Towards a criminology of structurally conditioned emotions: combining Bourdieu's field theory and cultural criminology

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Abstract

When trying to explain why some people commit crimes while most do not, criminological theory has had a problem with linking agency and structure. A promising solution came in Jock Young’s version of cultural criminology, which integrated Merton’s strain theory with Katz’s account of the emotional rewards from criminal acts. Young claimed the core emotion behind different crimes would be a structurally caused experience of humiliation. Linking individual agency and structural conditions through emotions certainly advances understanding, but Young did not show how this linking was effectuated. Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory may contribute with a better grasp on how structural conditions influence the social agent’s perception of the world and emotional orientation towards it. After exploring how this argument may be supported with regard to empirical cases – studies of graffiti, thefts and violence – the concluding discussion deals with the limits of an approach that combines fields and emotions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Volume15
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)344-363
Number of pages20
ISSN1477-3708
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018

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field theory
criminology
emotion
offense
graffiti
larceny
reward
violence
experience

Keywords

  • Agency
  • Bourdieu
  • cultural criminology
  • emotions
  • structure

Cite this

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Towards a criminology of structurally conditioned emotions : combining Bourdieu's field theory and cultural criminology. / Prieur, Annick Ingrid.

In: European Journal of Criminology, Vol. 15, No. 3, 15.05.2018, p. 344-363.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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