Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Conflict Theory (Short Note)

Why is certain behaviour evaluated as deviant while other behaviour is not? According to conflict theorists, it is the cause people with power protect their own interests and define deviance to suit their own needs.

Sociologists Richard Quinney is a leading exponent of the view that the criminal justice system serves the interests of the powerful. Crime, according to Quinney, is a definition of human conduct created by authorized agents of social control—such as legislators and law enforcement officials—in a politically organized society. He and other conflict theorists argue that lawmaking is often an attempt by the powerful to coerce others into their own morality.

This helps to explain why our society has laws against gambling, drug usage, alcoholism, and prostitution that are violated on a massive scale. According to the conflict school, criminal does not represent a consistent application of social values, but instead reflects competing values and interests. Thus, heroine is outlawed in Pakistan because it is alleged to be harmful to users, yet cigarettes and alcohol (under license) are sold legally almost everywhere.

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