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By Don Crewe (auth.)
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Extra info for Becoming Criminal: The Socio-Cultural Origins of Law, Transgression, and Deviance
Conventionally this is the case in order that crime, should its causes be known, may be prevented. It will be one of the significant, at least implicit contentions of this book that this is an inherently flawed quest, in that crime, as Hulsman (1986) elegantly has put it, has no ontological reality. That is, ‘crime’ does not refer to any coherent group of behaviours, but merely a resultant classification of certain acts, emergent from certain socio-cultural processes. 2 For example, Marxist-inspired radical criminology implies that crime can be reduced through the understanding that it is caused by conflict in the mode of economic production.
Marx held that the ‘species-being’ of man was labour and that he was, in market societies, alienated from that nature. Marx examined his ideas dialectically and concluded that in capitalist societies, a class can be identified that appropriates to itself a surplus from the division of labour that it does not pay for. This surplus it can set to the task of securing the means of reproduction of the surplus. Marx further believed that the ‘should’ of reason would result inevitably in the polarization of the two main classes – proletariat and bourgeoisie – the dawn of socialism, and justice.
If you use inductive procedures you can call yourself ‘reasonable’ – and isn’t that nice! (369) Furthermore, criminologically speaking, this means that claims to be able to predict, or even show the likelihood of future offending based on observation of past offending must be regarded with significant scepticism, and this is of importance in many criminological arenas, not least where the assessment of future risk posed by potential parolees is concerned, or indeed where any actuarial techniques are used to manage problems of crime and criminal justice.
Becoming Criminal: The Socio-Cultural Origins of Law, Transgression, and Deviance by Don Crewe (auth.)