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Sociology - crime
Topic 3 - Marxism…read more

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Traditional Marxism
·Structural theory
·Capitalist society is divided into WC and MC
·Economic base determines shape of the superstructure which is made up of
·Their function is to serve RC interests and maintain capitalism
·The view has 3 main elements;
·1 criminogenic capitalism
·2 state and law making
·3 ideological functions of crime and law…read more

Slide 3

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1 criminogenic capitalism
·Crime is inevitable in capitalism as capitalism is criminogenic (it causes crime naturally)
·Exploitation may give rise to crime
·Crime is work to survive when living in poverty
·Crime is a way to gain material goods encouraged by capitalist advertising resulting in
utilitarian crime
·Alienation + lack of control over their lives = frustration resulting in non-utilitarian crime
·Crime isn't confined to WC
·David Gordon argues crime is a rational response to the capitalist system hence it is found
in all social classes despite statistics make it look like a WC phenomenon…read more

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2 the state and law making
·Marxists see law making and enforcement as serving interests
of the CC
·William Chambliss argues laws that protect private property
are the cornerstone of capitalist economy
·The RC have the power to prevent introduction of laws that
would threaten their interest
·Lauren Snider argues capitalist state is reluctant to pass laws
that regulate activities of business or threaten profit…read more

Slide 5

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Selective enforcement
·All classes commit crime
·Application of law by CJS is selectively enforced
·Powerless WC and ethnic minorities are criminalised
·Police and courts ignore crime of the powerful
·Jeffrey Reimans book 'the rich get richer and the poor get
prison' shows the mor likely a crime is to be committed by RC,
the less likely it is to be treated as a crime…read more

Slide 6

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3 ideological functions of crime
and law
·Laws are occasionally passed to appear to benefit WC rather than capitalism
·Frank Pearce argues laws will often benefit the RC too by giving the RC a 'caring' face
·These WC benefiting laws aren't enforced
·W.G. Carson found in a sample of 200 firms, they had all broken health and safety laws more
than once
·As state selectively enforces laws crime appears to be largely a WC phenomenon
·This divides the WC by encouraging workers to blame criminals in their midst for their
problems rather than capitalism
·Media also portrays criminals as disturbed individuals concealing the fact it's the nature of
capitalism that makes people criminals…read more

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