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The criminological theory of conflict is one of the criminological approaches that is based on the social structure and the theory of Karl Marx. The main idea of the conflict theory consists of the fact that there is no consensus between the laws and the society and this ultimately ends in a critical conflict of interests (Siegel, 2015). In other words, the laws are elaborated and passed by those who possess the authority to control those who do not possess it. The central proposition of the conflict theory revolves around the idea that the majority of the population is not necessarily different from the wrongdoers (Siegel, 2015). For the adepts of the conflict theory, society cannot be virtually divided into two groups – offenders and nonoffenders – because this will end in the manifestation of biased misconceptions and injustice. Contrarily, the supporters of the conflict theory believe that the notion of criminal behaviors mainly depends on the societal perception of the deviations from the putative norms. According to the claims of the critical criminologists, the current criminal justice system is heavily influenced by a variety of crimes that go unreported.
The Role of Politics in Conflict Theory
Politics and conflict theory are inextricably linked. The conflict theory was first developed by Karl Marx. He emphasized the importance of the conflict between the working class and the capitalists. Marx’s theory consisted of the fact that there are numerous political, social, and economic premises of the manifestation of capitalism. Therefore, the conflict of interests of the rich and the poor became the basis for the criminological theory of conflict. The criminological basis of the conflict theory is contingent on the limitations of the social order and the inequalities that are inherent in the ideological perceptions of the society. This led to a situation in which not all values of the so-called bourgeoisie (the modern politicians may be associated with this term as well) were accepted by the remaining population (Wagner, 2013). If we connect Marx’s theory and the conflict theory, we will see that the socioeconomic differences between the social institutions and political structures are the key reasons for the increasing crime rates. In other words, politics cannot be separated from the notion of criminal justice. The existing economic relations and Marx’s superstructure of the society can be described as the key contributions of the politics in the criminological conflict theory.
The Influence of Politics on the Crime Rates
While there are numerous situations in which the political act as a mitigative factor, the majority of the cases when the politics and crime rates intersect are highlighted by the direct political involvement. It is safe to suppose that the crimes, for the most part, should not be taken into consideration without their strict relationship with political implications. This assumption is very realistic in terms of individuals with low incomes. They may perceive crimes as a means of opposing the political regime or disliking certain legislations (Crawford & Evans, 2012). This ultimately leads to a situation in which the society is exposed to the manifestation of the criminological conflict theory and how the politicians expect to deal with the growing crime rates. Officially, it has been proved that the majority of the delinquencies committed by the individuals coming from poor neighborhoods were triggered by politics. This also includes numerous socioeconomic, psychological, and ideological factors but the political issues are considered to be the root of all evil. There are numerous opinions concerning the involvement of politics into the process of growing crime rates, but there is one thing that everyone is assured of – when being overlooked, the politics may cause more harm than the wrongdoers themselves.
Sociological Schools of Crime Causation
There are several sociological schools of crime causation. The first is called strain. These crimes are triggered by stress that is accumulated due to certain external factors. Therefore, the delinquency is considered to be a way of getting rid of the source of the strain (Beirne & Messerschmidt, 2015). From another point of view, the strain may lead to crimes that are committed in the name of revenge. The second school of crime causation is called social learning theory. This major school is based on the associations as the potential wrongdoers are exposed to delinquent behavior of the others and are inclined to adopt the outlooks that are typical of the criminals. The third sociological school of crime causation is called control theory. The supporters of this school believe that crime is nothing else but an essential part of our community. The main idea of this crime causation theory is that the needs of any given individual may be gratified using delinquencies and not legal activities (Winters, Globokar, & Roberson, 2014). The fourth sociological school of crime causation is based on the labeling theory. The core idea supported by the adepts of this theory is that the attempts to mitigate the crime rates trigger diametrically diverse results. The former inmates are perceived by the community as criminals, and this increases the probability of consequent crimes (Winters et al., 2014). The fifth school of crime causation is based on the theory of social disorganization. The supporters of this theory strive to explain the connection between certain characteristics of the society and the crime rate.
Beirne, P., & Messerschmidt, J. W. (2015). Criminology: A sociological approach. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Crawford, A., & Evans, K. (2012). Crime prevention and community safety. Oxford Journal of Criminology, 3(44), 769-805.
Siegel, L. J. (2015). Criminology: The core (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Wagner, W. E. (2013). Practice of research in criminology and criminal justice. New York, NY: Sage.
Winters, R., Globokar, J., & Roberson, C. (2014). An introduction to crime and crime causation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.