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Textbook on Criminology

Textbook on Criminology (7th edn)

Katherine S. Williams
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date: 28 September 2023

15. Critical criminology: conflict, radical and cultural criminologieslocked

15. Critical criminology: conflict, radical and cultural criminologieslocked

  • Katherine S. WilliamsKatherine S. WilliamsLecturer in Law, University of Wales, Aberystwyth


Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter first considers theories that seek to describe how conflicts within society may lead to criminality, or more exactly how they explain the type of criminality which will occur. These include the theories of Marx, Engels, Bonger, Sellin, Vold, Dahrendorf, Turk, Quinney, Chambliss, and Seidman. The chapter then discusses radical criminology, the most recent of the ‘New Criminologies’, which has been described variously as Marxist, socialist, left-wing, and critical. This is followed by a discussion of cultural criminology, a fairly new school of thought that draws together many of the modern and critical aspects of criminological thought and methodological approaches, such as a phenomenological approach and the ideas of symbolic interactionism; critical criminology and the Birmingham School; and radical and political approaches and layers in modern sociological analyses from culture, style, media culture, identity, and space.

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