Sociology Index

Critical Criminology

Classical Criminology, Post-Critical Criminology

Critical criminology is a form of criminology using conflict perspectives of some kind: Marxism, feminism, political economy theory or critical theory. In critical criminology, the focus is on locating the genesis of crime and the interpretation of what is ‘justice’ within a structure of social class and social status inequalities. In critical criminology, law and the definition and punishment of crime are then seen as connected to a system of social inequality and as tools for the reproduction of this inequality. Critical criminology should reconsider its role in relation to the discipline and ally itself even more closely with progressive social movements.

Facing Change: New Directions for Critical Criminology in the Early New Millennium? Richard Hil - Western Criminology Review 3 (2).
Abstract: The following article examines the process of self-reflection that has characterized critical criminology over recent years. This process of 'narcissistic contemplation' has resulted in a confused range of responses to the study of crime and crime control. Since 1970s, critical criminology has been characterised by a range of dramatic and often paradigmatic changes that have taken it from the bounds of social reaction theory and Marxism to its contemporary expression as a project focused on deconstruction and governmentality. Critical criminology has been left battered by the ebbs and flows of politics, history and theory over the past few decades, and it remains ontologically confronted by the challenge of 'relevance.'

Rethinking critical criminology: A panel discussion 
Rene van Swaaningen, Erasmus University, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
Ian Taylor, University of Salford, M5 4WT, UK - Journal Crime, Law and Social Change. Abstract This paper takes the form of a report on the panel discussion held at the conclusion of the 1992 meetings of the European Group for the Study of Deviant Behavior and Social Control in Padua in September 1992. In the light of a perceived crisis of relevance for earlier, 1970s notions of critique in criminology, and in the context of a conference dedicated to the theme of human rights in a uniting Europe, eight panellists from Italy, England, and Canada via Ireland debated their different versions of the project of critical criminology in the last years of the twentieth century.

Criticism and Criminology: In Search of Legitimacy - George Pavlich, Univ of Auckland - Theoretical Criminology, Vol. 3, No. 1, 29-51 (1999). Although the new criminology held a mandate to advance novel critical genres, it developed a radical program at the expense of studying the bases of its critique. By overlooking the latter, influential strands of radical criminology like left realism have inadvertently succumbed to the lure of an insubstantial critical pragmatism. Here, critique claims legitimacy either on the basis of an ability to secure universal emancipation, or increase managerial efficiency. By not paying sufficient attention to such issues, many critical criminologists have not appreciated the extent to which their favored critical genres are ill-suited to an ethos wracked by uncertainty. I refer to developments within critical criminology.

Richard Quinney's Journey: The Marxist Dimension - Kevin B. Anderson 
Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 48, No. 2, 232-242 (2002).
The relationship of Richard Quinney's critical criminology to Marxism is explored in this article. The originality of his version of critical criminology is discussed, from its origins in social constructionism, to his engagement with Marxism in the 1970s, to the importance in his later work of issues such as existentialism, Eastern thought, and Erich Fromm's socialist humanism.

Reclaiming Critical Criminology: Social Justice and the European Tradition 
RENE VAN SWAANINGEN, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands 
This article seeks to examine the relevance of the continental European tradition in critical criminology for the theoretical elaboration of criminological theory today. How did critical criminology develop historically on the European continent? The social and cultural developments which accompanied the heyday of critical criminology in the 1970s is analysed, and an expose is given of the spectrum of the different critical perspectives on the continent. The same cultural sociological line of thought is followed in the explanation of the rather abrupt decline of critical criminology. The need for a normative counter-weight to present-day, managerial political discourse which follows from these analyses also forms the prelude to a reaffirmation of critical criminology. A reconstruction of critical criminology is proposed.

Critical Criminology, Existential Humanism, and Social Justice: Exploring the Contours of Conceptual Integration - Arrigo B.A., Critical Criminology, Vol 10, Num. 2, 2001. Abstract: The relationship between critical criminology and social justice has been well documented, but efforts to provide a unified theory of social justice that cuts across and embodies the various strains of critical criminological thought have not been systematically researched. One useful approach for engaging in such a project comes from existential humanism, which draws attention to a number of life themes and is compatible with critical criminology's commitment to radical social change. This article provisionally explores the boundaries of theoretical synthesis, mindful of those complex issues upon which successful conceptual integration depends, including definitions, assumptions, domains of inquiry, and modes of integration. This discussion concludes with an outline of the implications of a commentary for the future of critical criminology.

Critical Criminology in the Classroom. - Authors: Kramer, Ronald C. 
Abstract: The major objective of the labeling perspective and conflict/power approaches to teaching college level criminology is to increase student understanding of crime as a sociological phenomenon. The labeling perspective maintains that the way in which criminology concepts are defined influences the kinds of questions and issues which are focused upon. Conflict/power approaches assume that criminality is not a particular behavior although it is defined as behavior by those who create and administer the criminal law. The author proposes that criminology teachers can help students understand the importance of labels and the process of criminalization by organizing an introductory criminology course.

Rebuilding Utopia? Critical criminology and the difficult road of reconstruction in Latin America 
Journal Crime, Law and Social Change 
Carlos Alberto Elbert - Universities of Buenos Aires and, USA, del Litoral, de la Patagonia. Abstract This contribution assesses the developmentof criminology, during the last few decades, and contemplates the future course of critical criminology in view of developments in current capitalism, and their impact on "Third World'' societies.

