Assess Marxist Theories Of Crime And Deviance

626 words - 3 pages

Marxism is a social structural theory. This means that marxists, like functionalists believe that society and the way it is structured are the main causes of crime. Unlike functionalists, who argue that crime and deviance are inevitable in all kinds of society, marxists argue that crime is only inevitable in capitalist societies and that capitalism by its very nature is criminogenic. Marxists view law as part of the superstructure, which in marxist theory is defined as the institutions and culture considered to result from or reflect the economic system or infrastructure underlying a society and is by capitalists and for capitalists. These laws are only enforced on the proletariat. Evidence of this is society’s general ignorance of white-collar crime. Marxists also believe that even laws that appear to benefit the proletariat, such as health and safety, actually benefit the capitalists, as they make healthy workers to earn them profit. Neo-marxism or critical criminology is a newer philosophy, having arisen from marxist theories and social action theories. A Fully Social Theory of Deviance was a book written by criminologists Taylor, Walton and Young that combines traditional marxism with Neo-marxism.

Karl Marx claims that crime is inevitable in capitalists society, as capitalism is a criminogenic system. In a capitalist society there are two groups of people; the bourgeoisie (the capitalists or ruling class) and the proletariats (the working class). The proletariat are exploited by the bourgeoisie in order to make profit. The proletariat are rigidly controlled and alienated from the rest of society. This explains non-utilitarian crime, like vandalism or gang violence, where the people who commit them are seeking some form of freedom or excitement. They are forced to work in boring jobs for long hours and low pay, as both of these factors mean more profits for capitalists. The jobs are deskilled so any proletariat workers who speak out are easily replaced. Capitalist culture is also...

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