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Conflict theory is based on the premises that fundamental causes of the crime are economic and social forces operating within society. Conflict theory examines so called “class conflict”, e.g. between the “proletariat” and the “bourgeoisie” contrasting the socialism and capitalism ideologies. This theory is grounded on existence of struggles among different aspects of a particular society, which may result in actions that can be classified as crime, such as miscellaneous forms of expropriation (thefts, burglary, robbery, etc.) and physical violence up to homicide.
Radical theory is a branch of conflict theory drawing its ideas from Marxist social theories. According to Marx modern capitalist society is controlled by a wealthy minority which controls the means of production and reducing the role of other people (the proletariat) to the lot of being wage labourers. The criminal law and justice system, according to radicalists, operates on behalf of wealthy minority, and resulting policies are aimed at controlling the proletariat. While Marx himself did not himself directly addressed topic of crime in detail, his writings gave birth to a radical tradition in theory of crime. From this perspective, certain crimes may be morally justified, like stealing as an attempt to take back from the rich goods they obtained by “exploiting” poor or protest-related violence as the revolutionary act, a revolt, aiming to establish a “just society”.
Perspectives of conflict and radical theory aids, to some extend, in the explanation of certain criminal actions. However, it appears to provide rather an argument in support of the criminals justifying their criminal actions from the perspective of perceived social injustice, rather than providing adequate explanation for criminal behaviour