Marxist Explanations for Crime and Deviance

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Outline + assess the Marxist explanations for crime and deviance . Marxist theories of crime are based on conflict. They claim that society is divided by capitalism and there is a conflict between the upper-classes and the working-classes. They suggest that social inequality, as a result of capitalism, is the cause of crime. The starting point for Marxist and neo-Marxist approaches is the laws, and how the ways that they are created and enforced may favour certain groups; the ruling/upper-classes. Traditional Marxist theories of crime were created by Bonger (1916) and then developed by writers such as Chambliss (1975). They suggest that the majority of the population (the working-classes) are exploited by the owners of big businesses and the government. This leads to the creation of laws that appear to benefit the ruling classes. Chambliss (1976) suggests that this conflict culture that has emerged from capitalism encourages crime . Snider (1993) argues that the effects of robberies and petty theft are much smaller than the losses created by big businesses engaging in corporate crimes. The Traditional Marxist view of law-creation suggests that all laws are created in the interests of the ruling class. It fails to recognise that there are a wide range of laws that benefit everyone, such as laws on health and safety, and consumer protection. The police are not there to repress the working-class as ruling class agents; they protect the public from victimisation. However , the victims are simply ignored in this analysis .The hard done by offenders is nottaken into account . This is particularly important , as the victims are usually drawn form the less well-off sections of the population . The explanation for law creation and enforcement tends to be one dimensional, in that all laws are seen as the outcome of the interests of the ruling class – no allowance is

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