conflict perspective | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminology

The conflict perspective in criminology is a theoretical approach that emphasizes the role of social, economic, and political power in shaping criminal behavior and the operation of the criminal justice system. It is based on the idea that crime is not simply the result of individual choices or pathologies but rather is influenced by the wider social and economic structures in which individuals live.

According to the conflict perspective, crime is often committed by people who are marginalized or disadvantaged in society and that criminal laws and enforcement practices are used to maintain the status quo and protect the interests of those in positions of power. This perspective views crime as a function of social and economic conflict and suggests that the traditional criminal justice system is biased and disproportionately targets marginalized groups.

Proponents of the conflict perspective argue that the traditional criminal justice system is inadequate in addressing the root causes of crime and that alternative approaches, such as restorative justice programs, are needed to address social and economic inequality and promote social justice.

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Last Modified: 01/08/2023


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