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SOC 2700
Norman Dubeski

4. Discuss the Conflict and Marxist perspectives on crime. What role does work, class, power, and the economy have in determining criminal behaviour? Use examples from lectures, readings, and the film “The Spill” in your answer. Conflict Perspective on Crime  Place conflict of interest at the very center of human societies. Competition over money, status and power  Interests ultimately determine values  Argues that the organized state does not represent common interests but instead represents the interests of those with sufficient power to control its operation. As a result powerful people are legally freer to pursue self-interests while less powerful people who pursue self-interests are more likely to be defined as a criminal.  Thorsten Sellin “conduct norms”  Conduct Norms: cultural rules that require certain types of people to act in certain waiys in certain circumstances. Ex. In homogenous societies many of the conduct norms represent the consensus in society. But in complex societies there will be an overlap and contradiction between conduct norms of different cultural groups  George Vold “Social Process”  Social Process: view of society as a collection of groups help together in a dynamic equilibrium of opposing groups of interests and efforts. Groups in society are more or less continuously struggling to maintain or improve their place in an ongoing interaction and competition with other groups. A stable equilibrium of balanced forces is called social order. Therefore social order is not a consensus of the groups but a uneasy adjustment to other groups. Conflict is essential to social processes of functioning societies  Group conflict theory was strictly limited to situations where the individual crime comes from the collision of groups. And that the theory does not explain many kinds of impulsive and irrational criminal acts  Richard Quincy “The social reality of crime”. Argued that the legislative process of defining criminal laws and criminal justice process of enforcing criminal law occurs in a political context in which individuals and groups pursue their own self-interests. Ex the American government allowing and funding BP to continue drilling for oil.  “The Social Reality of Crime” is that powerful individuals and groups promote particular conceptions of crime on order to legi
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