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Chapter 9

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SOC 1500
Andrew Hathaway

Chapter 9 Review: Conflict theory: - To explain crime within economic and social contexts including seeing o View Crime as the outcome of class struggle o Reject the notion that law is designed to maintain a tranquil and fair society o The connections among class, crime, and control o How society creates criminogenic environments o How there is bias in the justice system o The relationship btwn capitalism and crime o Conflict theory:  Sees criminal behaviour as caused by economic inequality, and criminal law defined by those in power Marxist Thought: - Karl Marx o Early career as a journalist o Focussed on economic conditions under capitalism o Society is product of economic production  Productive forces  Technology, energy, resources  Productive relations  People producing the goods  Owner-worker, worker-worker o Class is a power relationship  Denotes position in relation to others Karl Marx (1818-1883) - Believed that societies change through slow evolution or sudden violence because of contradictions or conflicts present in a society - If social conflicts aren’t resolved they tend to destabilize society, leading to social change - “there must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases in wealth without diminishing its misery, and increases in crime even more than its numbers” Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) - Portrayed crime as a function of social demoralization o A collapse of people’s humanity reflecting a decline in society - The brutality of the capitalist system turns workers into animal-like creatures o Without a will of their own Developing a social conflict theory of crime - Willem bonger: o Crime causation was published in 1916 o Believed that crime was social lying within the boundaries of normal human behaviour o Society composed of ruling and inferior classes  Believed that it was divided unequally o Laws reflect interests of the dominant class o Capitalism encourages egoism and criminality by equating status with property o Punishment applies more to crimes of the poor o Economic inequality intensifies personal problems and crime o Upper class individuals will commit crime if:  They have an opportunity to gain an illegal advatage  Their lack of moral sense enables them to violate social rules - Ralf Dahrendorf: o Every society is based on the coercion of some of its members by others o Composed of two groups:  Those who possess authority and use it for social domination  Those who lack authority and are dominated o His model of conflict serves as a pillar of modern conflice criminology - George Vold: o Actually adapted the social conflict theory o “the whole political process of law-making, law-breaking and law enforcement becomes a direct reflection of deep-seated and fundamental conflicts btwn interest groups and their more general struggles for the control of the police power of the state” o Theorized that criminal acts are seen as a consequence of forces struggling to control society Modern Conflict theory: - Became prominent during the 1960s - Influenced by: o Self-report studies of delinquency  Controlling the lower-class o Labelling theories  Rejected the notion that crime is morally wrong and studied the interaction among crime o Research on inequality (racism, sexism) and injustice o Social, political upheavals of the 60s and 70s  Political demonstrations against the Vietnam War - Social reality of crime: o Quinney’s conflict theory about how power, society and criminality are interrelated Conflict Criminology: - Chambliss and Seidman o Law, Order and Power (1971)  The justice system protects rich and powerful by determining how:  Crimes are defined  Laws are enforced  Law-breakers punished Power Relations: - The unequal distribution of power produces conflict - Conflict is rooted in the competition for power o Power provides mean to influence public opinion for private gain  Shape public opinion to meet their personal interests o Those in power use law to criminalize those without power  Ex. Minority groups  Sentencing natives The social reality of crime: - Richard quinney (1970) o Crime is politically defined o Defined based on interests of powerful o The laws are enforced by the powerful o Table 9.1 o Behaviour is structured by class (power) o Stereotypes of crime are diffused by the media o Crime becomes a social reality o Criminal law represents the interests of those who hold power in society o Quinney wrote that criminal definitions are based on:  Changing social conditions  Emerging interests  Increasing demands the political, economic, and religious interests be protected  Changing conceptions of public interest Norm Resistance: - Austin Turk, Criminality and Legal order (1969) o Social conflict in inevitable when authorities in society are in conflict with those who are controlled by, but have little ability to control, the law o Authority relationships produces conflict because groups have own norms and behaviours o This results in norm resistance  Interactions btwn subjects and authorities - Norm resistance: o Refers to how interaction btwn authorities and subjects eventually produces open conflict btwn the two groups - Open conflict will occur if o Both groups are strongly committed to opposing cultural norms o There is group support for resistant to authority or change o Registers are not sophisticated about strengths and weaknesses of authorities Research on Conflict Theory: - Crimes of burglary and larceny are a means of social and economic survival - Area of interest o Comparison of fluctuations in rates of poverty and crime o Examination of cases in the criminal justice system for bias by class and race o Development of laws supporting powerful - Criticisms o Lack of empirical evidence o Crime in socialist countries o Both white and black offenders are more likely to receive stricter sentences in criminal courts if their personal characteristics give them an appearance of them being in a dangerous class o Natives are more likely to be denied bail, and subjected to pretrial detention and are guilty without knowing the consequences o Take action to a victim who is wealthy, white and male, but not-interested when it’s a female, non-white victim Research and analysis: - Support: o Crime rates and indicators of poverty o Police actions in low income areas o Racism in the justice system - Criticism: o Crime is a result of greed, not need o Little evidence of bias in sentencing o Crime is not lowered by socialism - Famous canadian court cases Marxist Criminolgy: Development of Radical criminology - Marxism is a critique of capitalism o Capitalism produces haves and have-nots, each engaging in a particular branch of criminality. - Those in political power also control the definition of crime - Britain, 1960s and 70s o The radical theory o Taylor, walton and young,The New criminology o Critique of conventional approaches to crime - University of California Scholars o Influenced by rights movements - 1980s and 90s o Left-realism, feminist and peacemaking criminologies Fundamentals of Marxist criminology: - Crime and criminal justice must be viewed in a historical, social and economic context - Criminals are not social misfits but rather a product of the society - Basic premise o Scholarship is not value-free, should have a political and ideological basis - Crime is a product of society (3 implications) o Each society will produce its own types and amounts of crime o Each society will have its own distinctive ways of dealing with criminal behaviour o Each society gets the type and amounts of crime than it deserves - Criminality is a function of the social and economic organization of society - To control crime and reduce criminality is to end the social conditions that promote crime Economic Structure and Surplus Value: - Surplus Value (fig 9.3) o The value of an item in excess of what was paid for producing it  Materials, overhead, and labour o Workers are exploited to produce higher profits (more surplus value) for owners, become marginalized and alienated  Downsizing, lowered wages, automation, contracting out - Marginalization results in weakened bond to society and increased crime o When people are pushed outside the economic mainstream - Surplus Value: o Labouring classes produce wealth that far exceeds their wages and goes to the capitalist class as profits - As surplus values increase, more people are displaced from productive relationships Intrumental Marxism: - View the criminal law and criminal justice system solely as an instrument for controlling the poor - Defines the state, the law, and the ruling class as a single entity - Government and law o Are tools of the capitalist o Run for the benefit of the rich o Key term: Privilege  Refers to the wealth and prestige enjoyed by some, which puts them in conflict with those less well off in society  Barry krisberg linked crime to privilege  Relates to the effective use of violence and coercion - The poor o May be driven to crime o Are more often the targets of enforcement o A natural frustration among the society - Conventional Scholarship o Reinforces stereotypes of the poor and crime - Criminology o Should ensure that people understand what is really going on
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