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5.12: Other Criminological Theories

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    Social Reaction Theories

    [1] Hence, it is the quality of social responses that is significant. We shame individuals to show disapproval. According to Braithwaite, shaming can be reintegrative or stigmatizing. Reintegrative shaming centers on forgiveness, love, and respect. Ideally, we want to reintegrate the person back into the community by removing the label. However, in some societies, like the United States, stigmatizing shaming reigns supreme. Stigmatizing shaming uses formal punishment, which degrades a person’s bond to his or her community. It is counter-productive and tends to shun the offender. For example, in some states, convicted offenders are required to self-identify as a felon on job applications. Do you think this helps their cause to reintegrate successfully into society? Perhaps not. Even though they may have “served their time,” they are still labeled as a criminal and punished further. Stigmatizing shaming propels people towards crime whereas reintegrative shaming seeks to correct the behavior through respect and empathy. Critical Theories

    Critical Theories

    [2] Second, crime is a political concept. Not all those who commit crime are caught, nor are those who are caught punished. The poor are injured the most by the enforcement of laws, while the affluent (i.e., powerful) are treated leniently. Third, the criminal justice system and its agents serve the ruling class, the capitalists. As Jeffrey Reiman’s (2004) book titled it, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison.[3] Fourth, the root cause of crime is capitalism because capitalism ignores the poor and their atrocious living conditions. Capitalism demands profits and growth over values and ethically considerations. Perhaps this is why crimes of the streets are punished more severely than crimes of the suites. Finally, critical theories believe the solution to crime is a more equitable society, both politically and economically.

    Gender and Crime Exercise

    Write about how you were raised and how sex/gender roles were reinforced through school, family, culture, etc. Do you think men/boys/males are more criminal because of their biology or because of cultural expectations of men/boys/males versus women/girls/females? You should support your claims with personal, vicarious, or well-known examples.

    1. Braithwaite, J. (1989). Crime, shame and reintegration. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    2. Cullen, F.T., Agnew, R., & Wilcox, P. (Eds). (2018). Criminological theory: Past to present (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    3. Reiman, J. (2004). The rich get richer and the poor get prision: Ideology, class, and criminal justice. New York, NY: Pearson.

    This page titled 5.12: Other Criminological Theories is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Alison S. Burke, David Carter, Brian Fedorek, Tiffany Morey, Lore Rutz-Burri, & Shanell Sanchez (OpenOregon) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.