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Theories of Cultural Criminology

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2436 words Published: 15th Aug 2018

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Contemporary Issues in Criminology: Cultural Criminology

Critically discuss its theoretical underpinnings and evaluate whether this theoretical approach serves as a useful explanation of criminal behavior in modern Britain.

Cultural criminology is the approach to the investigation of crime that its criminality and its control are based in the context of culture. This means, that institutions of crime control, and crime by it self are seen as products of culture. Cultural criminology’s study is approached with theories, methods, and political analysis. There are two key elements that interact, and cultural criminology wants to pay its attention on this interaction which is between: the ascending and descending of the connection of constructions.

It always focuses upon the adjoining generation of meaning around this interaction such as: making and breaking of the rules of law, innovation and infringement in politics. (www.culturalcriminology.org)

Particularly, cultural criminology is an observation performed by Ferrell & Sanders (1995), and implemented by Redhead (1995) and others and linked specific academic threads to discover the meeting of cultural and criminal procedures in current social life. (Kane 1998)

In modern society the crime practice and crime control, with cultural dynamics, are connected and cultural criminology discovers the various ways in which they connect. In other words, what cultural criminology supports, is the idea that the centrality of meaning and representation in the structure of crime as a temporary fact.

From this point of view, the traditional ideas of crime and crime awareness to add pictures of illegal behavior and symbolic appearances of law reinforcement, famous culture structures of crime and criminal behavior. Scholars are allowed from this big interest and concentration on culture, and people have better understanding of crime, as remarkable activity, and also comprehends the politics that contest for criminal control. (www.culturalcriminology.org)

Cultural criminology unites at a very high level, the clear-sight of sociological criminology with the orientations toward picture and design, which is given by the cultural studies area.

Cultural criminology has appeared from a much more mixed co-process of criminology, sociology and of course cultural analysis and this is because of the wide contribution of criminology and culture combined.

This appearance was the basic track for the well educated people who worked in association with the Birmingham School of Cultural studies, the National Deviancy Conference, and in Great Britain with the ‘new criminology’ in the 1970s. (www.culturalcriminology.org)

After reviewing the kind of modern power, the academics studied the extensions of social level that had to do with culture and ideology. Forbidden subcultures but also easy-going countries (that have another meaning of life), have been observed by those academics. After the observation, they examined what came in between these two different ideologies who guide lawful control and social inspection. (www.culturalcriminology.org)

Any regulation that is living and affluent is a topic to ordinary processes of regeneration and refreshment. Criminology is the alike. It has had its humanist Marxist, feminist, and rationalist, between other reappearances and is presently being delighted to one more ‘paradigm shift’ in the shape of a self-styled ‘cultural criminology’.

A current unique issue is Theoretical Criminology (2004), which was dedicated to the appearance and predictions of this new kid on the rational block. According to Hayward and Young’s (2004:259) opening essay of the particular topic, cultural criminology is: ‘the placing of crime and its control in the background of culture; that is, observing both crime and the organization of control as cultural products –as inspired creations. (O’Brien 2005, p. 599)

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The main area that new criminology examines most, is how actors derive meaning, and also looks on how to use the analysis of the examination they are focusing on, to find what leads to breaching the law as every day routine. (ibid.: 260, 266). Understanding its mental heritage in 1960s radicalism and by noticing and observing the strange and not well known subcultures upon that radicalism as more of criminological work, the argument pays attention to its humane certifications and oppositional political motions. “Indeed, cultural criminology describes it self as, and delights in, working ‘at the margins of ‘mainstream’ criminology, for two reasons, first, because ‘it is here, in these forgotten spaces that the story of crime so often unfolds, and secondly because mainstream criminology is dominated by ‘administrative rationalization and statistical complexity”. (O’Brien 2005, Ferrell 1999 p. 599)

Whether a new mental try does not actually stands for what cultural criminology really is, instead of a logical process of past work on different subcultures is still in question, and it is worth it if is a category it self and given a suitable historical reflection. (O’Brien 2005, p. 599)

Usually, criminal behavior means sub cultural behavior. Individuals and activities which are known as criminals are formally produced by the limits of different and criminal subcultures. Criminologists have accredited this from the interactionist criminology of the Chicago School and Edwin

Sutherland to the sub cultural theories of Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin. (Ferrell, 1995 p.26)

Either if it is carried out by a group of people, or just by one person, specific criminal acts are usually set up within incited by sub cultural. Even though the boundaries may still have an inaccurate definition, and the membership may increase in numbers as well as the level of commitment, these subcultures include final human relationships for those who take part in them. “Biker, hustler, Blood and Crip, all name sub cultural networks as much as individual personalities.”(Ferrell, 1995 p.26)

As Sutherland and the Chicago School knew from fifty years ago , and while immeasurable case studies have been certified, criminal subcultures merge not only proximities of personal relationship. To be able to discuss about criminal subculture, the ability to accredit a group of people and a truss of symbols, meaning and education is required. Members of criminal subcultures always adapt and discuss ‘motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes’, they perform a different kind of language, look/style, personality and they take part at a larger or smaller level, in a subculture, a way of life which they chose.(Ferrell, 1995 p.26)

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The sub cultural meaning mostly action, personality, and status is organized around the style which the subculture’s member decide to have. Delicacies of chosen style, defines what crime means, and difference for sub cultural members, agents of legal control, consumers of intercede crime pictures and other people. We must be clever enough to understand the criminal acts and chosen aesthetics they have for their selves. (Ferrell, 1995 p.26-27)

“Katz's research, for example, has linked criminal acts and aesthetics by examining the styles and symbolic meanings which emerge inside the everyday dynamics of criminal events and criminal subcultures. By paying attention to dark sunglasses and white undershirts, to precise styles of walking, talking, and otherwise presenting one's criminal identity, Katz has sketched the "alternative deviant culture," the "coherent deviant ‘a’esthetic" in which badasses, cholos, punks, youth gang members, and others participate.

