Assess the usefulness of Marxism in understanding crime and deviance

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To understand how useful certain theories and methods are when studying crime and deviance you need to know what crime and deviance is. A criminal act is something which breaks the law for example murder or rape. A deviant act however is different from a criminal act as a deviant act is something which is frowned upon in society for example being naked in public, however it is very hard to define a deviant act, as what some people see as deviant others may not. Marxists such as Karl Marx believe that society is ideologically manipulated through the law only being applied to less powerful groups such as the young, the working class and blacks. These groups of people are more likely to be arrested, convicted and sent to prison than members of more powerful groups, even if they are causing less damage to society. Statistics show that black people are stopped and searched 5 times more than whites. This is the Marxists idea of law enforcement they believe there is different sentencing policies when it comes to certain types of crimes. Property theft committed during burglary is punished by long term imprisonment where as white collar crime rarely goes to court this type of crime is mostly committed by upper-class businesses. However evidence shows that criminals are most likely to come from the working class, the young and the black community. Marxists also talk about law creation; they say law is a reflection of the will of the powerful. They believe that the rich are able to manipulate the rest of us and pass laws which benefit them they do this in two ways. The first way being through setting the agenda, this means that the debate on law and order is conducted in a frame work of values sympathetic to the ruling class. The second way is through pressure group activity, law changes are often a result from pressure group lobbying by the government. Marxists say power
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