Tracing theoretical approaches to crime and social control: From functionalism to postmodernism
LE3 .A278 2010
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis engages in secondary analysis, and is designed to inform the reader of misconceptions associated with how we come to understand crime and the criminal within modern westernized capitalistic society. Typically the majority of persons tend to blame the criminal for his or her committed crimes. However, many social theorists view crime and the notion of the criminal to be products of the institutional structures and cultural values that enforce capitalism. Accordingly, this thesis explores a variety of social theorists, from functionalists to postmodernists, in an attempt to understand the gaps present within criminological and sociological discourse; and offers the reader a multi- dimensional view of the individual criminal. To accomplish this, Chapter 1 offers the reader introductory information that helps to contextualize the points made throughout the thesis; Chapter 2 explores the forefathers of functionalism and the progression of such, ultimately leading to Robert Merton‘ s theory of anomie; Chapter 3 explores the progression of the capitalist socio-economic system and the values enforced through that system, allowing for the discussion of Karl Marx‘ s Critical and Conflict theories; Chapter 4 explores Michel Foucault‘ s notion of the docile body and disciplinarians of power, which assists the reader in understanding unequal power distributions present within capitalistic social structures; and finally, the conclusion will restate some of the main points made throughout the thesis. I conclude that crime and the notion of the criminal is a socially constructed byproduct of capitalism— one that serves the reproduction of the powerful elites.
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