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Conflict Theories Of Deviance. Conflict theories reject the idea that there is a consensus over a common core of norms and values and argue that those involved in crime often have antagonistic values. Conflict Theories Of Deviance. Marxist Approaches

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conflict theories of deviance
Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Conflict theories reject the idea that there is a consensus over a common core of norms and values and argue that those involved in crime often have antagonistic values.

conflict theories of deviance2
Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Marxist Approaches

Marx actually made few direct references to deviance in his work but his theories have been applied by a number of people.

Marxist approaches have been through 3 main stages

  • Traditional
  • Neo-Marxist and ‘New’ Criminology
  • ‘New’ Left Realism
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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Marxism and Business Crime

  • Corporate Crime – Business people who engage in fraud against companies they work for.
  • White Collar Crime – generic term ranging from fiddling expenses to large scale financial swindles.
  • Organized Crime- e.g. Mafia style crimes
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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Traditional Marxism and Working Class Crime

WC crimes are mainly theft of property

Marxists see this as ‘understandable’ - ‘Robin Hood’ view

Crime can be seen as ‘proletarian revenge’

- hitting back at the exploitative society

Also as a result of ‘alienation’

- where the worker is ‘alienated from himself’

this may lead to drink/drugs related crime

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Criticisms Of Traditional Marxist Approaches

  • Seen as too deterministic

- what about the choices individuals make?

  • Over simplified explanations

- if capitalism is to blame why hasn’t communism stamped out crime

  • 1950’s - no official crime figures in USSR
  • 1980 - Gorbachev admitted crime was a huge problem
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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Neo- Marxist Approaches

The publication of ‘The New Criminology’ by Taylor, Walton and Young 1973 marked a turning point – they began to combine

Marxist theory with Interactionist approaches (particularly Labelling Theory) to offer a more ‘holistic’ approach which recognised individual choices and actions, societal responses and structural constraints

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Taylor et al 1973 – Key Issues Of Crime

1. The Wider Origins Of The Deviant Act

Structural level explanations of traditional Marxism

Unequal and exploitative nature of capitalism

2. The Immediate Origins Of The Deviant Act

Why does the person do the act?

For gain, fun, revenge ???etc.

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

3. The Act Itself

Why that particular act - burglary, bank robbery etc?

4. The Immediate Origins Of Societal Reaction

Why the different responses to deviant acts?

Who commits the act?

Compare responses to Brady and Hindley

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

5. The Wider Origins Of Reactions To Deviance

Wider background to responses -

Law creation and mass media

6. The Outcome Of Societal Reaction On Further Action

Labelling theory is used here to show how those labelled respond to the label!

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

7. The Nature Of The Deviance Process As A Whole

This combines the above 6 factors and is seen as a ‘holistic’ approach

This is seen as ,ore complex and far reaching than the narrow Marxist approaches

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Stuart Hall 1979 – Policing The Crisis

Used The New Criminology to help explain mugging in the 1970’s

The 1970’s were a time of unrest - strikes, riots etc

The media seized on this area as crime spiralling out of control

Moral panics of old ladies being battered

Thinly disguised refernces to ‘black culprits’

More calls for tougher policing - ‘stop & search’ was born

Many black communities were alienated

Hall says that violent crime had not increased in real terms

Media had helped the govt turn attention away from the economic problems of the day

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance
  • Jock Young had been a co-author of the New Criminology but began to question some of the Marxist influences of this work.
  • In particular, he was critical of what he saw as a ‘Robin Hood’ philosophy of robbing the rich to give to the poor and the tendency to see the criminal as a victim of a deprived social position.
  • Young criticised such approaches and labelled them ‘left idealist’ for underplaying crime and the effects on victims. His new approach he called ‘left realism’
conflict theories of deviance13
Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Left Realism and Relative Deprivation

Our consumer society continually bombards us with messages of ‘must have’

Those who can’t afford feel left out and ‘alienated’

Some turn to crime as a result

But the most vulnerable in society become the victims

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance
  • Youg called his approach ‘left realism’ because he accepts that the capitalist system does cause crime, but is not solely to blame. Realism says basically ‘lets get real’ about crime and sees 4 main interacting factors as being responsible for the increasing crime rate.
  • The Police and agencies of social control.
  • The Public
  • The Offender
  • The Victim
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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Administrative or Managerial Criminology

Young sees Home office inspired measures as weak

i.e. More surveillance cameras

Better security for homes and cars

Tighter gun laws post-Dunblane

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Official Statistics and Realist Criminology

  • Realists on the left and right engage in a debate about the official figures of crime. Neo Marxists saw crime figures as a reflection of the inequitable attention of the law and police on such groups as the working class and ethnic minorities.
  • Interpretivists raise questions about the way in which stats are socially constructed through organisations such as the courts and police.
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Conflict Theories Of Deviance
  • While appreciating the problem of compiling criminal statistics, left realists do see increasing crime as a real threat to social order. Such things as escalating violence and the use of weapons are more than just moral panics whipped up by the media.
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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Criticisms Of Left Realism

Much of the criticism cones from Neo-Marxists. Scraton 1991 accepts that the issue of victims feeling more vulnerable is a concern but structural determinants in a class based capitalist society are still very important

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Conflict Theories Of Deviance

Scraton 1991

Defends the Neo-Marxist position

He says that trying to deal with crime in the way suggested by Young and others will end in tears.

- it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

i.e the root cause - capitalism - has not been addressed

Young says that Scraton lives in an unreal ‘utopia’

right realism
Right Realism

Right Realism has connections with the New Right philosophy.

Here the emphasis is less on the political and social dimensions of behaviour and more on individuals and their responsibility for their actions

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Right Realism

Key figure is JQ Wilson an advisor to Reagan

Links between crime and deprivation do not exist

Right Realism has links to Functionalism

Fear of declining morals in society

More libertarian attitudes - homosexuality, sexual liberation etc. have caused confusion about ‘right and wrong’

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Right Realism

Right Realist Social Policies

2 main areas

  • More deterrents, better detection and harsher punishments
  • Addressing the moral decline, through strong family, strong parenting, discipline in schools etc.
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Right Realism
  • Evaluation
    • The New Right has a ‘common sense like appeal’ but many see its recommendations as simplistic and unworkable.
    • It refers to a ‘Golden Age’ which never really existed.
    • Stronger punishments lead to decreases in some crimes but increases in others e.g. in UK property crime has declined at the expense of violence against the person.