Social Conflict Theory

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Social class Pages: 4 (1141 words) Published: September 30, 2012
(mugging and other street crime, violence, burglary, and, as many critical criminologists would contend, predominantly the crimes of the poor) can be questioned. Critical criminology is a theoretical perspective in criminology which takes a conflict perspective, such as marxism, feminism, political economy theory or critical theory. The focus of critical criminology is the genesis of crime and nature of ‘justice’ within a structure of class and status inequalities. Law and punishment of crime are viewed as connected to a system of social inequality and as the means of producing and perpetuating this inequality.[1] Critical criminology sees crime as a product of oppression. workers, (particularly, the poorer sections) and less advantaged groups within society, such as women and ethnic minorities, are seen to be the most likely to suffer oppressive social relations based upon class division, sexism and racism.[2] More simply, critical criminology may be defined as any criminological topic area that takes into account the contextual factors of crime or critiques topics covered in mainstream criminology. In North America, critical criminology challenges the status quo. One branch of conflict theory is critical criminology. This term is based upon the view that the fundamental causes of crime is oppression, resulting from social and economic forces operating within a given society. This perspective stems from German philosopher, Karl Marx, who believed the justice system and laws favor the rich and powerful in a society and that the poor are punished far more severely for much smaller crimes. Basics

Marx identifies that at the very least, all human beings have the basic needs of food, water, clothing and shelter. Because all human beings need these things but only a few own the means to producing them, those who do not have ownership must sell their labor as a means to acquire what they need. Conflict theory takes many forms today, and its branches include feminist...
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