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Societal Reaction Theories for Crime. Lecture 9. Looking ahead…. Overview and historical context of societal reaction theories Labelling Theory Conflict Theory Marxist conflict theory Other conflict themes. Overview of Societal Reaction Theory.

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looking ahead
Looking ahead…
  • Overview and historical context of societal reaction theories
  • Labelling Theory
  • Conflict Theory
    • Marxist conflict theory
    • Other conflict themes
overview of societal reaction theory
Overview of Societal Reaction Theory
  • Central focus of societal reaction theory is society’s reaction to particular behaviors
  • Two broad streams of societal reaction theory
    • Labeling Theory
    • Conflict Theory
historical context of societal reaction theory
Historical Context of Societal Reaction Theory
  • The recent emergence of labeling and modern conflict theory occurred in the tumult of the 1960’s and 1970’s
    • Viet Nam War
    • Civil Rights
    • Youth “Hippie” Rebellion
  • During this time many social institutions were being challenged, and assumptions questioned
broad mosaic of labeling theory
Broad Mosaic of Labeling Theory
  • Labeling theory is a composite of the work of many theorists, including:
    • Howard Becker
    • Edwin Schur
    • Edwin Lemert
    • Erving Goffman
central questions of labeling theory
Central Questions of Labeling Theory
  • Why are certain behaviors defined as delinquent?
  • Why are certain individuals labeled delinquent?
  • What is the effect of the label?
why are certain behaviors defined as delinquent
Why are certain behaviors defined as delinquent?
  • This question is largely addressed by Howard Becker
  • Assumes that behaviors are not intrinsically delinquent
  • Some behaviors are defined as delinquent
  • This is done through a process called moral entrepreneurship.

Howard Becker

why are certain individuals labeled delinquent
Why are certain individuals labeled delinquent?
  • William Chambliss addresses this question in The Saints and the Roughnecks
  • Chambliss suggests 3 crucial factors in the labeling of individuals:
    • Visibility of delinquency
    • Personal disposition of offender
    • Mobilization of community bias

William Chambliss

what is the effect of the label
What is the effect of the label?
  • Erving Goffman and Edwin Lemert, among others, have addressed this question
    • primary vs. secondary deviance(Lemert)
    • dramatization of evil(Tannenbaum)
    • stigma(Goffman)

Erving Goffman

Edwin Lemert

the marxist foundation
The Marxist Foundation
  • The Infrastructure and the Superstructure

Law

Family

Religion

Education

Science

Economic Infrastructure

marx and crime
Marx and Crime
  • Marx said very little about crime
    • The criminal was a member of a third marginal class Marx called the “lumpenproletariat”
  • Marx’s contribution tied to his analysis of law
    • Law is part of the “superstructure” of society
    • As such, it is controlled by the economic elite
    • Its content reflects ruling class interests
    • It is therefore the poor who are victimized by law
early marxist criminologists
Early Marxist Criminologists
  • Frederick Engels—The Condition of the Working Class in England
    • Crime is a result of demoralization of proletariat caused by alienation from means of production
  • Willem Bonger—Criminality and Economic Conditions
    • Capitalism encourages “egoism”, which in turn encourages crime.
    • Four types of crime encouraged by capitalism:
      • Economic Crimes
      • Sexual Crimes
      • Crimes of Vengeance
      • Political Crimes

Frederick Engels

Willem Bonger

themes of modern conflict theorists
Themes of Modern Conflict Theorists
  • Law and Justice
    • Modern conflict theorists see the law as an instrument of the ruling class to serve their interests
  • Demystification--exposing hidden power relationships in society
  • Social Class and Crime Reconsidered