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NCJ Number: NCJ 078660     Find in a Library
Title: Criminological Theory and Ideology - Four Analytical Perspectives in the Study of Crime and the Criminal Justice System (From Essays on the Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice, P 143-160, 1977, by Robert M Rich - See NCJ-78656)
Author(s): F Hornum ; F Stavish
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 18
Sale Source: University Press of America
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Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Functionalism, conflict theory, interactionist theory, and learning theory are briefly described as analytical perspectives developed in sociological and social-psychological theory, and the contribution of each to criminological study is discussed.
Abstract: Functionalism is a macrotheoretical perspective which views all societies as having certain social needs (functional prerequisites in Parsonian terminology) which must be met irrespective of time and place. Society is characterized by value consensus, which is represented in law as a means of mediating between conflicting interest groups by upholding values fundamental to the maintenance of the social order and the public interest. The assumptions of the functionalist school have been especially productive in the study of the etiology of criminal behavior and in organizational analyses of the criminal justice system. Conflict theory, as a macrotheoretical perspective, views society's condition as a reflection of the material circumstances existing in a particular historical period. Society is perceived as a plurality of interest groups with differing value systems, with the dominant value system being implemented in law to protect and serve the interests of the ruling class. The conflict theory has been especially useful in examining the historical development of criminal law and criminal justice policy, as well as in analyzing interest group influences on laws and patterns of social control. The interactionist and social learning theories are more microanalytic than the functional and conflict theories. Social learning theory views behavior as learned from the models and influences in a person's environment, and the interactionist theory focuses on the nature of the environmental impetus and individual response as the arena determining behavior. Each of these theories is helpful in narrowing the focus on human behavior to the direct influences that may govern behavior in a given environment. Thirty notes are listed.
Index Term(s): Crime control model ; Individual behavior ; Criminology ; Conflict theory ; Interactionist theory ; Functionalism ; Social Learning
   
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