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Lecture 8

SOCI 3810 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Governmentality

Course Code
SOCI 3810
Carmela Murdocca

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Critical Theories of Criminology
Three main recurrent themes in criminological theory:
-A concern with the behaviour of criminals
-A concern with the criminality of behaviour
-A concern with the criminality of the state
Marxist Criminology:
-Conflict and change are what characterize social organization
-Concentration of power and control in the hands of the owners of the means of production
-The cause of crime is found in the structure of unequal class relations in a society
-Marxist view encompasses both crimes of the powerful and crimes of the less powerful and
each have their own underlying rationale
-Legitimized power of the states are exercised
-Crime stems from unequal class divisions
-Crime is a rational response to the social conditions in which people live in
Prevention: Adress the basic problem of the concentration of power in society since crime is seen
to flourish inequality
Critical Criminology:
-Understands crime within its wider social and cultural context
-Examines structural and political economic dimensions that produce criminal behaviour
-Investigates relationship between crime and the prevailing mode of production
-Questions the role of power and conflict in shaping crime and criminal justice
-Engages in an analysis of the development of law in the context of colonialism and capitalism
-Takes an approach that tries to understand how individuals both influence and are influenced
by dominate social structures
Theories of Critical Race/Postcolonial Theories:
-Racism is a feature of North American society.
-History of colonialism is implicated in criminological knowledge and techniques of crime
-The law is not a neutral arbiter of social relations
-Intersectional approach
-The centrality of narrative and counter stories
-Commitment to social justice
-It is the social situation one finds themselves in that brings on crime
Governmentality and risk theories:
-Emerges from Foucault’s idea about power and discipline
-Relies on a “positive theory” of power
-The idea of discipline opened up the idea of governmentality
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