Marxist perspectives of crime


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Overview of key ideas in Marxist perspective of crime

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Marxist perspectives of crime

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