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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quinney’s Conflict Theory

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 0 Comments

Quinney’s Conflict Theory
Four factors influence one another, helping to produce and maintain a high level of crime in society.
To Marxists, the capitalist’s classless drive to increase profit by cutting labour costs has created a large class of unemployed workers. These people become what Marxists call marginal surplus population------superfluous or useless to the economy. They are compelled to commit properly crimes to survive. The exploitative nature of capitalism also causes violent crimes (such as murder and assault) and non-criminal deviances (such as alcoholism and mental illness). As Sheila Balkan and her colleagues (1980) explained, economic “marginality least to a lack of self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness and alienation, which create intense pressures on individuals.
Many people turn to violence in order to vent their frustrations and strike out against symbols of authority, and others turn his frustration inward and experience severe emotional difficulties.
Marxists further content that the monopolistic and oligopolistic nature of capitalism encourages corporate crime, because “when only a few firms dominate a sector of the economy they can more easily collude to fix prices, divide up the market, and eliminate competitors” (Greenberg, 1981). Smaller firms, unable to compete with giant corporations and earn enough profits, are also motivated to shore up their sagging profits by illegal means.
Conflict theory is useful for explaining why most laws favour the rich and powerful and why the poor and powerless commit most of the unprofitable crimes in society (such as murder, assault, and robbery). The theory is also useful for explaining why crime rates began to soar after the formerly communist countries in Russia and Eastern Europe embraced capitalism. But the theory has been criticized for implying that all laws are unjust and capitalism is the source of all crimes.

Conflict Theory of Crime

Conflict Theory
Many people assume that the law is based on the consent of citizens, that it treats citizens equally and that it serves the best interest of society. If we simply read the U.S.A., constitution and status, this assumption may ideal be justified? But focusing on the law on the books, as William Chambliss (1969) pointed out, may be misleading. The law in the books does indeed say that the authorities ought to be fair and just. But are they? To understand crime, Chambliss argue, we need to look at the law in action, at how legal authorities actually discharge their duty. After studying the law in action, Chambliss concluded that legal authorities are actually unfair and unjust, favouring the rich and powerful over the poor and weak.
Richard Quinney (1974) blamed the unjust law directly on the capitalist system. The state and the ruling class to secure the survival of the capitalist system use “Criminal law”, said Quinney. This involves the dominant class doing four things. First it defines as criminal those behaviours (robbery, murder, and the like) that threaten into interests. Second it hires law enforces to apply those definitions and protect its interests. Third, it exploits the subordinate class by paying low wages so that the resulting oppressive life conditions force the powerless to commit what those in power have defined as crimes. Fourth, it uses these criminal actions to spread and reinforce the popular view that the subordinate class is dangerous, in order to justify its concerns with making and enforcing the law. The upshot is the production and maintenance of a high level of crime in society (Quinney, 1975).

Theory of Control by Hirschi

Hirschi: Control Theory
A functionalist sociologist Travis Hirschi (1969), who is credited with first formulating a coherent statement of “control theory”. Criminology should pay more attention to answering the question. Why do men obey the rules of society? As a starting point this has been neglected, as for example, in strain theory and theories of cultural deviance like different association in favour of the more obvious question “why do men not obey”?
Hirschi takes his lead from Hobbes (leviathan): of all passion that which inclined men least to break the laws is fear. Nay, expecting some generous natures. It is the only thing, when there is appearance of profit or pleasure by breaking the laws, which makes men keep them. Control theory does not do nor, that makes men keep them. Control theory does not, however, assume that man is basically amoral: but it does assume variations occur when social controls have weakened: when the individuals “bond to society is weak or broken” (Hirschi). With this, his respect decreases, he has less to fear from society’s reproof and he acts increasingly in self-interest.
In Hirschi’s analysis the bond involves attachment’, commitment’, involvement, and a belief in conventional morals. Conforming behaviour is thereby “explained” and with it its counterpart is deviance. His research and much since was designed to test the empirical basis for this and the link with deviance. What is valuable in this approach is the assertion of man’s freedom and rationality as opposed to the social determinism, which has characterized much else. Control theory’s major claim to novelty is that it re-conceptualizes the starting point of something, which might turn into a deviant career. By stressing the bountiful in an established institutional order to cares coax and covert new comers into conformity control theory reveals that when this object is not achieved individuals remain at liberty to explore, and that exploration may lead to behaviour labelled as deviant by the powerful. (Box. 1981).
Many studies have supported Hirschi’s theory that the lack of social bond causes deviance, but most of these studies have ignored, as does the theory, the fact that the lack of bond can also be the effect of youth to commit delinquency, delinquency can cause the youth to lose their bond to society.

Conflict Perspective
Functionalist assumes the importance of social consensus for explaining deviance. Thus for Durkheim, deviance is functional to society as a whole and hence to virtually all groups in it. To Hirschi, bond to society is always a desirable goal for everybody if they want to avoid deviance. And to Braithwaite, shaming is a widely shared value in communitarian societies. By contrast, conflict as in the form of inequalities or power differentials-for explaining deviance.

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