In these cases, as in other forms of crime on and off the street, the meaning of criminality is anchored in the style of its collective practice. The biker's ritually reconstructed motorcycle, the gang member's sports clothing and tattoos, the graffiti writer's mysterious street images, and the skinhead's violently provocative music constitute the essential cultural and sub cultural materials out of which criminal projects and criminal identities are constructed and displayed. Once again, participation in a criminal subculture, or in the "culture of crime," means participation in the symbolism and style, the collective aesthetic environment, of criminality.” (Ferrell, 1995 p.27)

A recent study by the British cultural studies tradition to Katz and other new criminologists has concluded that style and symbolism not only bind with the wide social and lawful relations in which these subcultures are caught. Criminal subcultures and their styles accelerate out of school, age, ethnicity, gender and legal inequalities repeat and resist these social wrong lines. This interaction of sub cultural style, inequality and power in turn, reminds of Becker’s classic criminological thoughtless that we have to investigate, criminal subcultures and also legal and political powers who built these subcultures as criminal.

After we do the study, we see that these powers (authorities) both opposing to sub cultural styles, and themselves, putting symbolic and stylish strategies of their own against them. The criminalization attempts of legal and political supporters show again the control of cultural forces. In criminalizing cultural and sub cultural actions, and demonstrating for public support, ethical capitalists and legal authorities influence legal and political structures, but possibly more, so structures of mass symbolism and perception. (Ferrell, 1995 p.27, 28)

To seize the real meaning of criminalization and crime, cultural criminology should count the powers of criminal subcultures as well as for the powers of mass media. Nowadays, intervene pictures of crime and criminal abuse, is harming as slowly-slowly and by doing that, helps the public to draw opinions and policies that have to do with crime. But obviously these modern cases construct on latest interceded constructions of crime and its control. In the United States, criminalization of marijuana fifty years ago was based on a try to wake people up to see the danger and face it, as unambiguously defective symbol in Los Angeles newspapers. (Ferrell, 1995 p.28)

“In the mid-1960s, shocking media reports of rape and assault placed the circumstance for a permissible campaign in opposition to the Hell's Angels; and at approximately the matching time, lawful harassments on British mods and rockers were lawful throughout the media's consumption of "sensitive symbols.” In the 1970s, the "mutual relations" amid the British mass media and criminal justice system formed a discernment that mugging was "a terrifying new injures of crime." And throughout the 1980s and untimely 1990s, mediated horror legends justified "wars" on drugs, gangs, and graffiti in the United States, and shaped instants of mediated "moral panic" over child cruelty and child pornography in Great Britain.” (Ferrell, 1995 p.28)

This concentration on cultural dynamics, the composition of deviant intellectual opinions, the motion behind obedient frontiers, show the probabilities for a reviewable cultural criminology and a kind of postmodern cultural criminology too. Contemporary public, feminist and cultural theories are increasingly moving behind obedient limitations and divide categories to build synthetic, postmodern expectations on cultural and social life. Although grated by their eclectic and divergent parts, these opinions use some same general ideas, between them, the perception that the everyday culture of people and the everyday culture of people and teams merges strong and clashing separations of style and meaning. (Ferrell, 1995 p.36)

“The symbolism and style of social interaction, the culture of everyday life -- in this way forms a contested political terrain, embodying patterns of inequality, power, and privilege. And these patterns are in turn intertwined with larger structures of mediated information and entertainment, cultural production and consumption, and legal and political authority. As the sort of cultural criminology outlined here develops, it can integrate criminology into these synthetic lines of situated inquiry now emerging under broad headings like "postmodernism" and "cultural studies."” (Ferrell, 1995 p.28)

Although grated but their electric and divergent parts, these opinions use some sane general ideas, between them, the perception that the everyday culture of people and teams merges strong and clashing separations of style and meaning. Consequently cultural criminology gives the chance to criminologists, to reinforce their own thoughts and beliefs on crime with perceptive from different areas, but providing at the same time for their colleagues in the studies of culture, sociology of culture, studies on media, and wherever they can adopt their thoughts from, criminalization, and their connection to political and cultural procedures.

Folding or breaching the motions of criminology in order to build a cultural criminology, undercuts modern criminology, not more that it extends and vitalizes it. Cultural criminology extends criminology’s sectors contain words conventionally considered external to it like: popular music, style, media operations and texts, and gallery act. Likely, criminology is introduced in contemporary discourses with these worlds and gives a termination of criminological perspectives are very important to them. Crime and culture’s relation, and the wider relation among criminology and modern social, cultural life, are both of them enlighten within cultural criminology. (Ferrell, 1995 p.36-37)


Ferrell, J. (1995) Culture, Crime, and Cultural Criminology [on-line]. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture. Available from: - http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol3is2/culture.html [Accessed 1 March 2008]

O’ Briem, M. (2005) what is cultural about cultural criminology? British Journal Criminology, [On-line] Available from: URL: E:Uni'ModulesWhat is Cultural about Cultural Criminology -- O’Brien 45 (5) 599 -- British Journal of Criminology.htm [1 [Accessed 2 March 2008].

Ferrell, J. Cultural criminology. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology [on-line]. Available from: -http://www.culturalcriminology.org/papers/cult-crim-blackwell-ency-soc.pdf


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