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NCJ Number: 161635 Find in a Library
Title: Black Hole: Sources of Confusion for Criminologists in Black's Theory -- The Social Structure of Right and Wrong
Journal: Social Pathology  Volume:1  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1995)  Pages:219-227
Author(s): T J Bernard
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 9
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This observational essay focuses on a book authored by Donald Black on the social structure of right and wrong and the relevance of his theory to criminal justice.
Abstract: Black contends that morality varies systematically in accordance with the social structure of a particular conflict. He argues that the social location and direction of a conflict predict and explain its fate. Black acknowledges his theoretical strategy is "radically sociological" as opposed to psychological. In the field of criminology, Black's work has been accorded a great deal of respect and even deference. Criticisms of his theory, however, have surfaced. In the current critique, the author indicates Black has not sufficiently developed the foundations of his theory and has failed to establish a paradigm related to crime seriousness. Black says the quantity of law causes crime seriousness, while most criminologists believe crime seriousness causes the quantity of law. Even though the author believes Black has the correct theoretical orientation on crime seriousness, he contends Black has not developed this orientation sufficiently. Empirical and moral assertions about the behavior of law in Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory on the nature of crime are examined. It is recommended that Black stop further development of his theory and more thoroughly consider some of the theory's complex foundational issues. 22 references and 1 endnote
Main Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Criminal justice research; Psychological theories; Sociological analyses
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