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NCJ Number: 51954 Find in a Library
Title: SOCIETY AND CRIME IN CRIMINOLOGY
Journal: AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:(1977)  Pages:136-145
Author(s): W CLIFFORD
Corporate Author: Australian Acad of Forensic Sciences
Butterworths Pty Ltd
Australia
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Acad of Forensic Sciences
Chatswood, 2067, Australia
Format: Article
Country: Australia
Annotation: THE EVOLUTION OF CRIMINOLOGY THOUGHT IS TRACED, THE NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIETY AND CRIME IS CONSIDERED, AND DIRECTIONS FOR THE FIELD OF CRIMINOLOGY ARE SUGGESTED.
Abstract: THE HISTORICAL REVIEW OF CRIMINOLOGY SHOWS HOW ATTENTION HAS SHIFTED FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OF LAW, TO THE STUDY OF THE INDIVIDUAL OFFENDER AND HIS OR HER SOCIAL SITUATION, TO SOCIETY ITSELF. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT LAWS DEFINE CRIME, BUT THAT SOCIAL CONDITIONS CAN SHAPE AND INSTIGATE CRIME IN OTHER WAYS. SOCIETY DEVELOPS THE CONDITIONS FROM WHICH CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR FLOWS (BANKS TO BE ROBBED, PROPERTY RIGHTS TO BE INVADED, FREEDOM OF SOCIAL INTERCOURSE TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS). SOME SOCIOLOGISTS VIEW CRIME AS THE WEFT THAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE WARP OF SOCIAL EXISTENCE. FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, CRIME IS NOT REALLY THE 'SHADOW' OF CIVILIZATION, BUT IS RATHER THE NORMAL ADAPTATION TO AN ABNORMAL STRUCTURE -- THE REFLECTION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DISSATISFACTION WHICH DEMONSTRATES THE NEED FOR RADICAL CHANGE. THERE HAS BEEN A RELUCTANCE AMONG CRIMINOLOGISTS TO RECOGNIZE A POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND STRUCTURAL DIMENSION OF CRIME. INDEED, THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR NOT LIMITING EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME TO POLITICAL FACTORS. IT IS WELL DOCUMENTED THAT WHATEVER SOCIETY DOES TO GENERATE CRIME BY ITS LAW AND WHATEVER FORCES THERE ARE IN SOCIETY TO CREATE CONDITIONS FOR CRIME, NOT EVERYONE REACTS TO SUCH PRESSURES AND STIMULI IN THE SAME WAY. TO TREAT CRIMINOLOGY AS THOUGH IT WERE ONLY THE STUDY AND SUPPORT OF POLITICAL PROTEST WOULD BE TO IGNORE WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT HUMAN NATURE AND SOCIAL CONDUCT. A FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE FOR CRIMINOLOGY IS THE MEASURE OF ITS INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROBLEM OF CRIME THAT IT SEEKS TO RESOLVE. THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCE BETWEEN CRIMINOLOGY AS AN INSTRUMENT OF POLICY AND CRIMINOLOGY AS RESEARCH DIVORCED FROM POLICY. BOTH EXTREMES HAVE THEIR DANGERS. PERHAPS BALANCE CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED IN TWO WAYS: (1) BY HOPING THAT CRIMINOLOGISTS ARE SUFFICIENTLY SCIENTIFICALLY INCLINED TO SERVE THEIR SUBJECT MORE THAN THEIR MASTERS OR THEIR CAUSES AND THAT, IF THEY ARE NOT, THEY WILL DECLARE THEIR INTERESTS AND ADMIT THEIR BIASES; AND (2) BY WIDENING CRIMINOLOGY TO INCLUDE STUDIES OF ALL CULTURES SO THAT APPARENT SOLUTIONS IN ONE CULTURAL SITUATION MAY BE MEASURED FOR THEIR EFFECTS IN OTHER CULTURAL SITUATIONS. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LKM)
Index Term(s): Crime Causes; Criminal justice ideologies; Criminology; Political influences; Social cohesion; Social conditions; Sociological analyses
Note: PRESENTED TO A PUBLIC SYMPOSIUM ON CRIME AND SOCIETY CONDUCTED BY THE AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF FORENSIC SCIENCES, SYDNEY, APRIL 30, 1977
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51954

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