Criminology by Edwin H. Sutherland, Donald R. Cressey

By Edwin H. Sutherland, Donald R. Cressey

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Poverty and genocide were rediscovered all over the planet, there all the time in our midst. Inevitably, this return of history and materialism meant a revision of the social. Some critical criminologists embraced revolutionary socialism and a complete overhaul of the state. The New Criminology (Taylor et al. 1973) criticized sociological criminology, both orthodox and interactionist, and called for a fully "social theory of deviance"; crime became part of the political struggle, a response to unacceptable social norms and conditions.

Most scientists of "the social," whether orthodox or liberal, overlooked the fact that so-called social deviants usually did not reject but actually expressed conventional capitalistic values - norms of property acquisition, aggressive upward mobility, competitive selfishness, and geographical mobility - and all too frequently acted in league with authoritative institutions. This "oversight" was the root of many analytic problems later. It rather betrayed the fact that "the social" was now, in truth, officially at odds with unrestrained capitalism, or, put another way, that capitalism itself generated huge internal conflicts between its individualistic core logic and the collective aspirations it encouraged.

Foucauldianism replaced disciplinary power with a celebration of excess. It amounted to an indiscriminate support for political and cultural amorality, overlooking Nietzsche's cynicism (1969 [1887]) about the ressentiment of rebel groups and their capability of replacing one policing system with another of equal abhorrence. THE SOCIAL AS CULTURE As the preceding argument has explained, the "social" in post-1945 sociology has lost its economic and political meanings. It has become a neutral term devoid of its normative reforming message.

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