Theoretical Background

Theoretical Background - Theoretical Background The...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Theoretical Background The development of Radical Criminology focused around two basic ideas : 1. Firstly, the belief that (criminal) behaviour has a structural origin : That is, the idea that behaviour is rooted in the way in which societies are organised at the institutional level . In particular, Radical Criminologists such as Taylor, Walton and Young were concerned with the analysis of Capitalist social systems and the relationship between criminalized behaviour, the economic organisation of Capitalist society and inequalities of wealth, influence and power. 2. Secondly, Interactionist theories : In particular, the idea that people have an element of choice in relation to their behaviour - whether they choose to be deviant or non-deviant, for example. For Radical Criminology, the objective was to explain both the nature of the criminalization process in Capitalist society (the social structural aspect) and the specific reasons why people chose to deviate from social norms (the social action aspect). As with most forms of Marxism (or Structuralist sociology come to that), social action had to be explained within the framework of norms and values created at the structural level of any society. In this respect, Radical Criminology has two major dimensions: 1. Firstly , an objective dimension , whereby in order to understand why people are criminalized we have to understand the origin and purpose of the creation of laws ( legal norms ). This analysis of law creation involved an understanding of the way in which a ruling class was seen to: a. Create laws that served their basic interests. b. Exercise a dominating (or hegemonic ) ideological influence over all classes in society, such that laws which Radical Criminologists considered to be "ruling class laws" (because they were created to serve and protect the interests of this powerful class) came to be seen as existing for the benefit of all (or at least that section of the population that is law abiding). As an aside we can see in the above an implicit criticism of Functionalist analyses of crime and deviance, in that laws have the appearance of being in the interests of society as a whole. In reality (from a Radical Criminological point of view), laws really operate in the general interests of a ruling class (the most powerful economic class in Capitalist society).
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This idea demonstrates a methodological difference between Functionalism and Marxist Conflict theory, since Marxism attempts to identify and understand the underlying social processes upon which social reality is constructed. Thus, in Capitalist society legal norms have the appearance of fairness (they apply equally to everyone and so forth), but this appearance is the product of ideological distortions and manipulations (which produce a false consciousness amongst all other classes in society). A ruling class is able, through their ownership of the mass media for
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 7

Theoretical Background - Theoretical Background The...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online