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Critical Criminology

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Holly Beth

on 1 May 2018

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Transcript of Critical Criminology

Critical Criminology
Critical Criminology
Umbrella term
Critical criminology rejects (among other things):
Legal definitions of crime
Linear causation of crime
Current corrections policy (mass incarceration and beyond)
Lack of focus on political economy's influence on crime
Systemic racism, sexism, classism, which often goes unrecognized in modern society
Cultural Criminology
Stresses the importance of
Imagery is key; meaning is fluid
Return to the field work of the Chicago school
Critiques quantitative criminology
Especially the quantitative research process (publish or perish, IRB)
Origins of Critical Criminology
Cultural Criminology
Small-scale cultural encounters provide insight to larger social phenomenon
Crime = response to instability of late modernity
Impact of globalization
"If there is one thing a critical criminology can tell us, it is how the experience of injustice can lead to further injustice." (Young 2007:172)
"...the quick, snapping trajectory of arm, elbow, and fist as a punch is thrown. That movement seems more a matter of bone and muscle than culture and meaning - and if that punch strikes somebody in the mouth, there are the bloody knuckles that are pulled back in the next motion." (Ferrell, Hayward, and Young 2008:7)
Radical criminology; Marx
Feminist criminology
First phase
Criminology has misrepresented women; gender-blind
Second phase
How are women constructed by law? Media? Others?
What are the lived experiences of women, and how do their specific problems influence involvement in crime?
These two perspectives = massive critique of mainstream sociology, gave us
critical criminology
"...if we hope to confront the politiviolence - that is, to understand how violence works as a form of power and domination, to empathize with the victimization that violence produces - we must engage with the cultures of violence. Even this most direct of crimes...is not direct at all. It's a symbolic exchange as much as a physical one, an exchange encased in immediate situations and in larger circumstances, an exchange whose meaning is negotiated before and after blood is spilt (Ferrell, Hayward, Young 2008:8-9)
Restorative Approaches Within Critical Criminology
An unjust system cannot produce justice; new approach necessary
Includes: mediation, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and community
Focus less on causes of crime and more on
how to resolve conflicts
Convict criminology, abolitionism
Note: restorative approaches are not limited to critical criminology
Punitive vs. Restorative Approaches
Rules are broken

Establish guilt

Accountability = punishment

Justice aimed at offender; victim ignored

Limited opportunity for making amends
People/relationships are harmed
Identifies responsibility
Accountability = understanding impact, repairing harm
Victim has direct role in justice
Opportunity given to make amends/express remorse
Green Criminology
Traditional notions of crime and offenders are insufficient to take into account all acts of harm.
Especially environmental harm. Why?
Harms are indirect
Difficult to see, invisible
Power of corporations/governments
Four Major Sites of Green Harm
Global Warming & Air Pollution
200,000 early deaths in US; 6.5 million worldwide
Shortened life expectancies
We all contribute to carbon emissions
Some more than others; governments and big businesses
Climate refugees
$20-$40 billion cost per year of environmental crime like deforestation (illegal logging and fishing, illegal wildlife trade)
Low income areas are more likely to be harmed by environmental degradation
Since 1970, 50% of plant and animal species have gone extinct.
Do we consider the rights of nonhumans?
Water Pollution
Harms Against Nonhuman Animals
Animal abuse relatively new in criminology
Includes forced fighting, animal testing, zoos/circuses, factory farming, meat-eating in general
Beyond animal harm
Those who abuse animals often move to abusing humans
Dehumanizing language ("bitches," "cows")
Early deaths from contaminated drinking water
Events ranging from high profile pollution (oil spills) to everyday dumping put waters under threat
Critical Perspectives Applied:
The Fourth Amendment
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Exceptions: When is a warrant not required?
1. Plain view exception
2. Automobile exception
3. Stop & frisk (Terry stop)
4. When being searched after a lawful arrest
5. Consent (from suspect and others)
6. Emergencies/hot pursuit

The issue of
But this isn't about reasonable search & seizure...
A major contemporary criminal justice issue is the existence of
racial profiling
When one's race/ethnicity is used as grounds for suspicion that that person has committed a crime
Claim: mainstream criminological theories can't adequately address this problem. Why?
Who gets stopped?
When is contraband found?
Although they are stopped more frequently, black Americans are less likely to be found with contraband. Why?
More black drivers (13%) than white (10%) and Hispanic (10%) drivers were pulled over in a traffic stop (BJS 2011)
White drivers ticketed at lower rates than black drivers (BJS 2011)
White drivers ticketed at lower rates than Hispanic drivers (BJS 2011)
About 6 in 10 persons believed they have been stopped for legitimate reasons
Persons involved in street stops are less likely to believe police behave properly during the stops
White and Hispanic persons are more likely than black Americans to believe the police behaved properly
When stops are intraracial, stops are more likely to be perceived as legitimate.
19% of people stopped on the street have been searched; majority do not believe it was legitimate
Full transcript