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CRM1300: Critical Theories; Social Control Theories, Marxism and Feminism in Criminology

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University of Ottawa
Michael Kempa

Critical Theories: Social Control Theories, Marxism, and Feminism in Criminology 10/8/2013 1:19:00 PM Rightist Conflict Theories: Social Control Theory - distinguish between econ left and right & soc left and right  NDP: left  Liberal: middle  Conservative: right - people are rational: there is nothing unusual about people who deviate from the norm or who commit crime  why don’t we ALL do it?  What separates criminals from non-criminals - Economic left  more state action/intervention  market will produce unjust soc outcomes if left to itself and will require gov. to redistribute fairly - Economic right  small C econ conservative  unleashing power of the free market to achieve social aims  when people don’t understand the things they’re buying and selling, the gov should get involved - Political left  laissez-faire social egalitarianism  more tolerant of other diversities - Political right  traditional values  “the nuclear family” George W. Bush o only one stream o many progressive cons. Who believe in free market & are tolerant like the left - don’t overlap soc progressiveness exclusively with left or right of political spectrum - people do not commit crime because they do not want to jeopardize their bonds to conventional society  this separates criminals and non-criminals  established strong bonds = conformity to soc rules  all about hypothesized value placed on social bonds - Durkheim, Hirschi: Social Bonds  macro concept of social anomy - how individuals value or have lost the importance of bonds over time  but there’s something happening at a collective level o  THIS IS A MACRO THEORY o individuals are not being properly socialized  external structural forces are the cause  against our own will  ultimately leads to criminal behaviour Social Disorganization - social control theory follows Durkheim more than Merton  soc fails to communicate norms, guidance and controls strongly enough o less on the idea that soc unfairly distributes opportunity o soc has no common standards  rather that soc structurally fails to communicate deeply existing standards, norms, and the merits of opportunities available - ecological fallacy  talking in circles - Thrasher, Shaw, McKay: ecological studies of the city (Chicago)  inner city disorganization and gangs o they need to belong to SOMETHING  proves social disorganisation theory  take a map of the city and see where biggest crime rates are o define variables that may cause this  most confusion or lack of consensus as to what common values are have the highest correlation with criminal activity o unemployed o children born out of wedlock - evolution of soc, erosion of common values  produces crime Hirschi’s Bonds - attachment: affective (emotional ties to others)  emotional rather than instrumental level  fewer emotional attachments today but more instrumental attachments  very valuable for accounting for crime rates  few emotional attachment = bigger crime rate - commitment: stake in the pursuit of conventional goals  high collective buy-in to the goals of life o married o children o job o retirement - involvement: being busy with conventional activities - belief: in conventional values, morality and the legitimacy of law  more important to be attached to a group of people who share a similar belief than to actually believe  religion as experiential value process Conventional Old Power-guard critiquing society today  Soc isn’t the problem but that it differs from what it used to be  Conflict theory because they’re saying we must replace this radicalism and go back to what we used to have o Use social policy to achieve this both positively and negatively  Would be against decriminalizing gay-marriage o Eroding what marriage is supposed to be and children being raised by two mothers/fathers Female Criminality - traditionally composed less of the crime rate  increasing recently - crimes of the powerful  those with a strong stake in the broader social order? o Not always the case! Conrad Black example - as women conform to acceptable behaviour more than men, should these theories not have focused greater degrees of attention upon the experience of women? Policy Implications - monitor - detect - punish - reward - be relevant/meaningful to the lives of people governed  more active social policy  building the notion of the nation  images around which people can rally * not about political or economical conservatism, it’s about SOCIAL conservatism Leftist Conflict Theories  What we’ve got is not radical enough  Conflict theories vary according to their a
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