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Marxism (conflict theory)

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Traditional Marxism
Criminogenic capitalism
William Chambliss (1975)
He argues that laws protect private property. The ruling class also have the power to prevent the introduction of laws harmful to their interests. Few laws challenge the unequal distribution of wealth.
Reiman and Carson
Selective enforcement - crimes of the powerful are much less likely to be treated as criminal offences and prosecuted. In a sample of 200 firms, found all had broken health and safety laws, yet only 1.5% of cases were prosecuted.
critical criminology
Taylor et al
(NEO-MARXISTS) They criticise traditional Marxism for its determinism e.g. seeing workers as driven to commit crime out of economic necessity. They reject this view, along with other theories that claim crime is caused by external factors, e.g. anomie, blocked opportunities
Taylor et al (approach)
(NEO-MARXISTS) They take voluntaristic view - crime is a conscious choice often with a political motive e.g. to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.
Crimes of the state
Actions performed, or permitted to be performed, by the government that harm groups within society and breach their human rights.
Mike Brake
He suggests that subcultures develop in response to social problems which a group experiences collectively. E.g. the w/c youth wear particular clothes and use language to show their disdain (pogarda) of capitalism and their awareness of their position in it. He argues that this resistance is 'magical' - it is a form of illusion that appears to solve their problems, but in reality does not such a thing.
Working-class crime
a) Capitalism is based on the exploitation of the w/c for profit. b) Poverty may mean crime is the only way to survive. c) Crime may be the only way of obtaining consumer goods encouraged by capitalist advertising, resulting in utalitarian crimes (e,g, theft). d) Alienation may cause frustration and aggression, leading to non-utilitarian crimes e.g. violence, vandalism.
Ruling-class crime
Capitalism is a win-at-all costs system of competition, while the profit motive encourages greed. This encourages capitalists to commit corporate crimes e.g. tax evasion, breaking health and safety laws. Gordon (1976) argues, crime is a rational response to capitalism and thus is found in all classes.
Marxism AO2
1. It is too deterministic and over-predicts w/c crime: not all poor people commit crime, despite poverty and alienation. Furthermore, not all capitalist societies have high crime rates e.g. Japan has much less crime than America. 2. Highlights the macro influences on crime and deviance, both ideological and economic.
Marxism AO2
3. It shows the link between the law and the interests of capitalism. This puts labelling theory's insights on selective enforcement of the law into wider structural contexts. 4. Ignores the role of law in protecting all members of society, not just the powerful. 5. Socialist societies also have high levels of crime
Marxism AO2
6. Although the criminal justice system does sometimes act against the capitalist class, e.g. occasionally prosecuting corporate crime, Marxists interpret this as an ideological function to make the system appear impartial. 7. Left-wing idealism tends to romanticise the deviant and criminal at the expense of the victim.
Slapper and Tombs
They apply the traditional Marxist view to corporate crime, which they argue is under-policed and rarely prosecuted. This encourages companies to use crime as a means of making profit, often at the expense of workers or consumers.
Marxism AO2
Feminists criticise both traditional and Neo-Marxist approaches for being 'gender blind'. Others criticise traditional Marxism for largely ignoring non-property crime and deviance. Left realists crisitcise Neo-Marxism for romanticising w/c criminals as 'Robin Hoods' fighting capitalism.
Conflict theory AO2
1. The use of content analysis of both media products and semiotic interpretation of 'styles' by conflict theories has been an important contribution to an understanding of the role of the media in promoting images and ideologies associated with deviant and criminal subcultures. The objects of such investigations (TV programmes/newspaper articles) are conducive (sprzyjający) to investigation by content analysis, but have the disadvantage of being subjective interpretations. 2. Marxists see homosexuality as stigmatised because it represents a 'threat' to the reproduction of the next generation of workers who are needed for the survival of capitalism.