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EVALUATE THE MARXIST THEORY OF CRIME

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Introduction

EVALUATE THE MARXIST THEORY OF CRIME Marxists recognise that for a society to function properly, social order is necessary. However, they consider that in all capitalist societies one class - the ruling class - gains far more in society than other classes. Marxist agree with the functionalist idea that socialisation plays a crucial part in promoting conformity and order. However, they highly criticise the ideas, values and social norms of capitalist society - 'capitalist ideology'. Neo - Marxists argue that crime is a redistribution of wealth. They regard theft by the poor people from the rich people as a way of sharing the wealth in society. They believe this is a natural and political act. Marxism states that the ruling class use the law and definitions of criminality as a means of control and oppression. From the Marxist viewpoint, the state passes laws which support and reflect the wishes and ideologies of the ruling class. Moreover, people have unequal access to the law. For example, having money to hire a good lawyer can mean the difference between being found guilty or not guilty. The law maintains the ruling class's power, coerce and control of the proletariat. ...read more.

Middle

He argues that many laws which appear to benefit only the subject class actually benefit the ruling class as well. Factory legislation protecting the health and safety of workers provides an example. Pearce writes, 'The majority of the laws in Britain and America work in favour of the capitalists, yet many laws do also benefit the other social classes, not only because the system needs a healthy, safe population of producers and consumers but also because it needs their loyalty. Marxist sociologists believe that that crime is widespread in all social classes. However, Laureen Snider argues that many of the most serious crimes committed in modern industrial companies are corporate crimes. Although these types of crime cost more in money and lives, street crime seems to be one mostly punished on. This is believed to be because of status and money and if you have both you can get away with such crimes. Again a good example where this can be seen is the Bhopal chemical disaster where thousands of lives were lost and yet no-one was responsible. The courts and jails seem to be filled with the poor and the powerless and prosecutions are normally used as a last resort, and it is most likely that small businesses go to court rather than bigger ones. ...read more.

Conclusion

Feminists argue that the Marxist theory ignores the role of the patriarchy in influencing the way the criminal justice system operates. Marxists have also been criticised for assuming that communism eradicates crime. Before communism ended in many eastern European countries, crime had not been eradicated. Some argue that not all capitalist countries produce high crime rates. Many other theorists believe that the Marxism is based on a simple approach on the Bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Other perspectives such as functionalism and subcultural theories largely differ from that of Marxism. Functionalist sociologists regard crime as a necessary and positive part of society. They believe that crime is inevitable and we can only all share the same collective sentiments to a certain extent. They argue that there will always be crime and deviance because in a society you can never have everybody exactly sharing the same values. A subculture is a group of people who share the same norms and values but different or maybe even opposite to mainstream society. Some subcultural theories are that people divide into subcultures of different due to reasons such as status frustration, focal concerns, local opportunity, techniques of neutralisation and so on. Ultimately, Marxist is one competing theory among many which aims to offer and explanation for crime and deviance. ...read more.

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