Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess different Marxist views of the relationship between crime and social class. (21) The traditional Marxists believe that the main cause of crime is the capitalist society. They believe that crime is inevitable because capitalism is criminogenic, by it’s very nature it causes crime. David Gordon argues that crime is a rational response to the capitalist system and hence it is found in all social classes, even thought the statistics make it seem to be a largely working class phenomenon,. Poverty may mean that crime is the only way that the working class can survive, as crime may e the only way that they can obtain the consumer goods encouraged by the capitalist advertising, resulting in utilitarian crimes such as theft.
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.
Examine some of the ways in which Marxists explain crime Marxist theories of crime, including the more recent neo-Marxist theories, are conflict approaches. They see society based on conflict between social classes, and social inequality caused by capitalism as the driving force behind crime. Traditional Marxists say that capitalism causes crimes, the term we use for this is criminogenic capitalism; capitalism, by its very nature causes crime. Crime and deviance are systematically created by the structure of capitalist society, the ruling class exploit the working class as they own the means of production. It breeds competition and commodity fetishism, whereby people gain a desire for material things.
Marxist theory provides an explanation of how crime is dealt with in society, in order to maintain the status quo. Capitalist plays a big part in this, as they divert attention of the masses away from the try causes of their situation and the criminal justice system helps capitalist play on this as society sees young, working class black/white males as the criminal groups. Moral panic occurs in society when, once again, the upper class journalists write only cases where black youths have ‘mugged’ a white upper class person and that the fact they are wearing a ‘hoody’ shows they are lower class and looking for trouble. People in society will watch the news and read newspapers
Assess different Marxist views of the relationship between crime and social class. (21 marks) Marxists attack traditional sociological theories of crime and deviance because they believe that crime arises from the very definitions of crime (what it is) as determined by the ruling classes. Traditional explanations are incorrect because they are based on definitions of crime that are imposed by those in authority and these laws are an expression of ruling class ideology. Essentially they argue that the criminal justice system is managed by the bourgeoisie, who set the parameters of what is legal and otherwise to suit their own means. Because Marxists see the ‘system’ as the cause of crime, much of the focus is on systems of power and control (that is, the police and courts).
The term criminogenic refers to a system, situation or place which is likely to cause criminal behaviour. Marxists argue that the capitalism is criminogenic as its very nature causes people to commit crimes. This is due to the inequalities created by capitalism – the bourgeoisie and the proletariats. The bourgeoisie use a variety of techniques and methods to ensure that they remain the ruling class, including exploiting the working class. The working class face few chances to achieve social mobility due to a variety of factors including, material deprivation, poverty, labelling, RSAs such as the police and a false consciousness.
Seen through a marxist lens, the issue of crime and deviance is rooted in the criminogenic nature of capitalism and its exploitation of the proletariat working class by their bourgeois rulers. Marxist views are useful in their linking of crime to societal structure and explaining why the working class appear to be high offenders. However, this view often excludes the effect of gender and ethnicity, neglects the victims and downplays the seriousness of 'blue-collar' crime, and can be partially disproven using contemporary examples. Capitalism, according to Robert Merton, provides certain values for society, most commonly seen as the 'American Dream' and when the proletariat seek to achieve the goals society sets for them, many cannot and must find a way around this 'strain'. This happens in many ways, but Merton most pertinently mentions 'innovative' citizens who commit crime to achieve society's goals, 'rebels' who actively reject society's values, causing them to commit crime and a 'retreatist' form of living that often involved law-breaking via drug consumption.
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”
Instead of studying social economics as a whole, other social sciences may study about the distribution of economic goods and how it affects an individual. In other words, a sociologist emphasizes social behavior, but a psychologist will focus more on individual behavior. Karl Marx believed that economics was the underlying key to understanding human society. His idea was that social conflict leads to change in society. Conflict resulted from the struggles of different social classes over the means of production.
Marxists also think society is in a constant state of hegemony, which is the balance in the struggle for power between different social groups, this is support for the idea that society exists in a state of conflict, as hegemony is the idea that minority social groups are constantly fighting against, and being oppressed by the dominant ideology in society, in Britain the dominant ideology is led by white middle class males, which means anyone who is not a white middle class male is oppressed by their dominant ideology. Marxist feminism argues that people aren’t just oppressed due to class but also due to their gender. Marxist feminism looks at women’s oppression in