Marxist perspectives of crime
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Marxist perspectives of crime



Overview of key ideas in Marxist perspective of crime

Overview of key ideas in Marxist perspective of crime



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    Marxist perspectives of crime Marxist perspectives of crime Presentation Transcript

    • Marxist perspective of crime
      • By Chris Thompson
    • Marxist perspectives
      • Labelling theory paved the way in understanding how deviance was something defined by social processes
      • In this way social agencies (the judiciary, police etc) defined what is deviant
      • Marxists took this further by examining the power of certain social groups to define deviance and create the laws which secured social conformity
      • Marxist see crime and deviance as not coming from moral or biological defects but defects within social order
      • Crime is an inevitable part of capitalism as it stems from social inequalities
      • Working-class crime is caused by labour exploitation and material misery
      • Therefore theft is an expression of that exploitation and is a political act of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie
    • Marxists say......
      • As anything the ruling class defines as being criminal because it’s in their interests to do so
      • The ruling class will violate laws with impunity while members of the subject classes will be punished
      • Crime is a reaction to the life conditions of a person’s social class
    • Marxists say......
      • Crime diverts the working-class’s attention from the exploitation they experience; it contains their resistance
      • Crime changes from society to society depending on the political and economic structures of society
      • Crime will persist in capitalist societies because they promote inequality and class conflict, and penal law will expand relative to that inequality and exploitation
    • Marxist writers
      • Chambliss - argues that acts are defined as criminal only when it’s in the interest of the ruling class to define them as such
      • This means crime and deviance is constructed by the ruling class when they question the exploitation made by those who rule (think of strikes)
      • Therefore crime only exists because it is created by those in society whose interests are served by its presence.
    • Marxist writers
      • Box argues that definitions of crime are only ideological constructs
      • They do not refer to those behaviours which objectively cause us the most harm, injury and suffering (low pay)
      • Instead they refer to only a sub-section of those behaviours committed by young, poorly educated males who are often unemployed, live in working-class impoverished neighbourhoods and frequently belong to an ethnic minority.
    • Synoptic – Marxist social theory
      • Crime is caused by the ‘external’ force of capitalism
      • The social inequalities caused by the economic base (capitalism) is determining activity within the superstructure (crime, agents of social control etc)
      • Social-class exploitation by the bourgeoisie over the proletariat causes crime
      • By Chris Thompson