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Critical Criminology

Critical Criminology

The branch of criminology that holds that the cause of crime can be linked to economic, social, and political disparity. Some groups in society, particularly the working class and ethnic minorities, are seen as the most likely to suffer oppressive social relations based on class conflict and racism and hence to be more prone to criminal behavior.

Critical Feminism

Approach that explains both victimization and criminality among women in terms of gender inequality, patriarchy, and the exploitation of women under capitalism; women are considered a commodity worth possessing, like land or money.

Death Squads

Covert military or paramilitary groups that carry out political assassinations

Demystify

To unmask the true purpose of law, justice, or other social institutions; instrumental theorists consider this essential.

Egalitarian Families

Families in which the husband and wife share similar positions of power at home and in the workplace. Sons and daughters have equal freedom. The delinquency of girls mirrors that of the boys.

Globalization

The process of creating transnational markets, politics, and legal systems and thus forming a global economy.

Instrumental Theory

The theory that criminal law and the justice system are capitalist instruments for controlling the lower class; a type of critical theory that contends that the poor may or may not commit more crime than the rich, but the poor are arrested and punished more often.

Left Realism

Led by John Lea and Jack Young, this approach sees crime as a function of relative deprivation under capitalism and favors pragmatic, community-based crime prevention. The contention is that the poor are doubly abused, first by the capitalist system and then by members of their own class.

Marginalization

Displacement of workers, pushing them outside the economic and social mainstream

Paternalistic Families

Families in which the father is the breadwinner and rule maker, and the mother has a menial job or is a homemaker only. Sons are granted greater freedom than daughters. Girls are socialized to fear legal sanctions more than boys; therefore, boys exhibit more delinquent behavior than girls.

Patriarchal

Male-dominated.

Peacemaking

Approach that considers punitive crime control strategies to be counterproductive and favors the use of humanistic conflict resolution to prevent and control crime; views the efforts of the state to punish and control crime as encouraging crime rather than discouraging it.

Power

The ability of persons and groups to control the behavior of others, to shape public opinion, and to define deviance.

Power Control Theory

The view that gender differences in crime are a function of economic power (class position, one versus two earner families) and parental control (paternalistic versus egalitarian families). The delinquency of girls mirrors that of boys in egalitarian families.

Preemptive Deterrence

Efforts to prevent crime through community organization and youth involvement

Restorative Justice

Using humanistic, non-punitive strategies to right wrongs and restore social harmony; these programs have been a part of peacekeeping in Asian, Native American and Native Canadian communities for centuries; also used extensively in the juvenile justice system.

Role Exit Behaviors

Strategies, such as running away or contemplating suicide, that are used by young girls unhappy with their status in their family

Sentencing Circles

A peacemaking technique in which offenders, victims, and other community members work together to formulate a sanction that addresses the needs of all; a ceremony used in Native American communities where groups of tribal elders, victims, and community members meet with offenders to determine the best resolution for offenders.

State (organized crime)

Acts committed by state or government officials while holding their positions as government representatives; describes the anti-social behaviors that arise from efforts to maintain governmental power or to uphold the race, class, and gender advantages of those who support the government.

Structural Theory

The theory that criminal law and the criminal justice system are means of defending and preserving the capitalist system

Supranational criminology

The study of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the supranational penal system

surplus value

The difference between what workers produce and what they are paid, which goes to business owners as profits; a key crime-producing effort of modern corporate capitalism.

According to conflict theorists, how does societal conflict promote crime?

By creating a social atmosphere in which the law is a mechanism for controlling have-not members of society

What are the basic concerns of critical criminologists?

1) The role that the government plays in creating a criminogenic environment.
2) The relationship between personal or group power and the shaping of criminal law
3) The prevalence of bias in justice system operations

During what decade did the social ferment birth critical criminology?

1960's

What publication by Taylor, Walton, and Young (1973) gave a powerful boost to the conflict view and created a tradition for critical criminologists to question the role that criminology plays in supporting the status quo and aiding the oppression of the poor and powerless?

The New Criminology

According to critical theorists, crime is a:

political concept designed to protect the power and position of the upper class

What concept inherent in globalization do critical theorists find problematic?

Surplus value

Critical theorists are skeptical of:

Globalization

State Violence

The crime that results when a government or political authority makes use of death squads to kill political opponents, dissenters, or other undesirables

"Ticking bomb" scenario

Used by some government experts to justify torture, a type of state crime.

What is the key difference between instrumental theorists and structural theorists?

Structural theorist focus on anyone who threatens the capitalist system.

What type of research methodology is a critical criminologist most likely to employ?

An examination of historical trends

Criticisms of Conflict Criminology

1) Critical theorists unfairly neglect the capitalist system's efforts to regulate itself.
2) The contribution of critical criminology is "hot air, but no real light."
3) Critical criminologists are too quick to blame capitalism for every human vice.

According to Messerschmidt's views in "Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Crime", what factor explains why females in society commit fewer crimes than males?

Double marginality

According to John Hagan's power control theory, what two factors account for female crime and delinquency?

Class position and family function

Restorative justice experts, including Gordon Bazemore, suggest that restorative justice should be organized around what principle?

Principle of balance

Challenge to Restorative Justice

Restorative justice may work in the short term while ignoring the long-term treatment needs.

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