April 2 2013
I. The Conflict Perspective
- Refuses the idea that criminal law is the embodiment of universal values
- Negate this idea that criminal law reflects such universal values
- Conflicts over norms and values
- Criminal law will only embody dominant morality, criminal law will be shaped by groups
that are powerful enough to define their own norms as universal
- Sellin, crime being a behaviour that is abnormal in the eyes of the law and not
necessarily in the eyes of the actors, we need to study how law is shape.
- Conflict perspective is broad, wants to have a big picture, wants to show the cultural and
instrumental dimension of law making
II. Marxist Criminologies
- The poor as a social problem
- Criminal law is a tool to maintain the conditions to ……….
- What is at stake is revolution, it’s not about changing criminal justice institutions, its
about revolutionalizing societies.
- Marx, maintain private interest; it is not to protect everyone, it is to protect the interest of
- Lumpenproletariat: “person in rags” – Marx referred to sex workers, hobos – social
class, class consciousness; they cannot be mobilized in the fight with the bourgeoisie.
Direct result of capitalism, is it a result of a life that is meaningless, result of alienation,
huge process of demoralization.
- Alienation of ‘homo faber’: Men in Marx’s language = people producing things who are
alienating from the act of producing.
Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 - Crime is an act of political resistance
- Prostitution, domestic violence – example = caused by brutal economic exploitation;
destruction of family by capitalism.
- Capitalism shaped social relations
- Simplistic or naïve
- Law is about protecting private property
- Protecting the bourgeoisie from criminalization
- Crimes of domination; according to Quinney, they are not typically defined as crime.
- Crimes of Accomodation: behaviour that are the reaction to the structural content of
capitalism. Predatory crimes; assault, robbery, taken as the expression of survival
needs. Also taken as acts that reproduce capitalism. Personal Crimes; Engles crimes of
demoralization like domestic violence. These are behaviours that would be the result fo
brutalization experienced by the working class. Crimes of resistance; conscience act of
resistance to capitalism; like sabotage, graffiti, riots
- Reaction to the limitation of instrumental Marxism.
- Mediator of class conflict
- Legitimating exploitation
- Law will legitimate capitalism by providing the appearance of equality before the law
The New Criminology
- Tried to bring together symbolic interactionism with Marxism.
- Suggested that we need a full theory of deviance that starts from the wider context of the
deviant act – we need a theory of primary deviance and a Marxism framework will
- What are the wider elements; how is it that criminalization is attached to the
reinforcement of political economic power?
- Limitations of Marxism: in some capitalist nations, you have a very low crime
rate/incarceration rate – Japan as an example. Absence of gender and race in most
Marxist writing, being idealist Reiman
- Crime control as an industry; Pain market, economic activities surrounding penal
- By removing people from society and putting them in prison, you’re creating jobs, pain
market also involves the exploitation of prisoners; in Canada this is run by CORCAN –
huge amount of profit from the work of prisoners which is seen as rehabilitation.
- Prison Industrial Complex
III. Left Realism
- Direct response to Right Realism, instead of individual responsibility,