Turk, Austin T.: The Criminalization Process
Richard G. Greenleaf
Austin T. Turk has been referred to as “the deviance theorist who has persisted longest in an effort to develop a non-Marxist framework for the analysis of conflict processes” (Orcutt, 1983, p. 321). Approximately 40 years ago, in the book Criminality and Legal Order , Turk presented his theory of criminalization and normative-legal conflict. He described the conditions under which differences between authorities and subjects will result in overt conflict. Authorities are decision makers (e.g., police, judges, lawyers, prosecutors) and subjects are individuals affected by those decisions. Subjects are distinguished from authorities by their inability to manipulate the legal processes. Turk was influenced by the work of Ralf Dahrendorf, who introduced the terms domination and subjection in Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society. According to Turk, the potential for authority-subject conflict is always present. However, not all authorities have equal opportunity to influence the law. Turk claims “first-line enforcers,” ...