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Chapter 5

CRIM 210 Chapter 6: Crim 210 – Chapter 6 Notes David Macalister


Department
Criminology
Course Code
CRIM 210
Professor
David Mac Alister
Chapter
5

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Crim 210 Chapter 6
Introduction
Labeling theory moved thinking away from a positivistic approach by asking
questions about crime rather tan about the person
Significant impact on social policy and our responses to criminal and deviant
behaviour
Critical perspective on crime refers to the group of theories that begins
with the assumption that structures of power and oppression are the source
of crime
o Power relations and social controls
o Examples race, class, gender and to some extent age structures in
society
Labelling theory
Play and Delinquency
Children engage in delinquent behaviour without knowing that others view it
as delinquent or bad
Best adult response to delinquent behaviour is to do nothing
Secondary Deviance
Two types of deviance:
1. Primary initial act
o Anyone is potentially a primary deviant if he or she does things
that would likely be considered deviant if they were known about
by others
2. Secondary all of the behaviours that a person develops as a result of
societal responses to his or her primary deviance
Societal Response
Acts are not deviant until they are so defined
Process begins with attaching a label to a person in response to his or her
behaviour
Once attached, the label is generalized to attach to everything that the person
does
Labelling theory influenced social policy
Decarceration policies were implemented across North America
o Decarceration the practice of moving individuals from institutional
settings into community facilities and programs
Critical Criminology and Conflict Theory
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Focuses on inequality and oppression as the sources of criminal activity and
issues in the criminal justice system
Asks questions about social justice and injustice
Conflict theory focused on questions concerning the creation and application
of crime and deviance rules
Emphasis on law rather than on labels
Conflict is the natural state of affairs in society and that order is possible only
because one group has the power to impose its view, interests, values, or
culture on another
Social order refers to assumptions about society as being free of disorder
Power is an important component in society and one that must be
considered in any attempt to explain criminal or delinquent behaviour
o Power the ability of a person or group to force others to do what
they wish
Liberal Conflict Theory
Because each culture has its own set of conduct norms, heterogeneous
societies, which have more than one culture, will have more group conflict
than homogeneous or single-culture societies
The dominant cultural group in a heterogeneous community will be the
group with the most power and resources
When the normative behaviour of one group violates the normative
behaviour of a group that has the power and resources to codify its conduct
norms into law, the result is criminalization of the weaker group
o Criminalization the process whereby a person or group comes to
be officially and/or publicly known as criminal
Radical Conflict Theory
Capitalism is the root cause of crime
Capitalist society is composed of two major classes:
1. The bourgeoisie the class who control the means of production
2. The proletariat the class who sell their labour to the
bourgeoisie
Conflict is inherent between the two major classes
The criminal justice system is one mean used by the bourgeoisie to control
the proletariat
Young people are at greater risk of being involved in criminal activities
because the age structure of capitalist society forced them into economic
dependency
Delinquency is created by a drive for the profit on which capitalism depends
Critical criminology focuses on the structures and relations of power and
dominance in society
o Does not assume either free will or determinism, but a combination of
both
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Opportunity Theory
Why did a particular criminal event happen?
o Criminal event an event involving the convergence of a motivated
offender, a suitable target or targets, and the absence of controls
Routine Activity Theory
In routine activity theory, crime is more than a behaviour that violates the
law: It is an event involving the convergence of a motivated offender, a
suitable target or targets, and the absence of controls
The more people who have cars that allow them to travel, have jobs that
require them to travel, and have money to spend on activities outside the
home, the more opportunities they have for criminal activity and the more
vulnerable they are as targets of criminal activity
Three components required for a criminal event:
1. Motivated offenders
2. Suitable targets
3. Absence of a capable guardian
Rational Choice Theory
Offenders rationally assess all information about the potential crime and
make a rational choice based on an assessment of consequences
Criminal involvement engage in crime, continue or desist
Criminal event decisions are tied specifically to particular situations
and/or circumstances
Integrative Theory
Integration of existing theories
Social-Learning Theory
Differential Association Reinforcement Theory
Differential association one’s exposure to behaviour and norms for
learning
Differential reinforcement actual commission of a crime depends on
actual and anticipated rewards and punishments
A person’s voluntary actions, including criminal activity, are conditioned or
shaped by rewards and punishments
Modification of differential association and reinforcement theory = social-
learning theory
o Social-learning theory attempts to explain crime and delinquency
through notions of imitation and modeling
Social Control And Social Learning
Self-Derogation Theory
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