Sample Criminal Justice Essay Paper on Chapter Analysis and Reflection

Chapter Analysis and Reflection


In order to explain the growth of criminological conflict theory, there are three factors pointed out in the book. They include, impact of the hostilities in Vietnam on American people, growth of the counterculture and the rising political remonstration over inequity and the use of police power of the government to hold back political dissent. In its intense form, social construction utilizes the idealist philosophical custom that social realism has no sovereign subsistence outside the human intellect (Lilly, Cullen, & Ball, 2014). Humans construe the world and make brief representations that they believe replicate a fundamental reality. Nonetheless, majority of social constructionists are not entirely relativists but they are more moderate. They presume that, some basic reality exists and that even social constructions, once formed, have a level of reality. Therefore, if activities, events, and experiences are categorized as similar and labeled in particular ways, they will appear as symbols of object-like realities with actual impacts that may be experienced positively or else negatively. Therefore criminals should not be seen as social misfits, but to a certain extent they are a product of the society in which they live in.

Chapter Analysis and Reflection

According to the book, theories that concentrate on struggles among individuals and groups in relation to power gaps fall into the class of conflict theory. Marx and Engels stated their concern over the obvious decline in social harmony in mid-1800s. They argued that, crime was to some degree an indication of this decline and would diminish if social cohesion could be reclaimed. Durkheim differed from Marx and Engels in their analysis of the basis of the erosion of harmony and their recommendation for its re-establishment. Durkheim viewed the condition as a moral issue and argued that the social cohesion of the future would rely on a successful amalgamation of controls through various modes of societal integration (Lilly et al., 2014).

Capitalism was thought to be at the source of the conflict since it was the basis of unfair inequality. In this regard, better integration and regulation would merely tend to bring about an unjust economic structure. In relation to Marx and Engels, one technique of solving the issue of collapsing social cohesion (conflict) was to wipe out capitalism and build only one structure of social solidarity which is communism. Capitalism controls and exploits the working class and hence preventing them from protesting (Lilly et al., 2014). There was the growing political dissent against discrimination, mainly ethnic discrimination and the use of the police force to hold back political dissent.

According to this chapter, there are a number of factors behind the change to new conflict theory. First there was an intense cynicism toward any hypothesis that related crime to something concerning the individual. Also, older suppositions that criminal law characterized the shared will of the people and the idea that law is a social contract was discarded (Lilly et al., 2014). The other factor is that, it had become apparent that the crime rate statistics did not reveal the sum of criminal behavior truly present in society.

 According to Marx crime and deviance were ruled by the social class and a person would be punished if he/she could not abide to the dominant. However, Loraine Sneider claimed that, there are more predatory crimes committed by companies and yet robbery and burglary are regularly viewed as the most serious forms of crime. People have expanded Marxism in various ways but the chapter talks about two main ways in which Marxism is developed. The first form is those who view capitalism as creating the have and have not (Lilly et al., 2014). In this regard, crime is viewed as the result of the cruel conditions the working class is subjected to and therefore forced to turn to crime. Also criminals are not social nonconformists, but they are rather the creation of the society in which they live in. The second way focuses less on capitalism but more on how people in political power describe crime and policy making. In this regard, individuals in political power are in charge of the definitions of crime, the courts and the law enforcement for example control how the Criminal Justice System is run. Criminal acts are normally defined as everything that attacks private property. The legal structure is a tool of the ruling people, planned to defend the ruling class and this explains why it is so hard to arrest someone (Lilly et al., 2014).

This chapter has made it clear that, as capitalist groups develop and the gap among the bourgeoisie and the proletariat expands, penal law will enlarge in an attempt to pressurize the proletariat into giving in. In line with Chambliss, crime reduces surplus work by creating employment not just for the criminals but also for police welfare personnel, and criminology experts. The chapter has made me understand that, felony is a reality which exists simply because it is created by those individuals in the society whose benefits are served by its existence.


Lilly, J. R., Cullen, F. T., & Ball, R. A. (2014). Criminological theory: Context and consequences. Sage Publications.