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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98082 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice Education in British Columbia - A Political Perspective
Journal: Canadian Criminology Forum  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1984)  Pages:21-40
Author(s): B L Arnold
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 20
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: A survey of criminal justice educators in British Columbia, Canada, provides the basis for an analysis of the ideological nature of criminology as practiced in an advanced contemporary capitalist society.
Abstract: A review of the historical origins and ideological-political dynamics of criminology argues that while this discipline can be characterized by ideological conflicts, it remains predominately a liberal profession. Questionnaires completed by 45 criminologists from postsecondary educational institutions in British Columbia revealed that 53.3 percent shared a liberal orientation, 31.1 percent were conservative, and 15.6 percent were critical-radical. With regard to course content, conservatives allotted the least amount of class time to racial issues in crime and criminal justice system functioning. While all three factions showed concern for gender-related issues such as sexual assault, liberal and conservative groups paid less attention than did radicals. Moreover, their concerns tended to be technocratic and legalistic. Over half the radicals reported experiencing teaching or curriculum constraints as a result of their ideological orientation. Only 7.1 percent of the conservatives reported such problems, and liberals experienced no constraints. Outside the classroom, the more critical the respondent's orientation, the more he or she had to shift to the 'right' end of the ideological spectrum to secure research support. All respondents reported that research funding favored pragmatic issues and methodologies. In contrast to both liberals and conservatives, radicals had to face pressures to conform to a mainstream, technocratic, and legalistic orientation based on liberal philosophical presumptions. Other areas examined in the survey included course emphasis on imperialism and class differences, publishing opportunities, and securing advisory positions. Overall, it was found that the anomaly between mainstream and radical criminology does not promote serious discourse, but perpetuates discord and polemics and impedes radical criminologists' movement from idealism and abstractions into more substantive works dealing with material conditions and operations. Tables and approximately 50 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): British Columbia; Criminal justice education; Criminal justice ideologies; Political influences; Radical criminology
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