Feminist and Conflict Theories of Criminal Behavior
The feminist theory of criminology emphasizes gender as the main area of concern and mainly tries to comprehend social institutions, processes, and relationships. The core argument of feminism is that women are oppressed and discriminated against in a society that is governed by men who make the laws and perpetuate the marginalization of women.
Among the forms of feminist crimes are ignored by mainstream criminology and include:
- The generalization problem questions whether the male-centered theories apply to the women;
- Gender ratio problem: this explains the notion that women are not like men and they demonstrate a minimal likelihood of engaging in criminal activity.
The feminist theory has underlined the fact that gender norms and values are important in the criminal justice system. The variables of this theory are Marxist feminists and radical feminists. Marxists believe that women are subordinate to men, whereas, on the other hand, radical feminists argue that men use violence against women in their attempt to maintain patriarchy.
The feminist theory of criminology focuses on the following aspects; victimization of women explains gender disparity in crimes, gender biasness in the criminal justice system, and explains women’s criminality. Since gender differences in delinquency have proved difficult to explain, there have been calls for gender-specific theories to explain crime, this is despite both genders suffering from similar criminogenic conditions. This calls for the application of Sutherland’s theory of differential association and Gilligan’s theory of moral development. The theory explained that men are more likely to have delinquent friends than females.
The conflict theory
This was formulated by Max Weber, and its central argument is based on social change in society during the industrial revolution and social conflict. The numerous classes of conflict in the society and criminality exist in every society due to the inherent political struggles by the various groups who would want to advance their chances of survival. Also, the desire by the several individuals to advance their own interests might result in the conflict of interests which is in itself a conflict act; they also believe that their points will be fundamental in the reduction and elimination of gender equality in the spheres of criminality and the criminal justice system.
According to conflict theorists, crime is human conduct that is perpetuated by the dominant classes in any political society. Although correctional and penal programs exist, it is the rich who have the power to manipulate the policies where dominant interests prevail over the interests of the weak. Also, the definition of crime, according to the conflict theorists, is defined based on the circumstance and the situation and always varies depending on the individual classes of the criminal. Those in power do not apply the law but have delegated the purpose of administering law to the agents like the courts and the police who administer them.
Solving the issue of criminology in society calls for concerted efforts from all the subjects interested in maintaining law and order in society. It is worth noting that one method may not solve the problem of breaking the law singly hence the need for collaboration of the various authorities involved in maintaining law and order. The contribution of scholars can not be underestimated in the field of crime control. They have made a significant contribution towards enabling people to understand criminology. The theories which have been developed have assisted to an extent in ensuring that crime is controlled.