CRITICAL CRIMINOLOGY AND PENAL GUARANTEEISM. Cap. Criminol., Oct. 2005, vol.33, no.4, p.429-444. ISSN 0798-9598. - LEAL SUAREZ, Luisa and GARCIA PIRELA, Adela. 
Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to present some reflections on the importance of penal guaranteeism as a theoretical-methodological tool in order to approach the objective of the study of Critical Criminology, and as a rationalization strategy in punitive control. In this sense certain aspects generated in criminological thought as to the reference to “social contract” as a basis for the legitimization of state punitive jurisdiction. The arguments center around a questioning of certain basic postulates of guaranteeism that could be seen as contradictory to the critical character of criminology and within its limitation, as a pacifying mechanism in social conflict.

British and U.S. Left Realism: A Critical Comparison 
Walter S. DeKeseredy, Carleton University, Ottawa, Martin D. Schwartz, Ohio University
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol. 35, No. 3, 248-262 (1991)
Left realism has generated enormous interest and controversy in critical criminology over the past several years both in North America and in the United Kingdom. While there are important similarities between the writings from these countries, there are also some deep differences and divisions.

Left Out? The Coverage of Critical Perspectives in Introductory Criminology Textbooks, 1990-1999 - Richard A. Wright 
Journal: Critical Criminologyy Volume:9 Issue:1/2 Dated:Autumn 2000 Pages:101 to 122
This article studies the coverage of critical perspectives in 34 introductory criminology textbooks published from 1990 to 1999. 
The article measures the average number of pages that the textbooks devote to critical criminology and compares the amounts of space the books give to these perspectives. It assesses the claim that texts that discuss critical perspectives "limit themselves to ancient intellectual and political battles and a detailed coverage of long discredited leftist theories." The article confirms that critical/radical perspectives in general, but in particular recent developments in critical criminology (including critical feminism, left realism, peacemaking criminology, and postmodern criminology) are often omitted from contemporary criminology textbooks.

Erich Fromm and Critical Criminology: Beyond the Punitive Society
Kevin Anderson and Richard Quinney, editors. - Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000, 176 pp.
Richard Quinney makes more of an effort to connect Fromm’s socialist humanism to critical criminology.

Ian Taylor, Crime in Context: A Critical Criminology of Market Societies 
Barak G. - Source: Critical Criminology, Volume 10, Number 2, 2001, pp. 137-145(9)

The Rise of Critical Criminology - Gresham M. Sykes
The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-), Vol. 65, No. 2 (Jun., 1974), pp. 206-213

The American Society of Criminology:
The American Society of Criminology is an international organization concerned with criminology, embracing scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the etiology, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. This includes the measurement and detection of crime, legislation, the practice of criminal law, as well as a review of the law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems. 

Critical Justice
Welcome to Critical Justice, the web-based journal component of This site includes writings provided by members of the ASC Division on Critical Criminology and ACJS Section on Critical Criminology. Over time, content previously posted in a variety of formats will be moved to this format. Although Critical Justice is not intended to be a continuing online journal, this technology provides many benefits and offers a foundation for future site content. We hope Critical Justice will become an additional resource in our efforts to imagine and communicate the vision of a humanistic system of justice. 
The American Society of Criminology (ASC) Division on Critical Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Section on Critical Criminology:

Cutting the Edge: Current Perspectives in Radical/Critical Criminology and Criminal Justice. - Review - book review
International Social Science Review, Fall-Winter, 2000 by Rick A. Matthews
Jeffrey Ian Ross, Cutting the Edge: Current Perspectives in Radical/Critical Criminology and Criminal Justice. Praeger, 1998
Jeffrey Ian Ross notes in the preface to this anthology that the individual contributions made by the authors are at the "cutting edge of radical/critical criminology and criminal justice." Overall, neither this statement by Ross nor this title of the book is misleading.
Cutting the Edge, which is primarily intended for a student audience, contains twelve chapters and is divided into two sections. The contributors to this volume represent a good cross-section of those scholars and/or activists working within the radical/critical tradition, some of whom are distinguished figures within the field of criminology.
In the first section (seven chapters) the authors explore advancements in radical/critical criminological theory. Collectively, these chapters are cutting edge because the authors explore theoretical territories which have been neglected within the broader field of criminology (e.g., demonstrating the potential contributions to criminology of the sociologist Simmel and the psychoanalyst Lacan).

How did critical criminology develop historically on the European continent?

Books On Critical Criminology

Critical Voices in Criminology by David Christopher Powell.

Cutting the Edge: Current Perspectives in Radical/Critical Criminology and Criminal Justice by Jeffrey Ian Ross.

The Critical Criminology Companion by Thalia Anthony.

Critical Criminology: Issues, Debates, Challenges by Kerry Carrington and Russell Hogg.

Primer in Radical Criminology: Critical Perspectives on Crime, Power and Identity, Fourth Edition by Michael J. Lynch and Raymond Michalowski.

Controversies in Critical Criminology by Marti Schwartz.

The New Primer in Radical Criminology: Critical Perspectives on Crime, Power and Identity by Michael J. Lynch, Raymond J. Michalowski, and W. Byron Groves.

Erich Fromm and Critical Criminology: BEYOND THE PUNITIVE SOCIETY by Kevin Anderson and Richard Quinney.

Philosophy, Crime, and Criminology (Critical Perspectives in Criminology) by Bruce A. Arrigo and Christopher R. Williams.

Critical Criminology at the Edge: Postmodern Perspectives, Integration, and Applications by Dragan Milovanovic.

Organized Crime (Critical Concepts in Criminology) by Federico Varese.

Private Prisons in America: A Critical Race Perspective (Critical Perspectives in Criminology) by Michael A. Hallett and Randall Shelden.

Restorative Justice (Critical Concepts in Criminology) by Carolyn Hoyle.

Crime Reduction (Critical Concepts in Criminology) Crime Reduction (Critical Concepts in Criminology) (Hardcover) by Kate Moss (Editor) Routledge; 1 edition.