skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 78660 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
Sponsoring Agency: University Press of America
Lanham, MD 20706
Sale Source: University Press of America
Marketing Director
4720 Boston Way
Lanham, MD 20706
United States of America
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): Conflict theory; Crime control model; Criminology; Functionalism; Individual behavior; Interactionist theory; Social Learning
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.