Introduction to critical criminology
Introduction to critical criminology

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Introduction to critical criminology

Key features of critical criminology

The following box identifies some of the key characteristics of critical criminological perspectives.

Key features of critical criminology

  • Human action is voluntaristic (to different degrees), rather than determined (or in some formulations, voluntary in determining contexts).
  • Social order is pluralistic or conflictual, rather than consensual.
  • Some critical theories draw on Marxist analysis and begin from the premise that capitalist economic policies lead to immiseration, which thereby create conditions in which turning to crime becomes a viable survival strategy.
  • Criminalisation strategies are class-, race- and gender-control strategies that are consciously used to depoliticise political resistance and to control economically and politically marginalised neighbourhoods and groups.
  • Moral panics about crime being out of control are used to deflect attention away from inherent structural conflicts.
  • Orthodox crime control strategies are incapable of tackling the crimes of the powerful and state crimes.
  • Legal categories that claim to be race/gender neutral are riddled with white, male assumptions of what constitutes normal or reasonable behaviour.
  • ‘Mainstream’ criminology requires exposure as a criminology of the state.
  • The criminological agenda should be expanded to include those social harms ignored or underplayed in dominant discourse, such as gendered and racialised violence, poverty, war, crimes of the powerful, environmental crime, state sanctioned violence and crimes against humanity.
Source: adapted from Muncie, J. (2004)
D867_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371