„Games for Criminal Status“

Justice as Order through Structured Social Inequality

This scholarly monograph critically analyzes the social construction of status and deviance. The author contends that criminology has traditionally focused too narrowly on crime and criminals rather than recognizing criminality as one form of marginal status.

Employing an analytical model grounded in bargaining game theory and the concept of social exchange, the work examines how the differential distribution of power shapes the social construction of status, behavior, and identity across contexts. Central is the notion of “marginality” and how relative social positions confer meaning to similar behaviors.

Encounters are rituals that distribute esteem or stigma based on existing status hierarchies. The study traces how constructions disproportionately impact lower-status groups while immunity and prestige accrue to the powerful. Challenging positivist notions of deviance and justice, the analysis reveals processes that obscure the maintenance of structured inequality.

Crucially, the “games” framework is applied not only to criminal status, but to status attainment in general. Constructions of high status and “success” are shown to follow comparable social processes. By integrating criminology into the broader study of social differentiation, the work provides theoretical tools to analyze both marginality and privilege.

Ultimately, the monograph constitutes a significant contribution to bridging economics, sociology, and criminology. In illuminating the contingency in social constructions of deviance and prestige, it delivers an incisive critique of inequality and control. The integrated framework remains highly relevant for understanding justice, marginality, and stratification.

Previously, the author published a study on the possibilities and limitations of regulating social behavior through law and law enforcement, titled „Straßenverkehrsdelinquenz und Marginalität“ (Lang: 1978).

Dr. Günther Grewe – New York – München www.WP-RA-usa.de

Grewe, Günther – Games for Criminal Status: Justice as Order through Structured Social Inequality – Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Las Vegas: Lang, 1979 – (European University Papers: Series 2, Law; Bd. 210) ISBN 3-8204-6480-8
(Download PDF Version or Microsoft Word Version)

To read the full version, click hier.

Grewe, Günther – Straßenverkehrsdelinquenz und Marginalität: Untersuchungen zur institutionellen Regelung von Verhalten – Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Las Vegas: Lang, 1978 – (Frankfurter kriminalwissenschaftliche Studien, Bd. 4) – ISBN 3-261-02625-1
(Download PDF Version or Microsoft Word Version)

To read the full version, click hier.