Neo-Marxism: Critical Criminology

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  • Neo-Marxism: Critical Criminology
    • Taylor et al agree with Marxists that
      • Capitalist society is based on exploitation and class conflict and characterised by extreme inequalities of wealth and power.
      • The state makes and enforces laws in the interests of the capitalist society and criminalises members of the working-class
      • Marxism should be replaced by a classless society, which would decrease the ratesof crime.
      • The describe their approach as critical criminology.
    • Anti-determinism
      • Taylor et al argues that Marxism is deterministic
      • Taylor et al takes a more voluntaristic view (voluntarism is the odea that we have free will)
      • They see crime as meaningful action and a conscious choice by the actor, and that crime often has a political motive.
      • Criminals are not passive puppets whose behaviour is shaped by capitalism, they are deliberately striving to change society
    • A Full Social Theory of Deviance
      • Taylor et al aims to create a 'fully social theory of deviance' - a comprehensive understanding of crime and deviance that would help change society for the better.
      • This theory would have two main soures
        • Marxist ideas about the unequal distribution of wealth and who has the power to make and enforce the law.
        • Ideas form interactionism and labelling theory about the meaning of the deviant act for the actor, societal reactions and effects of labelling on the individual.
      • A complete theory of deviance needs to unite six aspects
        • The wider origins of the deviant act
        • The immediate origins of the deviant act.
        • The act itself
        • The immediate origins of social reaction
        • The wider origins of social reaction.
        • The effects of labelling
    • Evaluation of Critical Criminology
      • Feminists criticise Taylor et sl for being gender blind, focusing on male criminality.
      • Left realists make two related criticisms.
        • Makes working-class criminals seem as though they are hero's who are fighting capitalism by re-distributing wealth, in reality these criminals mostly prey on the poor.
        • Taylor et al do not take crime seriously and they ignore the effects on working-class individuals.
      • Burke argues that critical criminology is too idealistic to be useful in tackling crime.


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