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Assess sociological contributions to our understanding of the nature of environmental crime.

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Introduction

Assess sociological contributions to our understanding of the nature of environmental crime Ulrich Beck argues that in today's late modern society we can now provide we can provide adequate resources for all (at least in the developed countries). However, the massive increase in productivity and the technology that sustains it have created new risks. Many of these risks involve harm to the environment and its consequences for humanity, such as global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from industry. What if the pollution that causes global warming is perfectly legal and no crime has been committed, is this a matter for criminologists? Traditional criminology has not been concerned with such behaviour, since its subject matter is defined by the criminal law, and no law has been broken. ...read more.

Middle

For this reason, green criminology is a form of transgressive criminology, meaning that it oversteps the boundaries of traditional criminology to include new issues. Green criminologists argue that powerful interests, especially nation-states and transnational corporations, are able to define in their own interests what counts as unacceptable environmental harm. This is similar to the Marxist view of 'crimes of the powerful'. Marxists argue that the capitalist class are able to shape the law and define crime so that their own exploitative activities are not criminalised or, where they are criminalised, to ensure that enforcement is weak. Green criminology generally adopts what White calls the ecocentric view of harm. ...read more.

Conclusion

These examples also show that most of the threats to human well-being and the eco-system are now man made rather than natural, This is likely because large corporations and industries take an anthropocentric view of harm. Ulrich Beck says that the massive increase in productivity and the technology have created new manufactured risks. Like climate change, many of these risks are global rather than local in nature, leading Beck to describe late modern society as 'global risk society'. In conclusion, although traditional criminology focuses on whether laws that protect the environment have been broken it has some major flaws, such as some environmental harm like global warming not actually being a crime as no law has been broken. This does not allow a better understanding to the nature of environmental crime as green criminology does because it starts from the notion of harm rather than criminal law. ...read more.

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