Teaching Criminology: Part VI

Political Crime

A. Political crime seldom appears in crim texts. Intro texts and social problems texts make mention of genocide but mostly descriptive/exemplary cases are given. In this outline of a postmodern criminology, I would like to define and list the forms of political crime.

Most of what appears in this section and prior discourse on postmodern criminology presumes some substantive definition of crime grounded upon a very different social philosophy than is ordinarily the case...I will go on to this more affirmative approach to postmodern sensibility in the next series of lectures...which will appear on the Red Feather Institute Home Page---with but a paragraph abstract posted on socgrad as promised last Fall.

B. Definition: Political crime is that use of power to reproduce structures of domination. there are five major structures which inform/fuel most of the political crime in the 21st century;

1. Patriarchy 2. Racism 3. National Chauvinism
4. Class exploitation/alienation 5. Ageism

Notice I did not mention inequality as do most radical crimin- ologists. I think that some inequality may well be helpful to the human estate; I accept the notion of necessary repression and as with Marcuse, prefer to speak of surplus repression in the use of power inequalities.

IN the final part of this series, I will lay out a philosophy of science/knowledge which I use to ground affirmative postmodern criminology....in it, there is the notion of a bifurcation of key variables which tend to create new magnitudes and new forms of crime. It is the point at which inequality [as one such key variable] bifurcates that we should be looking for rather than inequality per se.

C. Forms of power. I use four forms of power with which to sort out political crime:

D. Forms of Political Crime. I usually make distinction between privatized political crime and institutionalized political crime. Rape is an example of the first while warfare exemplar of the second.

Personalized Political Crime: Assault, rape, battering, beating, mugging, robbery, extortion, murder and threat of violence generally.

Institutional political crime: racism, sexism, religious bigotry; elitist forms of governance, of work, of education and of communications.

Elitist forms of art, science, music, drama, dance, cinema, play, poetry and literature generally are political crime when other, different forms of culture are denigrated, discouraged and/or ranked using putatively universal norms and standards.

warfare deserves special attention in affirmative postmodern criminology. I identify six waves/forms of warfare which interact and overlap in human history...most devoted to exploitation of wealth and/or imposition of honorific stratifications:

E. Most crim texts ignore most political crime; especially warfare leaving it to political science and to history texts.

Most theories of crime focus upon low-level psychological variables/orientations.

Addition of political crime to the inventory/content of crim texts would require major revisions/upgrades of theory.

Conclusion: More people die in warfare than any other form of crime; more property is vandalized; more wealth stolen in warfare than in all other forms of crime combined. Why it is ignored by most criminologists is testimony to the ideological flaws and defaults in American Criminology inherited from socio-biology, physiology, reductionist psychology and depoliticized social psychology.

A major task for postmodern crim in the 21st century is to add content and theory to the discipline.

Next and last, a postmodern criminology grounded upon the new sciences of chaos/complexity.

TR Young

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