between a capitalist free- enterprise economy and crime rates.  The role government plays in creating a criminogenic environment.  The relationship of personal or group power in controlling and shaping the criminal law.  The role of bias in the operations of the justice system.  The relationship between a capitalist free- enterprise economy and crime rates.

5 Marxist View of Class Workers(Proletariat)Workers(Proletariat) Owners of Production(CapitalistBourgeoisie) Production(CapitalistBourgeoisie) The Non-Productive (Lumpen Proletariat) The Non-Productive (Lumpen Proletariat) PROFITSWAGESPROFITSWAGES

6 Willem Bonger ( ) It is not the absolute amount of wealth that affects crime but its distribution. If wealth is unequally distributed and people believe wealth means superiority, then the inferior will be crime-prone. The economic system will intensify personal disadvantages and will increase propensity to commit crime. Crime will disappear if society progresses from competitive capitalism, to monopoly capitalism. It is not the absolute amount of wealth that affects crime but its distribution. If wealth is unequally distributed and people believe wealth means superiority, then the inferior will be crime-prone. The economic system will intensify personal disadvantages and will increase propensity to commit crime. Crime will disappear if society progresses from competitive capitalism, to monopoly capitalism.

7 Dahrendorf’s Unified Conflict Theory of Human Behavior. Every element in a society renders a contribution to its disintegration and change. Every society is based on the coercion of some of its members by others. Every society is at every point subject to processes of change; social change is everywhere. Every society displays at every point dissent and conflict; social conflict is everywhere.

8 George Vold and Conflict

9 The Social Reality of Crime The social reality of crime is constructed by the formulation and application of criminal definitions, the development of behavior patterns to criminal definitions, and the construction of criminal conceptions. RichardQuinney,1970

10 Questions According to Quinney, what factors are criminal definitions based on? What is the “proposition” of the Social Reality of Crime?

11 Conflict Theory MAJOR PREMISE Crime is a function of class conflict. The definition of the law is controlled by people who hold social and political power. MAJOR PREMISE Crime is a function of class conflict. The definition of the law is controlled by people who hold social and political power. STRENGTHS Accounts for class differentials in the crime rate. Shows how class conflict influences behavior.STRENGTHS

12 Questions Could conflict theory explain the relationship of race/ethnicity and crime as well as class? If so, in what way? Would all racial groups be affected the same?

13 Conflict Theory versus Consensus Theory Conflict Theory: Criminal law is a weapon utilized by the powerful to maintain dominance. Crime is a means to fight back against those in power. Consensus Theory: Criminal law reflects the values of the majority which equal a just society. Crime, therefore, violates the rights of others.

14 Marxist Theory (Critical Criminology) STRENGTHS Accounts for the associations between economic structure and crime rates. MAJOR PREMISE The capitalist means of production creates class conflict. Crime is a rebellion of the lower class. The criminal justice system is an agent of class warfare.

15 Questions What is Instrumental Critical Theory? What is Structural Critical Theory?

16 Instrumental Critical Theory MAJOR PREMISE Criminals are revolutionaries. The real crime is sexism, racism, and profiteering. The criminal law and the criminal justice system are solely instruments for controlling the poor. STRENGTHS Broadens the definition of crime and demystifies or explains the historical development of law. In other words, how capitalist law preserves ruling-class power.

17 Explains the existence of white-collar crime and business control laws. Explains the existence of white-collar crime and business control laws. Strengths The law is designed to sustain the capitalist economic system. The law is designed to sustain the capitalist economic system. Major Premise Structural Critical Theory

18 Critiques of Critical Criminology Most theft is for luxury, not survival. Marxists unfairly neglect the efforts of the capitalist system to regulate itself. Marxists refuse to address the problems and conflicts that exist in socialist countries. Marxists fail to explain why some highly capitalist countries, such a Japan, have extremely low crime rates. Marxists are too quick to blame for every human vice without adequate explanation or regard for other social and environmental factors.

19 Questions What is critical feminism? – Patriarchy and crime? Explain left realism and preemptive deterrence.

20 Power Control Theory A Critical Feminist Theory (John Hagan) Crime and delinquency rates are a function of: Class Position (Power) Family Function (Control) Parents’ work experiences and class position influence the criminality of their children. In paternalistic families, male siblings exhibit a higher degree of delinquent behavior than their sisters. In egalitarian families, daughters law-violating behaviors mirror their brothers’.

21 Social Conflict/Critical Criminology Theory

22 Emerging Forms of Critical Criminology

23 Questions What is restorative justice? and, How does restorative justice address social conflict theory and public policy?

24 Social Conflict Theories: Peacemaking – Restorative Justice MAJOR PREMISE Peace and humanism can reduce crime; conflict resolution strategies can work. STRENGTHS Offers a new approach to crime control through mediation.

25 Restorative Justice

26 Question What are victim concerns about restorative justice? Give examples. Explain reintegrative shaming.


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