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Critical Theory.  Central Themes  Emphasis on “inequality” and “power”  Crime as “political” concept  CJS serves interests of powerful  Solution.

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Theory.  Central Themes  Emphasis on “inequality” and “power”  Crime as “political” concept  CJS serves interests of powerful  Solution."— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical Theory

2  Central Themes  Emphasis on “inequality” and “power”  Crime as “political” concept  CJS serves interests of powerful  Solution to crime is more equitable society  EXPLANATION OF LAW and CJ SYSTEM rather than crime

3  George Vold Group Conflict  Multiple groups in society with varying levels of power ▪ Political interest groups ▪ Social movements ▪ Broad segments of society ▪ Political parties  Those who win conflict get control over the law and coercive power of the state Pluralistic Conflict—Explanation of the Law and Criminal Justice

4  The formulation of law  Interest groups’ influence on law-making  Research on consensus over laws  The operation of the CJS  Research on “extra-legal” variables  “Legal” = prior record, offense seriousness  “extra” = RACE, CLASS, GENDER  Demeanor? Empirical Evidence

5  After controlling for legal factors, race-CJS studies are all over the board  Especially if one controls for demeanor (Reiss, 1966  observed police)  Research issues  The meaning of prior record and demeanor  How to isolate and study bias  Different stages of the legal system Race, Crime, and Criminal Justice

6 Racial profiling ▪ Difficult to determine ▪ Minorities more likely to live in high-crime areas ▪ Alfred Blumstein ▪ Racial disparity in incarceration due largely to disparities in arrest rates ▪ Blacks at a disadvantage in the criminal justice system, especially for less serious crimes Race and Justice II

7  Race and Capital Punishment  Victim x Race interactions  Race and Drug Prosecutions  Long history of connecting drugs to “dangerous” populations  Chinese  Opium  Mexicans  Marijuana  African Americans  Crack Cocaine e  “Crack Multiplier”  Enforcement patterns for drug offenses Where the Evidence is Clear

8  Thorston Sellin (1938)  Cultural conflict theory  Gist: violate laws of the majority simply by following the norms of one’s own reference group  George Vold (1958)  Group conflict theory (crime that results from conflict)  Labor strife, protest-related crime Conflict: An Explanation of Street Crime

9  Communist Manifesto  Means of production determine the structure of society  Capitalism: Owners of the means of production (capitalists) Workers = proletariat, lumpen proletariat Karl Marx

10  The laboring class produces goods that exceed the value of their wages (profit)  The owners invest the profit to reduce the workforce (technology)  The workers will no longer be able to afford the goods produced by the owners Capitalism will Self-Destruct

11 ▪ Early attempt to tie Marx and Crime Together ▪ Altruism as a defining characteristic of society and human nature ▪ Egoism characterizes capitalist society ▪ Capitalism builds social irresponsibility and creates a climate of crime ▪ Solution: socialism (which allows altruism to flourish) Wilhelm Adrian Bonger

12  Instrumental Marxist Position  Hard line position  Crime and the creation and enforcement of law the direct result of capitalism  Structural Marxist Position  Softer Position  Governments are somewhat autonomous  Over time, the direction of the law (creation and enforcement) will lean towards the capitalists Marxist/Radical Criminology

13  Richard Quinney (1980)  All Conflict is organized around capitalist versus the poor  Either you are an oppressed lackey or a capitalist  Anyone who does not realize this (or identifies with capitalism) has false class consciousness  The real power and authority is exclusive to the ruling class Instrumental Marxist Criminology

14  Primary goal of capitalists? Maintain Power!  To do this, must trample rights of others  But, also must portray an egalitarian society  Accomplished by controlling media, academics Quinney (1980) cont.

15  Capitalists control the definition of crime  Laws protect the capitalists (property, $)  Laws ignore crimes of the capitalists (profiteering) Implications for Law

16  CJS is the tool of the capitalists; used to oppress (not protect) the working population  Crimes of the rich treated with kid gloves  Property crimes strictly enforced  “Street crimes” are enforced only in poor neighborhoods  Incarceration to control surplus labor Implications for the Criminal Justice System

17  Crimes of the Capitalists (must control)  Economic Domination  Crimes of the Government  Crimes of Control  Social Injuries (should be crimes)  Crimes of the Lower Class  “Rebellion”  Crimes of “Accommodation” Implications for Crime?

18  The policy implication of Marxist Criminology is clear.  Dismantle the capitalist structure in favor of a socialist structure. POLICY IMPLICATION?

19  An “underdog theory” with little basis in fact  Are “socialist societies” any different?  Other capitalist countries have low crime rates  Most crime is poor against poor—Marxists ignore the plight of the poor. Criticisms Radical/Marxist Criminology

20 ▪ The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison ▪ Key point = harmful acts of the rich are often ignored (unneccesary surgery, environmental harm, etc.)  White collar crime less serious and less likely to be enforced ▪ Pollution, Hazardous work conditions, Unsafe products, Insider trading, Embezzlement, Fraud ▪ Even w ealthy people who engage in street crime are less likely to be formally charged and better able to avoid sanctioning Jeffrey Reiman

21 ▪ Only some forms of capitalism encourage crime ▪ Market economy (compassionate capitalism)  Japan (Top down)  Scandinavian (Bottom up) ▪ Market society (high levels of inequality and poverty) ▪ Solution: softer, gentler capitalist society Elliot Currie—Slightly Less Radical

22 ▪ Mechanisms that link market societies to high rates of violence ▪ Destroys livelihoods ▪ Tendency toward extremes of inequality ▪ Weakens public support ▪ Erodes informal social support ▪ Promotes a culture of competition and consumption ▪ Deregulates the technology of violence ▪ Weakens alternative political values and institutions Elliot Currie

23  Feminist Criminology  Relationships between gender, crime, and the criminal justice system  Gender Ratio and Generalizability Gender and Crime

24 ▪ Emphasizes equal opportunity and importance of sex-role socializations ▪ Focus on “patriarchy”—male dominance exerted over females through financial and physical power ▪ Types ▪ Liberal feminism ▪ Socialist feminism ▪ Radical feminism Feminist Criminology

25  Good example of conflict theory in action  Feminists responsible for shaping the law and law enforcement  Marital Rape  Intimate Partner Violence  Feminists also largely responsible for the recent focus on gender/crime issues Feminist Criminology

26 ▪ Gender ratio (Gender Gap) ▪ Males account for the vast majority of delinquent and criminal offending ▪ UCR, NCVS, self-report ▪ Gender gap shrinking? Liberation hypothesis (Not supported by research)  WHY is gender ratio so large?  Can traditional theories explain? (Social bond, delinquent peers, etc.)  Masculinity & sex roles Gender-Crime

27  Generaliziblity issue  Can “Male” theories explain female offending?  Many theories blatantly sexist (See, Cohen)  Many theories simply ignore females  Mainstream theories do explain male and female offending similarly  Could we do better explaining female criminality?  Salience of sexual/physical abuse among delinquent girls Gender and Crime II

28 ▪ Street women ▪ Harmed-and-harming women ▪ Battered women ▪ Drug-connected women ▪ Other women Daly’s Typology of female offending

29 ▪ Research findings ▪ When gender effects are found, females are treated more leniently  Chivalry Hypothesis  Paternalism Hypothesis  Seriousness of offense differs in ways that most research doesn’t count  Sort-of-legal-factors (“familied”) Gender and the Criminal Justice System

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