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Marxist Explanations of Crime
and Deviance
·Traditional Marxism
·State, Corporate and White Collar crime…read more

Slide 2

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Overview: Traditional Marxism
· Main focus: crime is an unavoidable
product of capitalism & the class
inequality that the economic system
· Argues middle class crime (white collar,
corporate, and state crime) is under-
policed, under-punished and under-
· See working class as passive victims
who are driven to criminality by factors
beyond their control…read more

Slide 3

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Overview: New Criminology
· Also known as a neo-Marxist approach
· See working class as group who react in
response to their experience of capitalism
and its constraints imposed on them.
· Therefore crime is political, as well as a
deliberate and conscious action. The working
class are acting to alter society for the better and
this is counteracted by the ruling class who
recognise the power the working class have andW/C
take steps to control the `problem' population.
Society…read more

Slide 4

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Overview: Marxist theories of White
Collar, Corporate & State Crime
· Croall: White collar crime is "crime committed in the course of
legitimate employment involving the abuse of an
occupational role." This includes fraud, accounting offences,
tax evasion, insider dealing and computer crimes.
· It is noted by Croall that this type of crime is usually
committed by those at the top of the occupational
hierarchy as well as companies themselves (such as
corporate manslaughter ­ when individuals employed by the
organisation die due to the job they have).
· Another example of corporate crime would be businesses
disposing of waste substances incorrectly in order to cut
down on costs
· The Official Crime Statistics are not a true reflection of this
type of crime…read more

Slide 5

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Traditional Marxism (1)
· A) Crime as a natural aspect of capitalism:
Gordon said the ideology of capitalism
encourages criminal behaviour (values such as
materialism, competition, consumerism)
Crimes, such as sexual and domestic, may be
experienced by groups in the lower socio-economic
ladder due to the frustration, anger, envy and failure
they experience from lack of job satisfaction &
power at work. This can also result in alienation
which fuels these types of crime.…read more

Slide 6

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Traditional Marxism (2)
·B) The law as ideology
Althusser states that the law is an Ideological State Apparatus ­ it functions
in the interests of the capitalist class to maintain and legitimate class
Mannheim argues the law is concerned with protecting the wealth, private
property and profit; the main priorities of a capitalist society.
Box states that the ruling classes have the power to prevent laws which are
not in their interest e.g. health and safety laws (like criminalising if an
employee dies at work due to a work related cause). They ensure their
activities are not defined as criminal.
Marxists note laws in the interest of the working class have been
passed (trade unions rights, health and safety, equal opportunities for
women and ethnic minorities) but these are weakly enforced or modified
later to suit ruling class interests.
Marxists also point out the law enforcement is selective and tends to
favour the rich and powerful e.g. social security fraud results in
prosecution yet fraudsters, who are often wealthy, powerful individuals very
rarely get taken to court.…read more

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