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SOC*1500 - Week 8 Notes .docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 1500
Mavis Morton

SOC*1500 October 25, 2011 Lecture Notes Week 8 – Social Conflict Song of the Day – Uprising by Muse Sociological Theories: Emphasis on Social Conflict (Critical perspectives) - Marxist theory – foundation for the other critical perspectives - Critical criminology - Feminist theory - Left-realist Consensus vs. Conflict Theories - Conflict o Society is composed of diverse social groups with different definitions of right and wrong o Conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life and different groups compete for power, wealth etc o Law is the tool of power, powerful groups make laws and those laws express and protect their interests Conflict/Critical Theories - Power relations in society and relations between social, political and economic power & definition of deviant/criminal behaviour - Focus of criminology should be directed not only on rule breakers but ruler makers Marxist Criminology - New Criminology launched in 1970’s: radical/critical criminology – Ian Taylor - Drew on Marxist traditions in social and political thought as a way of explaining the crime in a system predicted on class inequalities Marx - Witnessed the birth of the industrial revolution = Emergence of new forms of exploitation and oppression through the accumulation of capital by the few at the expense of the many - Where there is inequality, there will be resistance to inequality Causes of Crime - Crime is an outcome and reflection of basic class divisions = o Activities of economic and political elites exempt from punishment o Crimes of the working class criminalized  In the 1960’s the influence of Marx extended to a critique of the consensus model.Marxist Theory - State administrators to capitalist interests - Intensive policing of the underclass which legitimates the maintenance of a system of social control - Targeting of working class as a whole as working class crime more visible and directed against individuals - How social problems like crime are constructed all relate according to critical theorists, all relate to the class position you are in. it will influence the kind of criminal activity you engage in and the way the criminal justice system will respond to you. Critical Criminology - Critique of many of the dominant social institutions - General rebellion against norms, values and activities of mainstream society (anti-war, student militancy, women’s liberation, civil rights, environmental movement etc.) Marxist theory and Youth Rebellion - Working class youth established youth subcultures - Youth Rebellion – social protests about social inequalities e.g. anti- war/peace, civil rights, environmental movements Justice with order or? - Justice = “A society based on a fair and equitable distribution of power, weath, prestige and privilege” (Hartnagale 2004:3
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