Marxist View of Crime and Deviance

  • Created by: Aimee
  • Created on: 04-04-18 10:32
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  • Marxist View of Crime and Deviance
    • 'The real criminals in our society are not the people who populate our prisons, but those who have stole the wealth of the world from the people'.
      • Quote by Angels Davis. Instead of it being the typical stereotype of w/c people populating the prisons due to committing crime the real criminals are actually the Bourgeoisie who exploit the workers and prevent them from becoming wealthy individuals.
        • The Bourgeoisie take away the w/c means and opportunities of becoming wealthy and keep them in a subordinate, exploited position within society.
      • Unequal law enforcement..Marxist view is that judges are typically older, white, m/c so they are biased against the working class.
        • Also... certain types of crime are likely to be deal with rigorously e.g. street crime but wcc pretty much ignored.
          • Different crimes= different sentences.
          • Why do we ignore white collar crime?
            • 'Invisible crime' and often 'victimless' e.g. Gary Barlow not paying taxes didn't cause individuals to run around worrying about missing money because it is a diffusion of victimisation.
              • Lack of awareness
                • Institutional protection-  for example banks quite often won't want the police knowing that crime is taking place in their banks in case they loose their reputation.
                • Lack of convictions- middle class offenders- complex crimes and m/c offenders can afford good lawyers so tend to get off easier.
            • Crime may benefit everyone involved. E.g. victim might not report it to the police if being bribed or they feel embarrassed about it.
            • Difficult to investigate- access to where it takes place might be restricted.
            • Example: Bhopal Gas Explosion- turned of coolant system to save money but lead to hundred of deaths. Blamed a negligent worker, nobody went to jail only very small fine issued.
              • Lauren Snider argues that losses from corporate crime are 20x greater than looses due to street crime, yet the chances of prosecution and penalties and small.
                • David Gordon argues that selective enforcement serves capitalism in a number of ways.
                  • Imprisonment neutralises opposition. People who are protesting, rebelling against the system and committing crimes against the rich because they disagree with nature of capitalism, neutralises any opposition, it gets them out of circulation.
                    • Defines criminals are animal justifies locking hem away and diverts attention away from the real problems in society.
                    • William Chambliss: Argues that power is the key factor- the courts and the jails filled with the poor and powerless; while organised crime is operated by the economic and political elites- they appear to be legit.
        • Working class more likely to be targeted by police and dealt with in a harsh way.
          • Confronting style of policing used with w/c- more likely to react negatively leader to harsher punishment.
    • Elements of the Marxist Approach
      • Manipulation of values
        • Theory developed by Althusser.
          • He said that the ruling class control the values of society in 2 ways.
            • 1) Socialisation- ideological control- people are persuaded into the rightness of capitalism by agencies such as schools and the mass media. Certain capitalist values are taught though these agencies such as meritocracy.
              • Also pushed into the ideas of individual success like respecting private property, hierarchy making us think capitalism is right and fair -(fcc)
            • Also learn to accept what counts as crime e.g. is someone shot someone in a supermarket this would be considered criminal but the exploitation of workers is not considered a crime when many people die every year because of work.
            • 2) Control values through the repressive state apparatus or threat /coercive control. Threat occurs if socialisation fails and formal agents of social control have to step in e.g. the police.
          • Because of manipulation of values law is applied unevenly.
            • Working class more likely to be caught, arrested and convicted.
              • There behaviour is criminalised. Can't afford expensive lawyers. This reinforces stereotype of w/c being more criminal.
                • Stereotype of w/c being more criminal is transmitted to us through socialisation e.g. the media. It also leads to more biased policing-.
                  • Who we perceive to be the most likely victims of crime: Older people more fearful of crime but young people more likely to be victims. Black people more likely to be victims than white people. Poor more likely to be victims than the rich. Also crime more likely in urban than rural areas.
                  • The middle class are more protected from being victims of crime. Private property- invest more in security measures, better relationships with the police force so their m/c areas more closely monitored, also more likely to have insurance.
                • Triple Negative? W/c negatively labelled as criminal therefore treated differently by the police, more likely to be victims of crime, and less likely to go to the police or be protected by the police (police not respecting them or taking them seriously).
      • Law Creation
        • Reflects the interests of the ruling class
        • Many wealthy people work for the state so can influence the agenda about what laws need to be passed and do so making sure the values are sympathetic to the riling class.
          • Chambliss: "The heart of the capitalist state is the protection of private property"- state passes laws that protect private property and the economy, not people.
            • Laws created to benefit the rich and protect their wealth and status.
            • E.g. 'Sparkhill bank robber jailed for 13-and-a-half years for blowing up three cashpoints'. Contrasted with 'British solider jailed for nine years for a ****** a six year old girl.
              • This shows that money and material wealth are more important to the state than human wellbeing and protection.
        • Insiders: Ruling class can also manipulate law creation through pressure group activity- putting pressure on the government and policy making. Two different types of pressure groups- insiders vs outsiders.
        • Evidence of unequal law creation: Frank Pearce- 'Crimes of the Powerful'. Suggests that laws which appear to benefit everyone, in reality only benefit the ruling class e.g. the NHS.
          • Dumping: When the U.S. government forces a dangerous drug, pesticide or other product off the domestic market, the manufacturer then sells the same product- frequently with the support of the State Department -through the rest of the world.
            • Selling dangerous products to developing countries but won't sell it to their own people.
      • Law enforcement
        • Is applied differently to different groups of people/social groups
          • E.g. Gary Barlow didn't pay 3 million pounds worth of tax but wasn't punished and instead just asked to pay it back whereas Nicolas Robinson who accidentally  stole a bottle of water during the riots in 2012 went to jail for 6 months.
      • Criminogenic Capitalism: Individual Motivation
        • Yes there might be structures at work that cause crime but we are also looking at how individuals choose to act criminally in response to capitalism.
          • Marxists argue that the causes of crime lie in the nature of capitalist society with emphasis on competition and the acquisition of wealth.
            • The inability to some groups to achieve these goals leads to crime (sounds like Merton's strain theory).
            • Values and goals come from socialisation e.g. education and the real drive towards economic success, being in competition with one another, respect hierarchy, be in conflict, work hard, get your financial rewards.
              • We are socialised into these sorts of values and if you think about it these are Gordon's criminogenic values.
                • Criminogenic capitalism is the Marxist idea that crime is inevitable because of the nature of capitalism.
                  • Because of unequal divide, for some people committing crime is the only way they can live.
                    • AO3: Ignores crimes of passion and doesn't take into consideration that crimes against the wealthy such as robbery are very difficult due to high security and police control in their areas.
                  • Capitalism creates the need to 'win at all costs' and encourages self interest and greed.
                    • AO3: Middle class can also have these values leading to wcc however wcc often goes unnoticed and is punished less.
                      • Frank Pearce: Crimes of the powerful- crimes committed by the state, private businesses organisations and corporation.
                    • AO3: Are the w/c really committing more crime or does it just appear this way in statistics because of biased policing, unfair sentencing, etc.

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