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Title: Rural crime and critical criminology
Contributor(s): Donnermeyer, Joseph F  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: If nothing else, critical criminology demonstrates the ability of scholarship to continuously divide and subdivide into new forms, much like one of those malevolent, alien space viruses from a helplessly had Hollywood bio-horror flick. Encompassing a range of monikers - Marxist, left realism, numerous forms of feminist criminology, and a potpourri of postmodernist approaches - its various proponents engage in a continuous debate over critical criminology's essential meaning and scope (Bessant, 2002; Russell, 2002). In one respect, this kind of intense dialogue about crime, deviance, punishment, justice, offending, victimization, corrections, prevention, and restoration is a healthy way to develop a set of alternative explanations and policy implications to mainstream versions of criminology, such as social disorganization, anomie, strain, social learning, differential association, and labelling theories (Tittle, 2000). On the proverbial "other hand," it becomes more challenging to apply critical criminology to new areas, such as rural crime, when no two scholars agree fully on what it is or what it should be. Hence, for the purposes of this chapter, critical criminology is accepted as a polyglot of concepts, theories, and interpretations about crime and deviance. However, this chapter also begins with the idea that all approaches to critical criminology argue for a structural explanation (yes, even the postmodernist varieties) of crime, that is, crime is rooted in economic, social, and political inequalities and social class, racism, hate, and other forms of segmented social organization, reinforced and rationalized by culturally derived relativistic definitions of conforming, deviant, and criminal actions, which separate, segregate, and otherwise cause governments at all levels and peoples everywhere to differentially and discriminately enforce offenders. All versions of critical criminology potentially can provide an understanding about how the specific contexts of crime may be unique expressions of values, beliefs, and norms by which one group controls and exploits "others," but these specific contexts are not uncommon and can be observed in a number of similar community/neighborhood and societal settings. In this sense, therefore, critical criminology's diversity of perspectives, from the macro to the micro, can be quite useful for furthering the study of rural crime because its eclectic combativeness with mainstream criminology allows scholars who turn their attention to crime in the non-urban context to understand how the particulars of crime in numerous and diverse rural settings inevitably have links to larger factors in ways strongly reminiscent of Mills's (1959) original description of the sociological imagination.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology, p. 289-301
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9780203864326
Field of Research (FOR): 160204 Criminological Theories
180119 Law and Society
180110 Criminal Law and Procedure
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 940405 Law Reform
940402 Crime Prevention
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Series Name: Routledge International Handbooks
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Editor: Editor(s): Walter S DeKeseredy and Molly Dragiewicz
Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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