Critique of the Legal Order: Crime Control in Capitalist Society

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Overview

Originally published thirty years ago, Critique of the Legal Order remains highly relevant for the twenty-first century. Here Richard Quinney provides a critical look at the legal order in capitalist society. Using a traditional Marxist perspective, he argues that the legal order is not intended to reduce crime and suffering, but to maintain class differences and a social order that mainly benefits the ruling class.

Quinney challenges modern criminologists to examine their own positions. As "ancillary agents of power," criminologists provide information that governing elites use to manipulate and control those who threaten the system. Quinney's original and thorough analysis of "crime control bureaucracies" and the class basis of such bureaucracies anticipates subsequent research and theorizing about the "crime control industry," a system that aims at social control of marginalized populations, rather than elimination of the social conditions that give rise to crime. He forcefully argues that technology applied to a "war against crime," together with academic scholarship, is used to help maintain social order to benefit a ruling class.

Quinney also suggests alternatives. Anticipating the work of Noam Chomsky, he suggests we must first overcome a powerful media that provides a "general framework" that serves as the "boundary of expression." Chomsky calls this the manufacture of consent by providing necessary illusions. Quinney calls for a critical philosophy that enables us to transcend the current order and seek an egalitarian socialist order based upon true democratic principles. This core study for criminologists should interest those with a critical perspective on contemporary society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765807977
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Quinney is professor emeritus of sociology at Northern Illinois University. His books and articles have covered such varied topics as criminology, law, religion and spirituality. His criminology books, published early in his career, became legendary to an entire generation of criminologists. These books include The Social Reality of Crime, The Problem of Crime, Criminal Behavior Systems, Critique of Legal Order, Class, State and Crime and Criminology as Peacemaking.

Randall G. Shelden is professor in the department of criminal justice, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the author of Controlling the Dangerous Classes: A Critical Introduction to the History of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice in America: A Sociological Approach and co-author of Girls, Delinquency and Jeeline Justice and Youth Gangs in American Society.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface
1 A Critical Philosophy of Legal Order 1
The Positivistic Mode 2
The Social Constructionist Mode 5
The Phenomenological Mode 8
Critical Philosophy 11
Developing a Critical Philosophy of Legal Order 15
2 Knowledge and Order 17
The Search for Order 18
Sociology of Law 22
Criminology 26
Scholarship in the Service of Social Control 32
Social Science and the Violence Commission 43
Behavior Manipulation and Control 47
3 Preservation of Domestic Order by the Ruling Class 51
The Class Structure of Capitalist Society 51
Law as an Arm of the Ruling Class 55
Class Basis of the President's Crime Commission 60
The Riot Commission and the Violence Commission 68
The Omnibus Crime Bill 75
Shaping Domestic Policy: The CED 82
Crime Control Bureaucracies 86
The Revolutionary Consequences of the Capitalist Crisis 93
4 Crime Control in the Capitalist State 95
The Capitalist State 95
Legislation of Crime Control 99
Crime Control Bureaucracy: LEAA 105
Legal Repression by the Justice Department 111
The Technology of Crime Control 119
War on Crime: Strategy and Action 124
Reform, Repression, and Resistance 132
5 Ideology of Legal Order 137
Legal Ideology in Capitalist Society 138
The Moral Basis of the Legal Order 140
Civil Liberties and Selective Repression 143
Shaping Public Opinion about Crime 149
Mass Media in the Transmission of Official Ideology 155
Transcending the Official Ideology 162
6 Toward a Socialist Society 165
The Contradictions of Capitalism 166
Reform as Adaptive Mechanism 168
Criminal Justice Reforms 170
The Oppression of Correctional Reform 181
The Socialist Alternative 186
Emerging Revolutionary Consciousness and the Counterrevolution 192
Struggle for a Socialist Society 197
Index 199
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