Chapter 8
Social Conflict Theory:
Critical Criminology and Restorative Justice
Figure 8.1 The Branches of Social Conflict Theory
Marxist Thought
•
Productive Forces and Productive Relations
 Communist Manifesto focused attention on economic conditions
of a capitalist system
 Productive forces: Include technology, energy sources, and
material resources
 Productive relations: Exist among people producing goods and
services
 Bourgeoisie (capitalists)
 Proletariat (working labor)
 Lumpen proletariat (poor)
 Class denotes a position in relation to others
Figure 8.2 The The Marxist View of Class
Marxist Thought
•
Surplus Value
 Laboring class produce goods that exceed wages in value
 Excess value goes into the hands of capitalists
 Marx suggested workers would emerge into a socialist state and
own the means of production
Figure 8.3 Surplus Value
Marxist Thought
•
Marx on Crime
 Suggested a connection between crime and social inequality
 Friedrich Engels suggested the brutality of the capitalist system
turns workers into animal-like creatures
 Crime is a function of social demoralization
Developing a Conflict Based Theory of Crime
•
The Contribution of Willem Bonger
 Society is divided into have and have-nots
 Crimes are considered antisocial because they are threatening to
those who have power
 Bonger suggested the capitalist system is held together by force
rather than consensus
 Upper class will commit if:
• They sense an opportunity of make financial gain
• Their lack of moral sense enables them to violate social rules
 Crime and poverty are associated with unequal distribution of
wealth
Developing a Conflict Based Theory of Crime
•
The Contribution of Ralf Dahrendorf
 Society is organized into imperatively coordinated associations:
Those who possess authority for social domination and those
who lack authority and are dominated
• Every society is subject to change
• Every society displays social conflict
• Every element in society renders a contribution to its
disintegration and change
• Every society is based on coercion by some of its members
Developing a Conflict Based Theory of Crime
•
The Contribution of George Vold
 Adapted conflict theory to criminology
 Laws are created by politically oriented groups
 Laws will be created to hamper and curb the interests of some
opposition group
 Criminal acts are a consequence of forces struggling to control
society (conflict)
Social Conflict Theory
•
Conflict theory tries to explain crime within economic & social
contexts and to express connections between social class, crime,
and social control
 Relationship to crime began in the 1960s
 William Chambliss and Robert Seidman suggests the justice
system protects the rich and powerful
 Richard Quinney argued that crime is a function of power
relations and an inevitable result of social conflict.
 Crime is defined by those in power
 Power refers to the ability of persons and groups to determine
and control the behavior of others and to shape public opinion to
meet their personal interests
Social Conflict Theory
•
Social Conflict Based Research
 Compare crime rates of various class groupings
 Research suggests a relationship between economic conditions
and homicides (Pratt/Lowenkamp)
 Courts are more likely to dole out harsh punishment to powerless
and disenfranchised groups
 Unemployed racial minorities are considered “social dynamite”
CNN Clip - FTAA Protest
Critical Criminology
•
Origins of Critical Conflict Theory
 Influence of British sociologists in 1968 formed the National
Deviancy Conference (NDC)
 The NDC were critical of positivist criminology and the
conservative stance
 U.S. scholars were influenced by widespread social ferment of
the late 1960s and early 1970s
 In 1980s left realism emerged which influenced peacemaking
criminology
 Critical conflict criminologists are concerned with the recent
conservative agendas of cutting social programs and increased
military spending
Critical Criminology
•
Fundamentals of Critical Criminology
 Crime is a function of the capitalist mode of production
 The poor (proletariat) engage in street crimes, whereas the
wealthy (bourgeoisie) are involved in acts not defined as crimes
(racism, sexism, profiteering)
 The rich are insulated from street crimes
 The poor are controlled through incarceration, whereas the
middle class is diverted from caring by the upper classes creating
a public fear of the lower classes
Critical Criminology
•
Globalization
 Criminals are products of society and economic systems
 Critical criminologists are wary of globalization and capitalization
trends
 Criminologists question the altruism of multi-national corporations
• The growing global dominance and reach of the free-market
capitalist system disproportionately benefits the wealthy and
powerful
• The increasing vulnerability of indigenous people
• The growing influence and impact of international financial
institutions (World Bank)
• The non-democratic operation of international financial
institutions
Critical Criminology
•
Instrumental View
 Views criminal law and the criminal justice system as instruments
for controlling the poor as have-not members of society
 Capitalism serves the interests of the powerful and rich, and
enables them to impose their morality on society
 Marxists consider it essential of demystify (unmask) law and
justice
Critical Criminology
•
The Structural View
 Disagrees that law and capitalism are unidirectional
 Law is designed to keep the capitalist system operating efficiently
 Long prison sentences for insider trading is a warning to
capitalists that they must play by the rules
Critical Criminology
•
Research on Critical Criminology
 Marxists suggest that traditional research is designed to unmask
the weak and powerless
 Critical research tends to be historical and analytical, not
qualitative and empirical
 Research involves both macro- and micro-level issues
Critical Criminology
•
Crime, the Individual, and the State
 Crime and its control are a function of capitalism, and the justice
system is biased against the working class and favors upperclass interests
 Critical analysis of the criminal justice system is designed to
identify the hidden processes that control people’s lives
 Subject to analysis is the how the power relationships help
undermine any benefit the lower class receives from sentencing
reforms
Critical Criminology
•
Historical Analysis
