Week 7: Social Conflict Theories - February 28th, 2012
Song for critical criminology
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYRGjMSUoU8 – Muse - Uprising
Legacy of Labelling Theory
Socieites’ defintion of a behaviour at a given time and place that determines
whether behaviour is acceptable
Reaction of society is a major element in determining criminality of a person
Labelling perpetuates crime rather than reduces it.
A Class Divided
Jane Elliot’s experiment on discrimination with 3rd graders.
Iowa school teacher the day after Martin Luther King Jr. murdered 1968
Policy Implications of Labelling
Social Bonds Theory - Hirschi
Travis Hirschi (1969)
Through successful socialization, a bond forms between individuals and
Four components of social bond:
Emphasis on individual
Emphasis on social structure
Emphasis on social process
Emphasis on social conflict - TODAY
Consensus vs. Conflict Theories
1. Society is composed of diverse social groups with different
definitions of right and wrong.
2. Conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life and different groups
compete for power, wealth etc.
3. Laws are created by the powerful to protect their own interests.
“RADICAL”, “CRITICAL”, “NEW”, “MARXIST CRIMINOLOGY” 1970’s – Ian
Taylor, Paul Walton & Jock Young
Drew on Marxist traditions in social and political thought as a way of
explaining crime in a system predicated on class inequalities.
Radical Criminology – power?
On whose behalf?
For whose benefit?
What is the legitimacy of that power?
Who is excluded from the exercise of power, by whom, and why?
State administers to capitalist interests.
Intensive policing of the underclass.
Classes made up structural inequalities
The class you were born into would be the class you would die in
Poor because not working hard enough, if embraced what was happening in
the market due to capitalism they could to reach the level of wealth
Targeting of working class as working class crime more visible.
Focuses attention on lower class crime
Where there is inequality there is resistance to inequality
Thought a new system modeled on social equality would be created
Causes of Crime:
Where you are located within the class will show how much criminal
behavior you will involve in and how society will treat your punishment
Crime is an outcome and reflection of basic class divisions =
1. activities of economic and political elites exempt from punishment
2. crimes of the working class criminalized
Talkin’ bout a revolution
Context for Critical Criminology
General rebellion against norms, values and activities of mainstream society
(anti-war, student militancy, women’s liberation, civil rights, environmental
No longer about the state
Blind to economic and racial inequality
Argue that affluent use money, status, power to ensure gov policies do not
threaten their position of advantage
Acts of powerless get defined as crime, acts of powerful are not considered
Rich get richer ,poor get prison
Youth rebellion -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs_5A55MOrY&feature=related – “The
Year That Shaped a Generation” - counter culture