Using material from item B and elsewhere assess the usefulness of Marxist approaches in explaining crime Marxism is a conflict theory established by Karl Marx. Marxists believe that the capitalist system is just a way in which the ruling classes (the bourgeoisie) control and exploit the workers (the proletariat), and it focuses on the unequal conflict between these two sectors of society. Marxists believe that the capitalist system is criminogenic – which means that by its nature it inevitably causes crime. As item B states, Marxists see crime in the capitalist system as ‘a tool of the ruling class’ where they can control the working class and crime is an unavoidable result because of the oppression the working class are subject to. They also believe that laws are enforced mostly to benefit the interests of the ruling class.
Criminal Acts and Choice Theories Response The basis of the “choice theory” is to show why and/or what causes a criminal to make the choice to commit a crime. Every person has to make their own choices and decisions and criminals make irrational decisions when, where, and how to commit a crime. All the while giving no thought to the punishments for their actions because the personal gain is of greater value to them. Criminals do not believe the laws apply to them. The criminal commit crimes for personal gain, money, power, and status.
Crime and deviance is defined by the ruling class to protect their own interests. Traditional marxists believe the reform act introduced throughout the 19th century worked in favour of the capitalists, laws were passed to strongly protect private land while very heavy penalties were imposed for minor theft, extreme poverty was not taken into account. They would also argue that the working class have unequal
Using material from item A and elsewhere assess the usefulness of sub-cultural theories in explaining sub-cultural crime and deviance in society today. Subcultures, such as the ones mentioned in item A consist of a group of people whom share the same norms and values together, yet oppose mainstream culture. Criminals are seen to become part of a subculture as their values are different to normal society. These criminal individuals have rejected society’s norms and invented their own as they feel that society has rejected them, which means they become materially deprived and blame society as it has not met their needs. However, the criminals resort to things such as burglary to maintain materialistic property.
Whereas, Marxists believe that capitalism creates potential criminals. Functionalists believe that all crimes are functional and has both positive and negative effects to society. Durkheim, French sociologist, hold beliefs that “too much crime or deviance constitutes to a threat, too little is unhealthy”. The three main positives are that it reaffirms boundaries by the public degradation ceremonies such as criminal trails to remind everyone of social norms and to reinforce society’s toleration to deviance. Another positive is that crimes change values, when someone is prosecuted it results in public outcry which triggers sympathy, this changes values in society.
Rather than focusing on social situations, the criminal and deviant act, the interactionists focused on the reaction to the act and its effects on the deviant individual. One main possible criticisms of interactionist theory is that to some extent ignores and privatisation and its effect on crime. Can negative labelling be the only reason that crime is predominantly more in working class area than in middle class ones? The “new criminology” was a radical development of traditional Marxist theory (Young, Walton and Taylor) they attempted to combine the process of labelling with Marxist explanations of social inequality to explain crime. A criticism of both the original interactionists and the new criminology came from the “New Left Realists”
However, could there be an actual connection between Marxism and criminology? Critical criminologists believe that the upper classes always decide what a crime is and how it will be punished. They use the justice system to control the lower classes and prevent them from gaining power. They feel that many justice systems are unfair for that reason. That's why critical criminologists concentrate on different areas like postmodern structures and capitalism and their effects or relationships with crime and justice systems.
Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of functionalist approaches in explaining crime. (21 marks) “Crimes are those actions deemed so disturbing to citizens of disruptive to society as to justify state intervention.” Pease (2002). Crime is any act which breaks the laws of society. For example, murder or rape. Deviance, on the other hand, is behaviour which moves away from conventional norms and values such as burping and farting in public.
Conflict theory traces the origin of criminal behavior to class conflict between the powerful and the weak and sees criminals as reasonable individuals forced by circumstance to break laws in order to regain some of what has been taken from them or denied to them by an exploitative system. Functionalist theory proposes that deviance enhances feelings of unity within a society and helps define and redefine the norms. Labeling theory concentrates on the reactions of others to deviance and studies which offenders are likely to be punished rather than which are likely to commit deviant acts.Deterrance theory suggests that deviance increases as the perceived risk of being punished decreases and that people are more likely to be deviant if they think of themselves as deviant. How might anomie create a climate for deviance? Durkheim believed that an
To do wrong and commit crime is a choice of the criminal. Criminals have derived of an enormous list of excuses explaining why they commit crimes. The classical direction to crime discipline policies deals with direct interference techniques. Police force within this course; choose a more hostile approach to toward criminal offenses (Gonzalez, 2007). Nonetheless, without considering the penalties of their actions criminals keep on commit crimes at an alarming rate.