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Conflict and radical theory

Conflict and radical theory

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Conflict and radical theory

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  1. Conflict and radical theory Explaining crime

  2. Culture deviance theory • People in poverty cope by creating an independent subculture with its own set of rules and values • Middle class: hard work, delayed gratification, formal education, caution • Lower class (Miller) argued that there are different rules on the street

  3. Miller (cont) • Those who follow the street rules of lower class life find themselves in conflict with the dominant middle class culture • Focal concerns in street culture (not a rebellion--evolved to deal with conditions in slums) Miller identified six such concerns

  4. Focal concerns • 1. Trouble: involvement in fighting, drinking, etc. • 2. Toughness: strength, fighting ability, athletic skill • 3. Smartness: being street-wise, able to outcon others • 4. Excitement--search for fun to enliven a drab life--gambling, fighting, drinking

  5. Focal concerns • 5. Fate: what happens is fate, luck • 6. Autonomy: personal freedom, resistance against controlled environments, such as schools, CJS, etc. • These concerns put people at odds with those of the larger culture, and make them more likely to get into trouble

  6. Conflict theory • Crime is a function of conflict • The more conflict in a society, the more crime • Societies with little conflict, little crime • Sellin and culture conflict theory • Primary culture conflict: two cultures come into conflict. Less dominant culture will have the higher crime rate

  7. Culture conflict • Examples can be seen worldwide • Secondary culture conflict: a subculture within a society is at odds with the dominant culture • According to conflict theorists, conflict might be over money and other material goods, power, or how a particular issue is decided

  8. Conflict (cont) • Societies may have a variety of groups, all competing for different goals and prizes • These groups are dynamic, and change • Sometimes groups might come together over a particular issue • Even a powerless group might obtain power by banding together

  9. Conflict (cont) • Generally, there are likely to be some groups that consistently have more power than others • They determine the laws, and carry them out; different groups may be treated differently

  10. Radical and Marxian theory • Marx • Dialectic: thesis, antithesis, synthesis • Change due to conflict of competing economic systems • History is a succession of economic arrangements, as the weak struggle against exploitation by the powerful • Succession of ever-improving systems

  11. Marx (continued) • Progress is attained by the rise and fall of economic systems • Major epochs in history: • 1. ancient slave • 2. feudalism • 3. capitalism • 4. socialism • 5. communism

  12. Marx (cont) • All economic orders have been characterized by the class struggle • Class is the great divider • The ruling class owns everything and forces workers into exploitation • Capitalism overthrew feudalism, provided goods to more people, and instituted constitutional government

  13. Marx (cont) • However, the workers are still exploited, paid a fraction of their worth • 19th century working conditions, child labor • Marx believed that the workers would rise up, take over the means of production. Capitalism will be replaced by socialism, and then by communism

  14. Marx (cont) • When the means of production are no longer owned by individuals, the class struggle will cease. • The state will wither away. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” • Marx thought that crime was a function of the economic system--capitalism

  15. Marx continued • Modern capitalist societies involved a perpetual class struggle • Ruling class determines what is a crime, based on their own self-interests, and create the CJS to support it. • They create social conditions which create criminals out of the working class

  16. Marx (cont) • When people are freed from the class struggle, people will become cooperative, and the result will be a crime-free society • People are inherently good, there will be little or no crime in a communist society

  17. Modern radical theorists (Quinney) • Marx’s predictions did not all turn out as expected • Revolutions occurred in feudalistic societies such as Russia and China, rather than Germany and Great Britain. The revolutions did not take place in western Europe or the U.S. • Radical theorists attempted to explain

  18. Radical • American society is based on an advanced capitalist economy • Very large middle class involved in service occupation • a shrinking manufacturing and agricultural base • a small group of private owners

  19. Radical • These changes, particularly the increasing size of the middle class, helped to prevent revolution • The state is still organized to serve the interests of the ruling class, and the CJS represents ruling class interests in preserving domestic order

  20. Radical (cont) • Advanced capitalism requires that the lower classes remain oppressed by whatever means necessary, especially through the coercion and violence of the legal system • Capitalism will collapse--the workers are still oppressed. Furthermore, the middle class becomes more sophisticated

  21. Radical (continued) • Only when capitalism is replaced by socialism, will there be a solution to the crime problem • Criminologists are merely servants to capitalism, reinforce its values • Criminologists should develop a political movement to promote revolution

  22. Radical--comments • Methodological rigor is lacking. It is the case, however, that they have pointed out that a very small number of people are disproportionately wealthy • Socialistic countries have crime problems • “Nature of man” issue

  23. Economy and crime • Economics: study of production, distribution, exchange and consumption of goods • Occupies a major portion of human activities • Economy and crime

  24. Economy: Methodological Problems • Two types of studies • Cross-sectional--different economies, same time • Longitudinal--one economy over time • Problems • 1. Data are not always accurate (UCR, economic indices--unemployment)

  25. Methological (cont) • 2. Correlational studies: economy might alter crime rate, but also vice versa, or the economy and crime may be affected by other factors. Cannot do an experiment • 3. Time lag--how long does it take an economic event to affect crime? • 4. Poverty is subjective

  26. Hypotheses about economy • 1. Declining economy (poverty, need) hypothesis: as the economy gets worse, the crime rate will increase • Lack of legimate job opportunities drives people to crime (strain) • Capitalism encourages greed, and the CJS criminalizes the greed of the poor (Marxist/radical)

  27. Hypotheses (cont) • 2. As the economy gets better, the crime rate will increase • When people are more affluent, there is more worth stealing, more temptations (i.e., auto theft) • With affluence, there are more criminal opportunities (drugs, gambling, etc.)

  28. Hypotheses (cont) • 3. Relative deprivation: Perceived economic inequality affects crime rate. People perceive inequality, feel unfairly treated, resentment and frustration, aggression and crime (envy hypothesis) • Outgrowth of reference group (or social comparison) theory. Satisfaction depends on who one compares onself with--effects of television

  29. Hypotheses (cont) • 4. Common cause hypothesis: Unemployment and crime are caused by common factors • Impulsivity, low verbal intelligence, sensation-seeking, dropping out (drop-outs two times as likely to be unemployed)

  30. Hypotheses (cont) • 5. Crime may cause unemployment: if crime pays, people may become unemployed • 6. No relationship

  31. Research on need hypothesis • TARP project: provided money to parolees • no effect on recidivism of young males • Less recidivism among older males and those with families • Manpower project: added training. Again, effective with older males, and with females

  32. Income inequality • GINI Index • Measure of Income disparity • Ranges from 0 to 1 • 0 would indicate that everyone had the same amount • Lower coefficient indicates a higher level of economic equality

  33. GINI • Denmark: 24.7, Japan 24.9 • Russia 31, Canada 33, UK and Italy • 36 • U.S. ranks 92nd out of 124 nations, with 46.6, more income inequality • All of the nations higher than this are 3rd world countries

  34. Income inequality • Highest are Sierra Leone, Botswana, Lesotho (around 63), Namibia the highest with 70.7 • GINI index highly correlated with homicide rates—higher GINI index, higher homicide rates