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Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory

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Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory

Francis T. Cullen & Pamela Wilcox

Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Bonger, Willem: Capitalism and Crime

Amy Stichman

In the early 20th century, scholars examining the causes of crime tended to see the roots of criminal behavior as products of people's free will or of other causes lying within the individual. Willem Bonger, a Dutch sociologist, took a different approach and argued that crime was caused by societal factors, specifically the economy and its effects on people. In creating his argument, he was influenced by theorists such as Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, and he explored the links between crime and economics in his text Criminality and Economic Conditions (original version: 1905; English version: 1916). In this book, Bonger argued that the capitalist economic structure can have a detrimental influence on society and can create criminal behavior and allow it to flourish. Many scholars view Bonger as a founding father of critical criminology. In building his argument that the causes of crime have a basis in society in ...

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