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Criminology (1st edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 30 June 2022

p. 41615. Critical criminology—part 1

Challenging the ‘usual suspects’locked

p. 41615. Critical criminology—part 1

Challenging the ‘usual suspects’locked

  • Steve Case, Steve CaseProfessor of Criminology, University of Loughborough
  • Phil Johnson, Phil JohnsonCriminology Lecturer and Academic Subject Leader, University Centre at Blackburn College
  • David Manlow, David ManlowPrincipal Lecturer in Criminology
  • Roger SmithRoger SmithProfessor of Social Work, Durham University
  •  and Kate WilliamsKate WilliamsSenior Lecturer in Criminology, Aberystwyth University


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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