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Evaluation of Critical Criminology

  • Feminists argue it is 'gender blind' focusing more on male criminality
  • Left realists make two criticisms:
  • Makes out that WC criminals are 'Robin Hoods' (fighting the RC by re-distributing wealth from them) however  in reality, these criminals simply prey on the poor
  • Taylor doesn't take crime seriously and ignores it's effects on WC victims
  • Burke, argues its's both too general to explain crime and too idealistic to be useful in tackling crime
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Marxist Theory

Marxist/Neo-Marxism Theories

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Labelling Theory

Labelling Theory

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A fully Social Theory of Deviance- Taylor

  • Aimed to create an comprehensive understanding of crime and deviance, to help change society for the better
  • A complete theory of deviance needs to unite six aspects:
  • Wider reasons why the deviant act was done
  • Why the individual decides to commit the act
  • The act itself
  • Reactions of those around the deviant (police, family etc)
  • Why are some acts treated more harshly than others- who has the power to define actions as deviant
  • Effects of labelling on the deviants future

All six are all realted and need to be understood together as part of a united theory

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Critical Criminology- Taylor

  • Agree with traditional Marxists on:
  • Capitalism is based on exploitation of WC
  • State makes laws in Capitalist interest
  • Capitalism should be replaced by a classless society

Anti-Determinism- Taylor

  • Argued traditional Marxism is deterministic, Taylor takes more volutaristic view (the idea we have free will)
  • Crime is an meaningful action and a conscious choice
  • Criminals aren't passive puppets and behaviour isn't shaped by the nature of Capitalism, they want to change society
  • Individuals shouldn't be labelled deviant just because they are different, they should be free to live their lives as they wish
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Marxist Theory

  • Conflict Theory
  • Marxist view of Crime has three elements:

Criminogenic Capitalism (creating conditions for crime through exploitation + competition)

  • Capitalism is based on exploitation of the working class, which then makes the WC commit crime, example:
  • poverty may mean crime is the only way to survive
  • crime is the only way they can get goods that are encouraged by capitalist advertising
  • alienation and lack of control over their lives may lead to frustration and aggression= violence and vandalism

Gordon, argues crime is a rational response to Capitalist system

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Marxist Theory

The State and Law making

  • Law making and enforcement is serving the interests of the Capitalist class
  • Chambliss, argued laws protect private property and are the cornerstone (beginning) of Capitalist economy
  • RC have the power to prevent laws that threaten their interests
  • Sinder, said Capitalist won't pass laws that threaten their profitability
  • Ideological Functions of Crime and Law
  • Laws are passed that appear to 'benefit' the WC, for example Workplace Health and Safety 
  • Pearce, argued laws that suppose to benefit the WC also benefit the RC- by keeping workers fit to work and giving Capitalism a 'caring' face, giving false consciousness among WC
  • Such laws aren't always enforced= Carson, found in 200 firms that they had all broken the H&S laws at least once and 1.5% of cases resulted in prosecution
  • Sate enrofces the law selectively and divides the WC, encouraging workers to blame criminals for their problems 
  • Media contribute by portraying criminals as disturbed individuals
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UNIT 4 Crime and Deviance

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Labelling Theory

  • Labelling Theory= interested in how and why certain acts come to be defined or labelled as criminal in the first place

The Social Construction of Crime

  • No act is inherently criminal or deviant in itself, all situations and at all times, it only comes to be so when others label it as to be criminal or deviant
  • Not the nature of the act that makes it deviant, but the nature of societys reaction to the act
  • Becker, 'social groups create deviance by creating the rules... and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders'
  • Argued that deviant is simply someone who had label sucessfully applied to them and deviant behaviour is simply behaviour that people label
  • Moral entrepreneurs= people who lead a moral 'crusade' to change the laws in the belief that it will benefit those to who it is applied to
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