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Conflict Criminology by 0QkGX5N1


									   Consensus – general agreement on values
       When conflicts arise, it’s the State’s role to mediate

   Conflict – general disagreement on values
       State represents and is most concerned with the interests of the elite
       Therefore, the elite have the power to define what is appropriate behavior
       Elite are more concerned with themselves than with others
        ▪ Elite define what is appropriate behavior to further their self-interests
        ▪ Those who are not elites are more likely to be defined as criminals
   Cultural conflict - Sellin
     Conduct norms: How people are supposed to act under certain circumstances
     Norms become laws
     In simple, homogenous societies laws reflect social consensus
     In complex, heterogeneous societies there may be disagreement about laws
   Group conflict - Vold
     People form groups with others of like interest
     Groups continuously try to improve their standing
       ▪ Achieve a kind of stasis (stable state) known as “social order”
     Groups may come into conflict when their interests and purposes collide
       ▪ Groups try to use the C.J. system to promote their standing
       ▪ When groups are in conflict, member loyalty to their group increases
     Groups compete for control of the State’s police power
       ▪ Crime is defined as the behavior of “minority power groups” that don’t have
         enough influence to defend their interests
     Explanation does NOT extend to “impulsive, irrational acts” that aren’t related
      to a battle between power groups

Civil rights, terrorism, Vietnam and Gulf wars, economic
meltdowns, political polarization
   Conditions under which differences
    between authorities and subjects will lead to
   Conditions under which criminalization will occur
   Variables affecting likelihood of conflict
       Level of organization and sophistication of authorities/subjects:
        ▪ Conflict more likely when subjects are organized (individuals less likely to
          back down)
        ▪ Conflict more likely when either group is less sophisticated (less able to
          subtly work around the conflict)
   Factors affecting criminalization of behavior by the authorities
       Offensiveness of prohibited act to the authorities
       Relative power of enforcers and resisters
       Likelihood that an action by either party may lead to success
   Social “segments” have common values, norms and ideology
       Business, labor, women, poor people, rich people, old people, etc.
   Some segments are organized, others not (e.g., AARP)
   Crime is conduct that conflicts with the interests of influential segments
       Segments vary in their ability to protect their interests
       Behavior of persons in less influential segments more likely to be labeled
   Segments promote their conceptions of what should be criminal through the
       Those promoted by powerful individuals and groups tend to be accepted
       Concepts of what should be crime often reflect self-interest rather than
        public interest
   Is the power of the state, as embodied in the
    CJ system...
    ... a value-neutral framework where conflict can
    be resolved?                                       
    ... itself the “prize” in the perpetual conflict that is a
    part of society?
   Lawmaking characterized by warring interest groups
       The higher a group’s economic and political position, the more likely its views
        will be reflected in the law
   Legislative process allows interest groups to override the public interest
       Appellate decisions reflect personal values, normally favor the wealthy
   Law enforcement depends on the political process for resources
       Maximizes its rewards, minimizes strains by processing the politically weak
        and powerless
   Stratification – vertical social distance, best measured
    by income
       Higher a person is on this ladder the more they can
        invoke law and exercise its power over others
   Morphology – horizontal aspect of social life
       On either extreme – intimates and those isolated from each other –
        law is inactive
       Law most active in the middle sphere of social distance
   Culture – law is imposed on those with less education
       More law used when victim is of higher culture (e.g., education)
   Organization – corporate or organized aspect of life
       More law available for use by the more organized
   Social control – responses to deviancy from the norms
       More law used when other forms of social control are weak
   Minority members are more frequently
    arrested, and for more serious crimes. Is it bias?
       Police say that’s so because minority areas have
        more street crime
        ▪ Greater need and demand for police
        ▪ Greater likelihood of arresting members
          of minority groups
       Minority areas have fewer resources to tackle
        social problems
   Minority members receive harsher sanctions. Is it bias?
       Controlling for offense severity and record can   

        eliminate the difference
        ▪ Violent crimes happen more frequently in minority areas
       Less affluent are less able to mount an effective defense
        ▪ Wealthier persons can retain better counsel & post bail
        ▪ Police Issues: Time or Money?
   In complex societies people’s values and interests will conflict
   People act in patterns that they think benefit them and which they think are right or
   Group values and power affect:
       Which acts come to be defined as crimes
       Extent to which group members will become violators
   CJ agencies are more likely to listen to the powerful
   CJ agencies are more likely to process easier cases, thus more likely to sanction the
   Official crime rates for groups and individuals will reflect the above

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