Since the mid 1990s, a strand of criminology emerged that is concerned with the co-constitution of crime and culture under the general rubric of 'cultural criminology'. In the titles Cultural Criminology Unleashed and Cultural Criminology: An Invitation, criminologists spearheading this brand of criminology make claims for its originality and its status as a subversive alternative to conventional criminological approaches to studies of crime and deviance. The basis for the 'new' cultural criminology is its ostensible ability to account for the culture and subcultures of crime, the criminalization of cultural and subcultural activities, and the politics of criminalization. This paper offers a comparison of cultural criminology to 1960s and 1970s labeling theory to assess whether or not cultural criminology has developed a grammar of critique capable of resolving fundamental contradictions that haunt critical criminology and contesting contemporary administrative criminology. Points of comparison are made through ontological categories of power and criminal identity and a consideration of the epistemological categories of the respective bodies of literature.