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Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. The new criminologies emerged some 50 years ago, largely as a reaction against the positivism that had arisen in and taken over criminology. The ideas upon which this school is based are drawn from the works of Plato and Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Alfred Schultz, Karl Marx, and the Chicago School. While new criminologies largely agree on the basis for rejecting positivism, they differ over what should replace it. This chapter examines five theories of new criminologies: (i) labelling or interactionism; (ii) phenomenology and ethnomethodology; (iii) conflict; (iv) radical criminologies; and (v) cultural criminology.

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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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16. Critical criminology—part 2  

New and future directions

This chapter examines four main strands of critical criminology: zemiology, the study of social harm; cultural criminology, which re-focusses the critical criminological imagination on the emotional and carnivalesque aspects of crime and control; green criminology, which deals with environmental crime as a growing crime problem committed by powerful groups; and convict criminology, which is concerned with how knowledge is produced and how the marginalised voices of prisoners are silenced and muted in both criminological and policy debates. The chapter also considers some basic economic concepts and ideas and how these fit into the world of critical green criminology when studying crimes of the (economically) powerful, and how and why the features of subcultures and emotions are important to cultural criminologists. It concludes by evaluating the claim made by convict criminologists that the prisoner voice should be a central one when considering prison reform and penal change.

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Keith Hayward and Wayne Morrison

This chapter offers a comprehensive introduction to how criminological theory has developed and is used. It presents a series of theoretical vignettes, each of which provides both an accessible introduction to a particular theory and informed signposts to more detailed readings. The discussions cover criminology's two founding doctrines: the ‘classical’ and ‘positivist’ approaches to the study of crime; biological, genetic, and psychological explanations of crime; the Chicago School of sociology; the ‘labelling’ perspective; Marxist/radical criminology; criminological realism; control theory; and cultural criminology.

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Keith Hayward and Oliver Smith

Proceeding from a theoretical perspective, this chapter examines the various relationships that exist between consumer culture and crime. The chapter starts by looking to criminology’s past, and a short review of some of the main theories/theorists that have actually trained attention on consumerism as a criminogenic phenomenon. This section also includes a critique of the supposed oppositional potential of consumerism that dominated the social sciences until relatively recently. Turning to the present, the chapter then introduces three distinct but complimentary perspectives that offer a more useful and critical explanation of ‘the crime-consumerism nexus’. First, cultural criminology addresses the criminogenic impact of global capitalism at the level of cultural discourse and everyday transgression. Second, ultra realist criminology identifies the damage caused by consumer capitalism, and more specifically how the dominance of neoliberal ideology shapes the deep-rooted desires and drives behind much identity-driven criminality. Finally, the deviant leisure perspective draws on both these positions to illustrate how dominant forms of commodified leisure drive a range of social, environmental, and individual harms. The relationship between crime and consumerism is not a simple one but, as this chapter argues, it is one that demands serious and critical criminological attention.

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This chapter investigates critical criminology. The strands that are widely regarded as most important in the development of critical criminology are labelling perspectives, Marxist-inspired critical theories, power perspectives, and feminist perspectives. The ideas and insights contained within these theories inspired and prepared the ground for more recent developments in the field, including cultural criminology and convict criminology. Critical criminology not only suggests that we make small alterations to criminal justice systems; instead, it requires us to question everything we think we ‘know’ about these systems and the societies and communities in which we live. It questions how and why we control behaviour, looks at power from the perspective of the oppressed or the powerless, and suggests alternative narratives that should be part of our accepted knowledge base.

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This chapter examines recent developments in the sociology of crime and deviance, with particular reference to the criticisms that have been hurled against it, as well as the emergence of alternative theories. It assesses the value of the major theories covered in this book in terms of prescience and explanatory rigour, along with the extent to which the approach has benefited from and contributes to allied fields. It considers the acceptance of the premise that crime and deviance were problematic, rather than immanent, properties of social conduct. This is followed by a discussion of ‘left realism’ and ‘right realism’ and an analysis of radical criminology, post-modern criminology, strain theory, labelling theory, control theories, radical theory, and cultural criminology. It concludes with a discussion of the need to put local concerns in global perspective with threats ranging from terrorism and narco-violence to state corruption, climate change, energy insecurities, and pandemic diseases.