Conflict There is a large number of theorists who have specialized their interest in explaining abou


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There is a large number of theorists who have specialized their interest in explaining about conflict through their conflict theories. Among the theorists specializing in conflict theories is the Dutch criminologist Willem Bonger and George Vold. Bonger believed in a causal link between crime, economic and social conditions (Bonger, 2015). Bonger claimed that crime is social in origin as well as a social response to the prevailing cultural conditions. In the more primitive societies, Bonger claims that survival requires more selfless altruism within the society. According to Bonger, the poor are pushed to commit crime out of the need to fulfill their desire or out of a sense of injustice. It is through this quest by the poor to commit crimes that the powerful exercise their control, imposing punishment. The powerful equates the definition of a crime with harm or threat of damage to their property and business interests. Despite the inherent saying that theft may be identical, it is entirely not as theft by the poor will be much emphasized than theft by the rich. The emphases will have consequences that include asserting direct pressure for survival in an unequal society and the indirect effect in that it will increase a sense of alienation among the poor. Bonger further claims that crime in the street was due to the miserable conditions to which the workers lived in competition. Bonger believes that poverty alone is not the cause of crime but rather a combination of poverty and other factors such as materialism, individualism, racism, false needs and the false masculinity of violence as well as the domination among the thugs in the streets.

George Vold, on the other hand, suggests that crime is social and that it is a product of conflict between groups that lies within the same culture (Vold, 1958). Humans are social beings and therefore form groups that are triggered by shared interests and needs. Vold claims that the interests and the needs of the groups interact and produce competition over maintaining or expanding one group’s position relative to others in the control of resources such as education, employment, and money. With the main aim of controlling resources, the more efficient group obtains the mandate of enacting laws that limit and regulate the behavior of other groups and therefore prevents the fulfillment of the minority needs.

The two theorists share some common notions in that they assert that crime is as a result of oppression against one group. The more efficient or dominant group creates laws and regulations that are aimed at regulating the flow of resources to the minorities and therefore limits their behavior. The two theorists are also similar in the sense that they claim that crime is a result of the desire to fulfill a common need or interest. From Bonger’s perspective, the poor steal from the rich and wealthy to fulfill their needs and the powerful enacts laws that criminalize the behavior of the poor to protect their businesses. Vold as well claims that crime results from the attempt to dominate the otherwise shared interests among a group of people were also the dominant restrain the behavior of the minority through laws. Another similarity arises in that crime is as a result of various factors such as materialism, domination, and individualism as deduced from the two theories. In contrast, the two theories differ in the definition of theft in that according to Bonger the poor are driven to commit crime due to the desire to fulfill their need whereas, in Vold’s perspective, crime is as a result of the struggle for dominance between groups with common interests.

The two theories are relevant in today’s culture in that the definition of crime is still based on the same concepts. Crime in the streets are as a result of dominance among the thugs, and as well crime is as a result of competition that results in dominance among the involved groups. The poor are prompted to commit crime due to the urge of fulfilling their needs while in other societies, crime is as a result of the struggle for dominance in the control of resources.


Bonger, W. A. (2015). An introduction to criminology. Routledge.

Vold, G. B. (1958). Theoretical criminology.


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