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Failure of Criminology: The Need for a Radical Realism (From Criminological Perspectives: A Reader, P 442-452, 1996, John Muncie, Eugene McLaughlin, and Mary Langan, eds. -- See NCJ- 161531)

NCJ Number
J Young
Date Published
11 pages
This essay calls for the development of a radical, realist criminology that is imaginative, sophisticated, and relevant to policy.
The author advocates the development of a realist theory that adequately encompasses the scope of the criminal act; that is, it must deal with both macro-levels and micro-levels, with the causes of criminal action and social reaction, and with the triangular interrelationship between the offender, the victim, and the state. It must learn from past theory, take up again the debates between the three strands of criminological theory, and attempt to bring them together within a radical rubric. Radical criminology must stand for theory in a time when criminology has all but abandoned theory, and it must address the action of causality while emphasizing both the specificity of generalization and the existence of human choice and value in any equation of criminality. On a research level, criminologists must develop theoretically grounded empirical work against the current of atheoretical empiricism. The expansion of radical victimology in the area of victimization surveys is paramount, along with developments in qualitative research and ethnography. The radical criminologist must use sophisticated statistical analysis, and quantitative and qualitative work should be viewed as alternatives from which the radical criminologist must choose. Overall, the major task of radical criminology is to seek a solution to the problem of crime and a reduction in the crime rate under socialist policy. 28 references