Social Conflict Theory

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Did you know that in 2014, shoplifting and worker’s theft cost the retail industry a loss of thirty-two billion dollars (Wahba, 2015)? According Wahba “a common misperception about shoplifting is that retailers can ‘afford’ the loss of a candy bar or a pair of jeans” (2015). This type of reasoning certainly does make more sense when explained through the context of a criminological theory. For example according to the Rational Choice theory individuals weigh the costs and benefits associated with a criminal and or deviant act and then make a conscious choice. Other criminological theories explain criminal and deviant behavior using a biological, psychological, social, conflict, or multifactor component. Taking that into consideration in this…show more content…
Meanwhile a Developmental theorist would most likely argue that everyone has the potential for shoplifting considering that the propensity for crime is present in all but more prominent in some, and that a higher propensity for crime coupled with negative social experiences is what gives rise to crime. From the get go one can notice that the causes of crimes for both of these theories differ greatly. At the core of the Social Conflict theory is discord and between an upper and lower class the haves and the have not’s. Meanwhile at the core of the developmental theory are personal characteristics and social experiences. Besides the causes of crimes the theories differ in other less visible aspects like the focus, attitudes and solutions to criminal and deviant…show more content…
The entire theory and sub theories focus on how the social conflict between the upper and lower class has given rise to crime. Meanwhile the Developmental theory is multidimensional since it has more layers and depth to it. The Developmental theory looks at the onset, the continuity, and the termination of a criminal career. The Developmental theory also resembles the game snakes and ladders in that both represent a life journey where the upward progression is complicated by ladders (virtues) and snakes (vices). All in all the morality of the game and that of the Developmental theory is that snakes and ladders rob a player of the chance to take their time and enjoy the game (journey). Another difference aside from the focus is the attitude that both theories undertake. With the Social Conflict theory you get a pessimistic and resign feeling, which makes things seem either black or white with nothing in-between. Individuals either belong to the wealthy or poor. And have to ultimately acknowledge that, “those who hold power will create laws that benefit themselves and keep rivals in check” (p.200). That is why Social Conflict theorist argue that “true crime” is the one done by those in power not by helpless whose crimes receive harsher sanctions. Meanwhile the Developmental theory gives an uncertain attitude in that the propensity for crimes remains fairly constant while the opportunity to commit crimes

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