• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Marxism is a structural theory, as people's actions are shaped by society and in particular the economic system. It is a conflict view of society.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Marxism is a structural theory, as people's actions are shaped by society and in particular the economic system. It is a conflict view of society. Marxists argue that the upper class control all of society including law and order. They therefore have control over judges, police and the government. This gives them the power to define what is right in society in the interest of themselves. Therefore there is no criminal justice system for the working class. Instead the working class believe that the system is fair due to the ideology put forward by the upper class. This is known as false class-consciousness. Marxists argue that the upper class control the definitions of deviance in four main strands. The first contribution is that laws benefit the upper class and not the population generally. This view is supported by Pearce who argues that the majority of laws in Britain and America, work in the favour of capitalism. e.g. the conservatives got rid of the super tax which the rich had to pay. Pearce argues that even the laws that appear to benefit the subject class in reality benefit the ruling class as well. Factory legislation protecting the health and safety of workers provides an example, because the system needs a healthy safe population of producers and consumers. Just as important as laws that are passed are laws that are not passed. William Chambliss (1976) supports this argument, who suggests that much of what takes place in the creation of laws is non-decision making. ...read more.

Middle

By providing a few laws that are of use to everybody, the real nature od the legal system is hidden. This maintains the myth that laws applies equally to the rich and poor and that the state is a neutral body guarding the welfare of society as a whole. Therefore this view makes Marxism very difficult to criticise as some upper class deviants do get convicted. The only criticism that can be made is the fact that they often do receive leaner sentences. For example Laud archer tends to lead a life of 'luxury' in prison, while Laud Guinness was let out of prison early as it didn't suit his 'lifestyle'. Another view by Marxists in the explanation of crime is that crime is inevitable in a capitalist society as capitalism encourages greed. Marxists argue that the capitalist system generates crime for the following reasons: * Capitalism is based on the private ownership of property. Personal gain rather than collective is encouraged. * Capitalism is a competitive system. Mutual aid and co-operation for the betterment of all are discouraged in favour of individual achievement of the expense of others. Competition breeds aggression, hostility and particularly for the losers frustration. * Economic self interest rather than public duty motivates behaviour * The capitalist mode of production emphasizes the maximization of profits and the accumulation of wealth. These views are supported by William Chambliss. Who argues that greed, self- interest and hostility generated by the capitalist system motivate many crimes at all levels within society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore they turn to youth culture as a way of coping with their problems caused by capitalism and resisting capitalism Phil Cohen illustrates this approach in his study of East London youth culture in the 1970s. He argues that the form the youth culture takes is related to the changing social and economic structure of east London. There was a distinct loss of community and close-knit way of life caused by re-development. A t the same time standards of living were increasing in the wider community. Cohen argues the forms of youth culture adopted in East London (which were shown in the terms of dress, music, haircuts and fashion) made clear statements about the attitudes of youth towards police and showed disdain for the values of wider society. However criticisms of this theory was made by S.Cohen. He pointed out that these writers were simply biased in their analysis. They wanted to prove that working class youth cultures were an attack on capitalism, and therefore made sure that they fixed the evidence to find this. He pointed, for example, that there were many different ways to interpret the sub-cultural style of the groups, and that the interpretation that the Marxist writers had imposed was just one of many possibilities. Postmodernist Redhead(1991)also argued that his study of the rave subculture associated with ecstasy showed that clothes language and music had nothing to do with the meaning of the sub-cultures. Evaluate the contribution of Marxist explanations to the study of crime Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    Media saturated late modern society promotes cultural inclusion; even the poor have access to the medias materialistic, consumerist cultural messages. Similarly there's greater emphasis on leisure which stresses personal consumption and immediate gratification and leads to higher expectations for the good life.

  2. Assess The Contribution Of Control Theory To Our Understanding Of Crime And Criminality

    They all suggest that this is concerned with paternal relationships at an early age. Moving on through Nye, Reckless, Hirschi and Gottfredson the theory seems to become more evolved, although still tautological. The most recent theory being, that of Hirschi and Gottfredson and their General Theory of Crime, which relates to self control.

  1. describe four studies relating to crime and deviance - each from a different perspective. ...

    For example, they suggest that some deviant and criminal behaviour will always be seen as such; premeditated murder of a child for sordid reasons will always be considered criminal and deviant regardless of the social audience. In this respect deviance can be defined and can be identified not just from

  2. Compare and evaluate Subcultural theory and labelling theory

    that they are not deviant or a naughty child and that they just have in most cases been misunderstood at some point in life. Every child will be naughty at some stage of their life's and teachers and society need to recognise this and help the child to overcome this,

  1. Assess the view that crime is functional, inevitable and normal.

    This 'underclass' he says has created a new generation that has no concept of the shared values of society, which can lead to them turning to crime.

  2. Outline & Evaluate the Marxist view of crime (45 Marks)

    Chambliss agrees with sneider's argument, he argues that the main focus of laws is to protect private property and the interests of the ruling class. Marxists also say that the upper class have the power to prevent issues from being discussed and never becoming a law, as it enables the

  1. Which of the following problems do you consider to have been the most serious ...

    They were a large problem in America, as they created violence in the cities but also fear amongst the people living there. They imported alcohol from other countries or set up private hidden breweries, and imported the drinks to bars. Speakeasies were set up in the main cities of America.

  2. Discuss the effectiveness of the Prison system, and its purpose in relation to its ...

    There are many debates about the purpose of imprisonment, the purported purposes of imprisonment includes the notion of retribution that is that prisons are a way of punishing people for the crimes they have committed by exiling them form society and loved ones through incarceration.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work