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Postmodern criminology is the most recent branch of criminology, the study of crime, and criminals. It entails the break away from modern criminology that believes that individuals usually have the free will to commit a crime, but may be affected by their own traits like mental issues. Postmodernism rejects this by showing that people usually identify themselves individually to certain groups in the society due to the oppression of cultures, communities, gender, and race. Notably, this segregation of groups has been accredited to the rise of capitalism and has led to the growth of crimes such as terrorism, which a major issue ever since Bin Laden’s 9/11 attack. Social and political changes greatly affect the way criminals behave, and postmodernism seeks to explain how an individual will also view certain crimes as normal deeds that they would do to protect their interests.
The field of criminology has been theorized ever since the 18th century, with philosophers such as Raffaele Garofalo and Paul Topinard being the forefathers of this case. Being such an old field, there are many theories and frameworks associated with it, with one of the newest features being postmodern criminology. The latter is a theory that applies post modernism with the study of crimes and criminals. The previous theories of criminology like the classical theory believed that people committed crimes of their free will. Besides, they were rational, and their decision to do a crime meant they would have a proportional punishment. On the other hand, modern criminology rejected the classical theory as it showed that free will was not the only reason an individual committed a crime. It showed that each crime required a punishment corresponding it, and would prevent offenders from repeating the same mistake (Schwartz & Milovanovic, 2015). The theory later grew as the 19th century came, with scientific progress showing that things such as mental defects in humans caused them to commit certain crimes. Postmodernism in itself now shows the way the social structure of the present age has caused certain crimes and criminals to increase significantly.
Postmodernism criminology understands crime as a result of the social inequality among individuals. Issues such as sexism, racism, and multiculturalism have created individuals who try to overcome the social inequality they face by breaking the law that the power structure prohibits (Schwartz & Milovanovic, 2015). Notably, postmodernism is a theory that shows the way the decline of communism and its beliefs caused the uprising of capitalism, which is a system that highly grades people through race, gender, religion, and culture. As such, various groups have been oppressed, thus leading to the feeling of being out of the “real” world. Owing to this effect, many individuals have been observed to be associated with the world around them, thus making most people create their own form of reality and form groups of people with similar outlooks on life (Schwartz & Milovanovic, 2015). By investing their own emotions and time in breaking laws to level the social inequality, the individual may become powerless to carry out certain actions, thus leading to the likelihood of committing a crime.
However, postmodern criminology can be seen in effect at the present times. For instance, in May, a white racist who was shouting racial slurs at two African-American women – one clad in a hijab – as they tried to calm him down and stop him, stabbed two men (Marco, Hanna, & Almasy, 2017). Jeremy Joseph Christian, a 35 year old past felon, was seen to be racist prior to the incident, with his social media accounts showing a man with extreme beliefs against people of different ethnicities and religions. Although he had no history of mental illnesses, it is evident that he was convicted in 2002 for robbery and kidnapping (Marco, Hanna, & Almasy, 2017). He was seen at rallies shouting racial slurs, though he described himself as a nihilist who was in his safe place. He was identified with the racist right wing fanatics, which is a growing group of people who have been holding marches while displaying racial slurs and Nazi signs. Notably, this group has grown ever since the election of President Trump, a Republican who has regulated the flow of foreigners into the country through profiling people. As such, this shows postmodern criminology at work, with the assailant a criminal who will be identified with a certain reality. In this case, the reality that Muslims should not exist is clearly demonstrated. To correct this, he went to display publicly his dissent to the issue of equality, and was doing so in the train. In spite the fact that he did not see the issue of killing people who were trying to stop him from correcting what was socially unequal to him, it is apparent that he broke the law through intimidation, murder, and attempted murder.
- Schwartz, M., & Milovanovic, D. (2015). Race, gender, and class in criminology: The Intersections. New York: Garland Pub.
- Marco, T., Hanna, J., & Almasy, S. (2017). Portland train stabbings: FBI looking into possible hate crime charges. CNN. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/26/us/portland-train-stabbing/index.html