- Created by: orientalnugget
- Created on: 15-06-18 09:13
Explaining class differences in crime
Official statistics show the WC are more lkely to than higher classes to offend
Functionalism: Crime is the product of inadequate socialisation into a shared culture.
- Miller: the lower class has an independent subculture opposed to mainstream culture and explains higher crime rate
Merton's Strain theory: Class structure denies WC people opportunitiies to achieve legitimately so they resort to utilitarian crime
Cohen's Subculture theories: WC youths are as culturally depried and unable to achieve in education. Failure gives rise to status frustration.
- Cloward and Ohlin identifies three deviant subcultures: conflict, criminal and retreatist
Labelling theory: rejects official statistics as they are not a valid picture of which class commits the most crime. They focus on law enforcement agencies, which have the power to label to WC as criminals.
Marxism, class and crime
Marxists agree that the law is enforced mainly against the WC and official statistics are flawed.
- Criticises labelling theory for ignoring the structure of capitalism
- Marxism is a structural theory: the structure of capitalism explains crime
Crimonegenic capitalism: Crime is inevitable in capitalism because it's very nature causes crime
- WC crime: Capitalism is baed on the exploitation of the WC for profit, as a result
- Poverty may mean crime is the only way some can survive consuming goods encouraged by capitalist advertising, resulting in utilitarian crime. e.g. theft.
- Alienation may cause frustration and aggression, leading to non-utilitarian crimes e.g.violence and vadalism
Ruling class crime: Capitalism is a win-it-all costs system of competition. This encourages capitalists to commit coporate crime e.g. tax evasions, breaking health and safety laws.
Marxism is too deterministic and over-predicts WC crime: not all poor people commit crime. Not all capitalist countries have a high crime rate. e.g. Japan
Marxism, class and crime / 2
The state and law making
- Law making and enforcement serves the interest of the capitalist class.
- Chambliss: the laws to protect private property are the bais of capitalist economy.
- The RC also have the power to prevent the introduction of laws harmful to their interets.
- Few laws challenge the unequal distribution of wealth.
Selective enforcement: all classes commit crime, there is a selective enforcement of the law
- Reiman: crimes of the powerful are much likely to be treated at criminal offences and prosecuted.
- Carson: a sample of 200 firms found all hadbroken health and safety laws but only 1.5% were prosecuted
- There is a much higher rate of prosecution for the crimes of the poor
Ideologcal functions of crime and law: some laws benefit the WC. e.g. health and safety.
- Pearce: Giving a 'caring' face gives false consciousness
- Selective enforcement distorts crime statistic by making crime appear largely WC. Shifts attention from more serious RC crime.
Neo-Marxism: Critical criminology
Walton and Young agrees with traditional marixsts:
- Capitalism is based on exploitation and inequalty
- State makes and enforces laws in the interest of capitalism and criminalises the WC
- Capitalism sould be replaced by a classless society which would reduce crime
- However, Taylor criticises TM for its determinism; e.g. it sees workers as driven to commit but r
- eject this with theories that claim crime is caused by external factors such as anomie, block opportunities.
Voluntarism: the idea that we have free will - Crime is a consious choice with a political motive e.g. to redistribute wealth from the rich and to the poor. Criminals are deliberately struggling to change society.
A full social theory of deviance: a comprehensive theory that would help to change society for the better.
- Ideas about the unequal opportunities of wealth who has the power to make and enforce the law
- Labelling theory ideas about the meaning of the deviant act for the actor, societal reactions to it, and the effects of the deviant label on the individual.
Crimes of the powerful
The law is selectively enforced and higher-cass and corporate offenders are less likely to be proecuted.
- White collar crimes: Sutherland - crime committed by a personal of high status in the course of his occupation e.g.
- Occupational crime: commited by employeed for perosonal gain e.g. stealing from the company
- Corporate crime: commited for the company's benefits e.g. increase its benefits
The scale of corporate crime - CC does more harm than 'ordinary' crime.
- Financial crimes e.g. tax evasion
- Crimes against consumers e.g. selling unfit goods
- Crimes against employees e.g. breaking health and safety laws
- Feminists criticise both Marxists and Neo-Marxists for being 'gender blind'.
- Left realists criticise Neo-Marxism for romanticising WC criminals as 'Robin Hoods' fighting for capitalism
Crimes of the powerful / 2
The Abuse of Trust
- Professionals occupy positions of trust and respectibaility that give them the opporunity to violate this trust e.g. accountabts have been involved in tax fraud and money laundering
- Sutherland: White collar crime makes a greater threat to society than WC 'street' crime.
- It promotes distrusts of key insitutions and undermines fabric of society
The Inevitability of Corporate Crime: CC is often invisible as it is not seen as 'real' crime
- The media: gives limites coverage to CC and often describes it as techinal infringements. Reinforces stereotypes that crime is a WC phenomenom
- Lack of political will to tackle CC
- CC is complex: Law enforcers are under resources and lack technical expertise to investigate effectively
- De-labelling: offences are often defined as civil, penalties are ften fines, not jail time
- Under-reporting: The victim is sociwty at large tather than a particular indivdual. Victims may not know they have been victimised, not regard it as 'real' crime, or feel powerless and not report the offence.
Explanations of corporate crime
Merton's strain theory
- If a company cannot achieve its goal by legal means, it may employ illegal ones instead
- Research shows that companies' law violation increased as their profitability declined
Differential association - Sutherland: Crime as socially learned behaviour. If a company's deviant subculture justifies committing crime, employees will be socialised into criminility. Learning techniques of neutralisation.
Labelling theory: Companies have the power to avoid labelling e.g. hiring expensive lawyers. The inability of enforcement agences to investigate effectively also reduces the number of offences officially labelled
Marxism: CC is a result from the normal functioning of capitalism.
- Capitalism goals are to maximise profits, it causes harm e.g. to employees and consumers.
- Capitalism creates ideology that CC is less widespread or harmful than WC crime. It also controls the state, so it can avoid making laws that confluct with its interests.