• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critical Criminology, as a specific theoretical approach to explaining, understanding and controlling crime is not as clearly defined as one might initially wish when it is called on one to assess its contribution to criminology.

Extracts from this document...


Critical Criminology, as a specific theoretical approach to explaining, understanding and controlling crime is not as clearly defined as one might initially wish when it is called on one to assess its contribution to criminology. It is not, however, certainly not an ambiguous term. The only root of the problems with the precise definition of its constitution lie in the fact that it has so many overlaps (and contrasts) with differing Left, radical theories and, in essence is a term used to group together a large body of leftist criminological theory. This is expressed in Ronald L. Akers's assertation that it encompasses various "radical standpoints"(Akers, 1999; 176). John Tierney adopted a much more deterministic approach to his presentation of leftist criminological theory and attempted to, insofar as possible, polarise Critical " Left idealist" criminology with "left realism", respectively reflecting the two most dominant strands of left criminological theorisation over the past 20 years. (Tierney, 1996; 283-4) At any rate, critical criminology is essentially a left-wing idealist and anti-logocentric approach to criminology, drawing its central body of thought from Marxism and attempting a severe critique of mainstream criminology, often making claims which almost entirely negate the fundamental foundations of criminology as we know it. ...read more.


It is from this difference that one of the greatest criticisms of critical criminology stems; Criminal criminologists are not concerned with causal explanations or practical solutions per se, instead they focus on the construction and application of the law (Tierney, 1996; 283). In other words they seem to be so occupied with analysing the legal system and the social construction of crime that they ignore explanations and control of crime (Tierney, 1996; 283). One of the other major criticisms of critical criminologists (voiced most fervently by the left realists) is that they, rather than seeking to actively reduce crime (and thus improve society in the present), are more concerned with the establishment of a crime-free socialist utopia as the only (and, they claim, complete) worthwhile effort at solving the crime problem. (Tierney, 1996; 285) This can hardly be interpreted as a pragmatic and dynamic way of practically tackling crime. In my opinion this method of helping history "run its course" in order to allow for the emergence of a crime free society can be interpreted as a cop-out for not having to propose any inventive and new methods of dealing with crime practically. Critical criminologists, when they actually suggest solutions to crime, have adopted overly na�ve and idealistic stances which again have been interpreted as cop-outs by suggesting such solutions as "declaring peace on crime rather than war" (Ibid.). ...read more.


Rather than doing so, in fact, it has merely attempted to negate and discredit any other suggestions and methods in practice on theoretical principals. The Critical movement in Criminology, however, has certainly made a significant contribution to developing a more true and objective field of study. This can be exemplified in the development of "constitutive criminology" of Henry and Milovanovic which consists of a synthesis of critical criminology, "left realism", phenomenology and the sociology of law. (Akers, 1999; 176 and Downes & Rock, 1998; 364) Perhaps it could be said that Critical Criminology has dug its own hole by adhering too much to its own principal beliefs without allowing for reflexive reconstitution of those principals. It's lack of practical suggestions can be demonstrated in Gross's comment that "on crime more than on most matters, the left seems bereft of ideas"(Gross; 1982 in Tierney; 1996 p.283). Its emphasis on which crimes are paid most attention to as a result of arbitrary construction is significant to the field of criminology. Also its attention to the penal system and its abolitionist stance may be significant in a much-needed investigation into the effectiveness of the current prison system. Unfortunately, critical criminologists paid no attention to the practical failings of prison in their denunciation of it as a system. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    Thus the increase in crime statistics is just a social construction, not a reality. However left realists argue the increase is too great to be explained in this way and is a real one; more people are reporting crime because more people are falling victim to crime.

  2. Assess The Contribution Of Control Theory To Our Understanding Of Crime And Criminality

    His book dubbed him the "father of modern criminology." It was the first attempt at presenting a systematic, consistent and logical penal system. Beccaria suggested that fixed punishments for all offences should be written into law and that the law must apply equally to all citizens and all who are guilty should suffer the same prescribed penalty.

  1. Crime: Social construction or reality?

    They were more targeted by the public and police and lead to more arrests and fines. The media had exaggerated the story and labelled the groups "folk devils". The labelling process had lead to more deviant behaviour by the groups.

  2. Social construction of childhood

    However, even with consideration of these factors childhood today is still seen as a time of protected innocence. This can be seen in the western ideology of children. Childhood is not disappearing, simply changing in its forms and values.

  1. Durkheims study of suicide has been criticised on theoretical and methodological grounds. Outline Durkheims ...

    He stated that an Egoistic type of suicide involved an individual not well integrated into a society. He links this mainly to religious society when he found high suicide rates in protestant countries. Durkheim argued that, compared to Catholic societies, who have traditions and a close community, Protestant communities were

  2. How does positive criminology differ from classical criminology in its approach to understanding criminology ...

    Rationality,- This is where we think about each pro and con of each action we take, and we think about what we are doing. Self-intrest.- The classical school believed that we were all born selfish, and that we try to minimalise pain and maximize pleasure.

  1. Critically assess the contribution of labelling theory to an understanding of crime and deviance

    For this he uses the example of injecting heroine, "The act of injecting heroine into a vein is not inherently deviant. If a nurse gives a patient drugs under a doctor's orders, it is perfectly proper. It is when it is done in a way that is not publicly defined as proper that it becomes deviant."

  2. Positive Approach To Suicide

    He believes that coroner's look for primary clues such as suicide notes and evidence from the scene of the crime then they look for secondary clues such as a history of self harm or a holiday booked for the next day that could support and reject the claim of suicide.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work