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Critical Theory and Criminology

W. Byron Groves and Robert J. Sampson
Social Problems
Vol. 33, No. 6, Special Theory Issue (Oct. - Dec., 1986), pp. S58-S80
DOI: 10.2307/800674
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800674
Page Count: 23
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Critical Theory and Criminology
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Abstract

This paper applies the critical theory of Jürgen Habermas to theoretical issues in criminology. Since criminologists have generally neglected the critical tradition, we include a brief summation of concerns central to critical sociology. These concerns include a defense of reason and a provocative critique of both culture and science. We then apply the critical model to themes and issues in criminology. Specifically, our analysis uses Habermas' three "knowledge constitutive interests" to reconceptualize cultural explanations of crime, to address the linkage between macro-and micro-levels of explanation, and to outline a novel interpretation of the relationship between culture and social structure. We conclude with a critique of Habermas' prescription for social change.

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