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

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

Extracts from this document...


Outline & Evaluate the Marxist view of crime (45 Marks) Marxism is based on the fact that all institutions of society are set up and run to benefit the bourgeoisie, because the upper class dominates society. The upper class' main concern is to maintain profit and control within their institutions. The upper class controls the organisation that passes laws in the country and will pass laws merely to benefit their pockets. Actions that are defined as criminal are decided on by the upper class. According to Marxists, justice is a ruling class myth because of the large amount of bias in the justice system. They also argue that the police force is an agent of the upper class and that the police focus on working class crime as it's easy to target on the streets. This makes the lower classes look more criminal-like. When upper class criminals are caught they are given more lenient sentences than the working class as judges tend to be brought up within an upper class family. The nature of a capitalist society encourages working class citizens to commit crime because it generates greed and a dog eat dog attitude. ...read more.


Laws are also passed which do have an affect on the higher classes, otherwise too many crimes like fraud would be carried out and left alone so that corporate and white collar crime would spiral out of control and our society would not benefit from this. Functionalists look at crime differently and say that our society is run using a value consensus, where rules are not imposed but everyone has a general agreement on what is right on wrong. Another way in which Marxists contribute to our understanding of crime is by explaining how the upper class controls the criminal justice system. All classes in the hierarchy commit crime yet the working class are more likely to be caught and punished due to working class crimes such as burglary and drug offences tend to take place in the public domain and are easier to police. The police also tend to focus on working class areas as the official statistics suggest that the working class commit more crime than any other class. Sutherland argues that white collar crimes and corporate crimes tend to go unnoticed as these crimes are never committed within the public domain. ...read more.


Crime is seen as a rational response to breakdown in a capitalist society. Crime is not an activity that is only seen in a capitalist type of society, communistic run governments will also experience crime. Switzerland is also a capitalist society yet experiences one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Neo Marxists accuse Marxists of economic determinism, arguing that human behaviour is determined by the economic system, plus ignoring the ability of humans making rational choices, determining their own fate. Also, many working class citizens do not commit crime; they go about life using legitimate means. Marxists tend to focus on the link between crime and class, yet they ignore influences such as ethnicity and gender. The Marxist view of crime has been very influential and highlights some important issues present in the criminal justice system. It is difficult to criticise the Marxist perspective of crime, as a lot of it can be explained by false class consciousness. However, it has been criticised as being a one sided debate and ignored other social variables that are relevant and should be included. The Marxist view also tends to ignore real causes and damage. The Marxist perspective of crime is still useful as class is still relevant in today's society and reveals that middle class crime may be largely underestimated. ...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

    We must also become more tolerant of diversity and cease stereotyping whole groups of people as criminal. Left realists have had more influence on government policy than most theories on crime. They have similarities with the new labour stance of tough on crime, tough on causes of crime.

  2. Critically Compare and Contrast Functionalist and Traditional Marxist Perspectives On Crime.

    people offend whereas others do not and there is no argument on laws and their validity on how they benefit society as a whole. Marxists would strongly criticise the way Durkheim seems to be ignorant of the 'concepts of power' and how a small number of people in power have

  1. Assess the right realist view that crime is the result of biological rational factors ...

    These left wing theorists also believe that it would be best for an informal social control in society which can be the likes of good job prospects for the future and building nice houses to reduce the relative depravation problem.

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

    He used the term 'strain' to describe a lack of balance and adjustment in society. When attributing this term to his theory, he referred to a strain between the socially accepted goals of society and the socially approved ways of obtaining these goals.

  1. Critically evaluate Marxists contributions to the study of crime and deviance.

    In these conditions the result would be a socialist society run by workers for workers. Marx sees society controlled by the bourgeoisie and control being maintained by two distinct ways: socialization- where the basic values guiding action supports the capitalist political and economical system and therefore the law is applied on non powerful groups such as the young working class.

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

    A high crime rate is an indication of a social system that has failed to adapt to change. Individuals, who anticipate necessary adjustments of social morality to changing conditions, may be stigmatised as criminals at first. Crime is the precondition and the proof of a society's capacity for flexibility in the face of essential change.

  1. Asses the Marxist Perspective on Crime

    Echoing Merton's 'strain theory', Marxists argue that those with barriers to success, from the businessman to the factory worker, are pressured to break the law in order to achieve the material desires which capitalism encourages. Marx's theory of alienation can be applied to those crimes which have no apparent financial

  2. The purpose of this report is to evaluate and reflect upon my experience of ...

    He argues that if a group has cohesiveness then they will act positively towards one another and stay motivated.

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