Outline and Assess Marxist Theories of Crime

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Outline and assess Marxist theories of crime. 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 is a cause of crime saying that the law is made by the upper class (bourgeoisie) to benefit the ruling class and is harsh towards the working class. Marxist writers such as Chambliss suggest that the majority of 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 working-class and benefit the ruling classes. Chambliss suggests that this conflict culture that has emerged from capitalism encourages crime. Hegdige said that Capitalist societies lead to greed within the ruling classed and the lower classes rebell against this system as they are in poverty so steal to get money. Snider 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. In response to the criticisms of traditional Marxist theories of crime, a theory called the new criminology came about. Taylor, Walton and Young (The New Criminology) blended Marxism and Interactionism together. Taylor thought it was important not just to focus on the motivation and influences of the individual, but to also observe the wider capitalist society in order to understand why certain crimes take place. Their theory of deviance included six dimensions which, they argued, together could be used to explain deviance. Hall study
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