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(p. 416) 15. Critical criminology—part 1: Challenging the ‘usual suspects’ 

(p. 416) 15. Critical criminology—part 1: Challenging the ‘usual suspects’
(p. 416) 15. Critical criminology—part 1: Challenging the ‘usual suspects’

Steve Case

, Phil Johnson

, David Manlow

, Roger Smith

, and Kate Williams

Page of

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date: 30 May 2020

This chapter examines a range of criminological perspectives which are collectively known as critical criminology, with particular emphasis on labelling perspectives, Marxist inspired critical theories, and feminist perspectives. It begins with an overview of the four main ideas of positivism (in either its biological, psychological, or sociological forms): determinism, scientism, consensus, and treatment/rehabilitation. It then considers the philosophical and political arguments that underpin critical criminologies, along with the different foundational strands within critical criminology. It also discusses the importance of the ideas of social construction, power and power relations to critical criminology, as well as the problems of ‘deviance’ and its interpretation and control. Finally, it explores the development of critical criminology in Britain, the rise of the ‘new’ criminology, Taylor et al's (1973) notion of a ‘fully social theory’ of crime and deviance, and the issue of violence in relation to gender.

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