Essay on Compare and Contrast Criminological Theories

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Criminological theories interpret the competing paradigms of Human Nature, Social Order, Definition of Crime, Extent and Distribution of Crime, Causes of Crime, and Policy, differently. Even though these theories have added to societies understanding of criminal behaviour, all have been unable to explain why punishment or treatment of offenders is unable to prevent deviancy, and thus are ineffective methods of control. The new penology is a contemporary response that favours the management of criminals by predicting future harm on society. However, all criminological theories are linked as they are a product of the historical time and place, and because of their contextual history, they will continue to reappear depending on the current…show more content…
Strain theory and New Deviancy Theory (NDT) are mirror images of those above. Strain theory understands human nature to be socially constructed, where, committing a crime is produced by society not from individual instincts, favouring a deterministic perspective but also recognising that individuals rationalise from inside their determined position to achieve their aspirations. However, methods of innovation, ritualism, retreatism, or rebellion are not included under human rationality. Combining voluntaristic and determinacy is a main feature in NDT, although, they argue that while individuals are born free, they lose their agency in societal frameworks that manage behaviour; the state. The problem with this is that it ignores class conflict and therefore denies the basic causes of crime. In opposition to all previous perspectives is Marxism. These theorists claim that humans are social beings and are products of their own history. As a result, it does not resolve conflicting approaches, but suggests crime is a justifiable adaptive behaviour for some groups that have been criminalised by more powerful societal members. This entails the problem of specificity, where it focuses on the whole society instead of on individuals or groups. Comparing the paradigm of human nature to Feeley and Simons’ (1992) New Penology, the notion
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