Critical criminology is both theory and school of criminology. Critical theory of crime points that crime is defined by the ruling class The ruling class represents a small number of people (the most wealthy money lenders) who indirectly or directly proscribes the crimes. Proscribing crimes is a way how the ruling class or an elite keeps the majority under control. Critical theory of criminology incorporates Marxist conflict theories and other social radical theories.

The critical theory of criminology sets answers on why and how a criminality becomes the product of society. Their answers are focused on various distributions of wealth and power in the society. People who have greater powers define the rules on "what is a crime" and "what is not". People commit crimes, because they disagree with those rules. Powerful elites create the rules to sustain their way of life and system of values. According to this theory, the criminality is the way how powerless people express their disagreement with those values and keep their respect and dignity.

Introduction to criminology problems when defining criminology

Critical school of criminology stresses out unequal distribution of wealth and power in the society. Inequality among people will eventually lead to crime. Marxists criticize the capitalism and "free" market economy, because such system creates impoverishment of many.

Marxist theories are right in terms that inequality exists among people and that opportunities are obscure for non-wealthy. Critics of critical theories argue that critical theories have marked crime as a political category, but have excluded many other factors.

Critical criminology takes the sociological approach to crime Critics of the sociological approach to crime argue that sociological theories are too narrow in understanding crime causation.

Sociological theories of crime causation can be divided into two groups of theories:

  1. sociological theories based on the factors relatively independent of social interactions and

  2. sociological theories based on the factors which are results of social interaction and social dynamics.

Criminological theories and crime