Marxist Theories Mindmap Relating to Crime and Deviance

Notes on Marxist Theories on crime and deviance.

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  • Marxist Theories
    • Traditional Marxism
      • Sees society split up into two classes
        • Bourgeoisie- own the means of production.
        • Proletariat- the working class, who serve the needs of the bourgeoisie
      • It is a structural theory- it sees society as a structure which is determined on the economic base
      • See capitalist system as criminogenic. Crime is inevitable.
        • Because working class are exploited, it may give rise to crime because...
          • Working class may be in poverty, so crime is the only way they can survive
          • The working class' lives may be controlled so they may become aggressive.
          • Crime may be the only way that the working class can gain the goods advertised.
        • Capitalism encourage greed, so corporate crime happens.
      • Believe laws are made to serve the interests of the ruling class.
        • Ruling class have the power to prevent laws being made that do not benefit them.
      • Believe selective enforcement happens when prosecuting crime.
        • Little corporate crime is prosecuted.
          • Police are happy to prosecute working class (less powerful)
      • Criticisms
        • Ignores relationship between crime and non-class inequalities
        • Over exaggerates working class crime- too deterministic- not all people who suffer from poverty commit crime
        • Corporate crime does get prosecuted, it can just be hard to discover.
    • Neo-Marxism
      • Influenced by traditional marxism ideas but combine these ideas with different approaches.
        • Agree with Marxists that sociey is a capitalist one based on exploitation and class conflict.
        • Agree with Marxists that laws made serve the interests of the ruling class
        • Society should be replaced with a classless society.
      • However, they think that the Traditional Marxist view is too deterministic as it sees workers commiting crime through economic necessity.
        • Also reject the wiew that anomie, subcultures, labelling or phychological or biological factors cause crime.
      • Balieve crime is caused because of an individuals free will and choice to offend.
        • Believe crime is done to distribute wealth from the rich to the poor.
          • Do not believe that individuals commit crime because of the way their behaviour is shaped by society, they believe they commit crime to change society.
      • Created a Fully Social Theory of Deviance- this is six aspects that need to be united to help explain a deviant/criminal act.
      • Criticisms
        • Left Realists say that they make criminals out to be 'Robin Hoods' which is not the case as many criminals prey on the poor.
        • Burke belives this view is far too general to explain crime, and far too idealistic to use to tackle crime.


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