Review the critical approaches to explaining crime. Explain which two of the approaches you feel are the most viable approaches in explaining crime.
Critical theories of crime came about in the middle of the 20th century due to the changing social landscape. The critical theory emerged when social scientists began to abandon the belief in the purely benevolent actions of governments and corporations (Bohn & Haley, 2010). These critical theories differed from classical and neoclassical theories because they state that humans have free will. Critical theories also differ from positivist theories because they state that human beings are determined. Critical theories “assume that human beings are the creators of the institutions and structures that ultimately dominate and constrain them” (Bohn & Haley, 2010). Another reason critical theories are different from other theories is that they assume conflict is the standard and they believe that it is impossible to be objective or value-neutral in anything a person does.
One of the most viable critical theories on crime is the conflict theory. The conflict theory “assumes that society is based primarily on conflict between competing interest groups and that criminal law and the criminal justice system are used to control groups” (Bohn & Haley, 2010). An example of this conflict between interest groups would be the rich against the poor. Because the rich possess more power and influence through money, it assumes the role of the dominant group and the poor assumes the role of the subordinate. In this theory dominate groups use the criminal justice system to deflect the attention of the problems they cause for the subordinate groups by centering the attention on the actions the subordinate group members that commit crimes.
Another viable critical theory is the labeling theory. The labeling theory “emphasizes the criminalization process as the cause of some crime” (Bohn & Haley, 2010). The criminalization...