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DONALD BLACKS THEORY OF THE BEHAVIOR OF LAW DAPHNE A GRAHAM Donald Black author of Behavior of Law can be described as a conflict theorist The conflict criminologist would argue that societies are composed of groups with conflicting values and interest The groups with the most power shape the laws of their society This creates an inverse relationship between power and official crime rates People with less power are more likely and people with more power are less likely to be officially defined as criminals While many conflict theorists focus on relationships of society at the individual level Black focused on relationships of social groups as a whole not at the individual level According to his theory social groups possess five dimensions of social life stratification morphology culture organization and social control Vold Bernard and Snipes 1998 All of which try to explain deviant behavior To preface his theory Black describes law as a quantitative variable meaning there is more law established in some places than others the quantity of law is known by the number and scope of prohibitions obligations and other standards to which people are subject and by the rate of legislation litigation and adjudication Black 1976 p 3 Another fundamental point is law can vary according to its style which can also be quantitative Four different styles of social control are penal compensatory therapeutic and conciliatory Penal law is enforced by a group against an offender with compensatory law the victim demands payment and with therapeutic and conciliatory law the deviant himself seeks services to improve his or her condition By addressing the quantity and styles of law Black attempts to explain the variations of each Vold et al 1998 Both of these propositions states a relationship between law and another aspect of social life stratification morphology culture organization or social control Black 1976 p 6 This relationship can be considered an inverse
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