 How the changes in law correspond to the development of the
capitalist society
 Another goal is to investigate the development of modern police
agencies
 Some research has focused on the relationship between convict
work and capitalism
Critical Criminology
•
Critique of Critical Criminology
 Some argue critical theory rehashes the old tradition of helping
the underdog
 Some suggest critical theory neglects the capitalist system to
regulate itself (antitrust regulations)
 Critical thinkers are accused of ignoring problems and conflicts in
socialist countries
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Left Realism
 Work of John Lea and Jock Young suggests the poor are doubly
abused by capitalists and by members of their own class
 Relative Deprivation equals discontent; discontent plus lack of
political solution equals crime
 Ian Taylor contends the world is currently in the midst of multiple
crisis (job creation, social inequality, social fear, political
incompetence and failure, gender conflict, and family and
parenting issues)
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Crime Protection
 Left realists argue crime victims in all classes need and deserve
protection
 Preemptive deterrence refers to efforts to prevent crime through
community organization and youth involvement
 Left realism has been criticized for legitimizing the existing power
structure
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Critical Feminist Theory
 Critical feminists view gender inequality as stemming from the
unequal power of men and women in a capitalist society
 Patriarchal (male dominated) systems devalue the work of
women
 The exploitation of women produces far more surplus value for
capitalists than it does for men
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Patriarchy and Crime
 Critical feminists link criminal behavior patterns to gender conflict
created by economic and social struggles
 Double marginality explains why women commit less crime than
men
 Crime is the vehicle for men to “do gender”
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Exploitation and Criminality
 Sexual victimization of females is a function of male socialization
 Exploitation triggers the onset of female delinquency such as
running away to avoid abuse
 Some critics charge feminist scholars have ignored the interests
of women of color and lesbians
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
How the Justice System Penalizes Women
 Juvenile systems view girls as being sexually precocious
 Meda Chesney-Lind suggests female delinquency is viewed as
being more serious than male delinquency
 Females are often sanctioned more harshly than males for
offense related to “inappropriateness”
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Power Control Theory
 John Hagen argues that crime and delinquency are a function of:
1) class position and 2) family functions
 Father assume the role of breadwinners, while mothers have
menial jobs and are expected to control the behavior of daughters
 Dissatisfied girls seek “role exit behaviors” (running away, or
suicide)
 In “egalitarian families” both the husband and wife share similar
positions of power
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Evaluating Power Control Theory
 Empirical analysis has been supportive of power control theory
 Some critics question its core assumption
 Replicated studies have not found that class and power interact
to produce delinquency
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Postmodern Theory
 Semiotics refers to the use of language elements as signs or
symbols beyond literal meaning
 Deconstructionists analyze communication and language in legal
codes to determine whether they contribute to institutionalized
racism or sexism
 Postmodernists contend value-laden language can promote
inequalities
Contemporary Forms of Social Conflict Theory
•
Peacemaking Criminology
 Main purpose of criminology is to promote a peaceful society
 Draws inspiration from religious and philosophical teachings
 Punishment encourages criminality rather than deterring it (Larry
Tifft and Dennis Sullivan)
 Try to find humanist solutions (mediation and conflict resolution)
to crime and other social problems
Public Policy Implications of Social Conflict Theory
•
Reintegrative Shaming
 John Braithwaite suggests shaming is a powerful tool of informal
social control
 Bestowing stigma can have a deterrent effect
 To prevent crime society must encourage reintegrative shaming
Public Policy Implications of Social Conflict Theory
•
The Concept of Restorative Justice
 Contends that society needs to hold offenders accountable to put
right their harms
• Crime is an offense against human relationships
• Victims and the community are central to justice processes
• The first priority is to restore the community
• The offender has a personal responsibility to victims and to
the community for crimes committed
• The offender will develop improved competency and
understanding as a result of the restorative experience
Public Policy Implications of Social Conflict Theory
•
The Process of Restoration
 The process begins by redefining crime in terms of conflict among
the offender, the victim, and affected constituencies
 Shared community outrage is communicated to the offender
Public Policy Implications of Social Conflict Theory
•
Developing Restoration
 The offender is asked to recognize and accept responsibility of
their criminal actions
 Commitment to material restitution and symbolic reparation
(apology)
 Determination of community support an assistance for both the
victim and offender
 The intended result is to repair injuries suffered by the victim and
the community while reintegrating the offender
Public Policy Implications of Social Conflict Theory
•
Restoration Programs
 Sentencing circles are a technique used to bring offenders,
victims, and other community members together
 Community: Implement dialogue to identify problems and develop
tactics for elimination
 Schools: Restoration for drug/alcohol abuse
 Police: Community policing programs
 Courts: Diversion programs
Public Policy Implications of Social Conflict Theory
•
The Challenge of Restorative Justice
 Advocates warn of the uneven exercise of state power
 What is considered “restorative” in one subculture may be
considered insulting or damaging in another
 Balancing the needs of offenders with those of the victims
Descargar

Document