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Durkheim and Quinney on the Inevitability of Crime - A Comparative Theoretical Analysis

NCJ Number
Deviant Behavior Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (October-December 1982) Pages: 67-87
R E Hilbert; C W Wright
Date Published
21 pages
This paper compares sociological theories of crime in an effort to expose the function of conceptualization in the process of doing science.
In the famous chapter from The Rules of Sociological Method (1964) on 'The Normal and the Pathological,' Durkheim suggests that the condition that generates crime is inevitable ('normal') and desirable. Quinney, in his Critique of Legal Order (1973), calls on us to imagine a society free of crime. The aim of the paper is to understand these conclusions concerning the inevitability of crime by reference to the distinctive features of the conceptual schemes that were employed in their derivation. Major aspects of the schemes considered are the positions taken concerning the nature of law, the conditions under which law emerges, and the position of the criminal vis-a-vis the group whose sentiments are offended. These aspects are examined in an attempt to present the logical coherence of the two theories as well as the central points of divergence between them. (Publisher abstract)


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