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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70055 Find in a Library
Title: Left-Wing Criminology - An Infantile Disorder? (From Radical Criminology, P 169-190, 1980, by James A Inciardi - See NCJ-70047)
Author(s): S Spitzer
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The ability of left-wing criminology to provide an alternative to ideological, oppressive, and instrumentally defined varieties of criminological theory and research is examined.
Abstract: Directions from which this discussion of radical criminology departs are identified and discussed briefly, including that direction which seeks to defend mainstream criminology and that direction which from the position of orthodox Marxism objects to the very concept and practice of a Marxist or radical criminology. Some of the major points of misunderstanding that surround the differences between Marxist and positivist methodologies as they have been applied to the study of crime and its control are considered. Attention then turns to examination of the excesses of radical criminology--its metafunctionalism, its instrumentalism, and its romanticism of illegality-that have grown out of attempts to defeat conventional criminological wisdom from within. These weaknesses are explored with the intention of discovering how they have prevented radical criminology from taking a genuinely critical path. Some of the differences in methodological perspective between old and new criminologists are then addressed to suggest not only why Marxist analysis is so widely misunderstood, but also why it seems to represent such an unscientific approach to the investigation of crime in capitalist society. The methodological issues analyzed are the two schools' (positivist and Marxist) viewpoints on facts and values, the meaning of objectivity, plausibility versus proof, the dialectical method and its limits, and quantiphobia. Final remarks aim to show the increasing necessity of empirical research in critical criminology and the increasing ineffectiveness of traditional criminology. Nine notes and 47 references are provided. For related documents, see NCJ 70048-54 and 70056-62.
Index Term(s): Criminology; Radical criminology; Ticket fixing
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