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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 social conflict.docx

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SOCI 2450
Darryl Davies

Lecture 10 Social conflict theory - Analytical perspective on social organization which holds that conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life itself and can never fully be resolved - Conflict between individuals and groups and unequal power sharing, people use their position in society to enforce their view of the world and it will always be in conflict with other people views. Development of the criminal law: groups of people got together and make them - Emphasizes the power of conflict within society, based largely on inequalities between social classes Social conflict theory 1. Society is divided by conflict rather than consensus 2. Society is made up of groups and organizations based on political and economic power 3. Differences in social class and in particular those arrangements within society that maintain class differences are the focus for criminological study 4. Powerful groups make laws that reflect and protect their interests 5. Crime is an outcome of conflict between the haves and the have not • The fastest way to reform prison is to incarcerate rich people Radical Criminology - Radical criminology: Holds that the causes of crime are rooted in social conditions that empower the wealthy and the politically well organized, but disenfranchise those less fortunate - Based on Marxist principles about the inequality between classes, and is the fundamental contribution to the field of conflict theory. Radical Criminology (early) - Dahrendorf • Destructive change= lessening of social order • Constructive change= increases cohesiveness in society - Vold • Powerful groups make laws, and those laws express and protect their interests • The body of law that characterizes any society is a political statement, and crime is a political definition imposed largely upon those whose interests lie outside of that which the powerful, through the law, define as acceptable - Turk • The tendency of law to penalize persons whose behavior is more characteristic of the less powerful than of the more powerful and the extent to which some persons and groups can and do use legal processes and agencies to maintain and enhance their power visions vis-a-vis other persons and groups Radical Criminology (today) - Causes of crime are rooted in social conditions that empower the wealthy and the politically well organized, but disenfranchise the less fortunate - Chambliss • The more economically stratified a society becomes, the more it becomes necessary for the dominant groups in the society to enforce through coercion the norms of conduct which guarantee their supremacy • 4 propositions:  The conditions of one’s life affects one’s values and norms. Complex societies are composed of groups with widely different life conditions  Complex societies are therefore composed of highly disparate and conflicting sets of norms  The probability of a given group’s having its particular normative system embodied in law is not distributed equally but is closely related to the political and economic position of that group  The higher a group’s political or economic position, the greater the probability that its views will be reflected in laws • He also believed that middle and upper class offenders are more likely to get off because of a “very rational choice on the part of the legal system to pursue those violators that the community will reward them for pursuing and to ignore those violators who have the capability for causing trouble for the agencies” - Quinney • Proposed the social reality of crime 1. American society is based on an advanced capitalist economy 2. The state is organized to serve the interests of the dominant economic class, the capitalist ruling class. The laws that are passed reflect the interests of the powerful.  The party in power is more likely to get their way because they are the group within society with a majority. 3. The powerful groups within society create the laws (police are an agency of the powerful and they enforce the laws). 4. Crime control is accomplished through a variety of institutions and agencies (prisons, prosecutors, police forces) established and administered by a governmental elite, representing ruling class interests, to ensure that the status quo is preserved and maintained 5. Contradictions of advanced capitalism  Conflict between existence and essence. Existence requires that the subordinate classes remain suppressed by whatever means necessary, especially through the coercion and violence of the legal system 6. With the collapse of capital society a sociologist society arises (there will be a solution to the crime problem) • Crimes are an attempt by the socially disenfranchised to exist (an attempt for people to survive when they are oppressed) • Crimes committed by the lower classes are usually to ensure survival - Radical criminology today is divided into 2 schools • Structural Marxism  Structural Marxism: holds that the structural institutions of society influence the behavior of individuals and groups by virtue of the type of relationships created. The criminal law, for example, reflects class relationships and serves to reinforce those relationships  The law and the justice system work together to perpetuate existing system of power relationships  Even the rich are subject to certain laws designed to prevent them from engaging in forms of behavior that might undermine the system of which they are a part • Instrumental Marxism  Instrumental Marxism: holds that those in power intentionally create laws and social institutions that serve their own interests and that keep others from becoming powerful  The legal system serves not only to perpetuate the power relationships that exist within society, but also to keep control in the hands of those who are already powerful  The criminal justice system is biased against the poor from start to finish and that well-to-de members of society control the criminal justice system Critical Criminology - Critical criminology: perspective focused on challenging traditional understandings and on uncovering false beliefs about crime and criminal justice - Currie • Market societies- those in which the pursuit of personal gain becomes the dominant organizing principle of social and economic life- are especially likely to breed high levels of violent crime • 7 criminogenic mechanisms that operate in a market society to produce crime: 1. The progressive destruction of livelihood  Results from long-term absence of opportunities for stable and rewarding work 2. The growth of extremes of economic inequality and material deprivation  Causes children to spend their developmental years in poverty 3. The withdrawal of public services and support, especially for families and children  Results from the fact that it is a basic operating principle of market society to keep the public sector small 4. The erosion of informal and communal networks of mutual support, supervision, and care  Brought about by the high mobility of the workforce characteristic of market societies 5. The spread of a materialistic, neglectful, and ‘hard’culture  Applaud brutal forms of individualized competition 6. The unregulated marketing of the technology of violence  Includes the ready availability of guns, an emphasis on advancing technologies of destruction (such as the military), and mass-marketed violence on television and in the media 7. The weakening of social and political alternatives  Leaves people unable to cope effectively with the forces of the market society that undermine their communities and destroy valuable interpersonal relationships - Is a critique of the relationships of groups within society - Punitive thesis: • Mass incarceration • Post disciplinary penalty • Expressive logic of punishment Feminist Criminology - Feminist criminology: a radical criminological approach to the explanation of crime that sees the conflict and inequality present in society as based primarily on gender - Gender difference in crime could suggest that crime is not so normal after all - Feminist thought that distinguishes it from other types of social and political thought 1. Gender is not a natural fact, bu
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