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NCJ Number: 91800 Find in a Library
Title: Crime, Deviance and Criminal Justice - In Search of a Radical Humanistic Perspective
Journal: Humanity and Society  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1982)  Pages:200-226
Author(s): D O Friedrichs
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 27
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay explores the relationship between and potential for synthesis of humanist sociology and Marxist humanism in the development of a humanistic criminology.
Abstract: The basic thesis developed is that a radical (Marxist) humanistic perspective in criminology is possible. It is a perspective which emerges dialectically from a confrontation between classical radical analysis and the concerns and values of humanist sociology. A humanistic criminology has greatest coherence and potency if it includes in its analysis a radical understanding of the pervasive impact of a capitalist system on crime and criminal justice. The principal danger for a humanist criminology is its condemnation of injustices in the criminal justice system without sufficient attention to the structural roots of these injustices. The danger of radical criminology is its tendency to overlook individuals and their feelings along with the strengths of democratic traditions, producing a unidimensional analysis with 'Stalinist' connotations. Some directions for reconciling radical and humanist perspectives have already been suggested by a number of criminologists. Scimecca (1975) has argued that more attention should be given to C. Wright Mills' scheme which views the individual as a 'rational being capable of transcending structural determinants, as capable of exercising free choice.' Drew Humphries has observed that certain responses to crime can be made without compromising radical social objectives, including better street lighting, escort services for the elderly, and victim compensation programs. Although it might be argued that both humanistic and radical analysis are out of tune with the temper of the times, as economic conditions deteriorate and the existing criminal justice system continues to fail in explaining and controlling crime, a radical humanistic criminology offers an alternative perspective for addressing the problems obstructing the creation of a just society. Eighteen notes and 93 references are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Capitalism; Criminology; Liberalism; Marxism; Radical criminology; Sociology
Note: Earlier version of this article presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Humanist Sociology, University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown, PA, October 26-28, 1979
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