Neo- Marxism

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Sociologists who have been influenced by many of the ideas of traditional Marxism which are then combined with the approaches such as labelling theory. The New Criminology of Taylor, Walton and Young is the most well known example of neo Marxism. This generally agrees with the traditional Marxist analysis that the state makes and enforces laws in the interests of the capitalist class and criminalises members of the working class. However, neo Marxists are critical of traditional Marxism which they argue are too deterministic.  Neo Marxists argue that the working class and members of ethnic minority groups experience the constraints of capitalism and then make choices about how they should react to this experience.

From a neo Marxist perspective, crime is a deliberate and meaningful political response by the powerless to their position within the capitalist system. The poor and the powerless commit crime as a way of protesting against injustice, exploitation and alienation. Neo Marxists claim that the crimes against property, such as theft and burglary are a reaction to wealth inequality. Vandalism is a symbolic attack on society’s obsession with property. Criminals are therefore not the passive victims of capitalism; they are actively trying to change society for the better.

Neo Marxists argue that the ruling class is aware of the revolutionary potential of working class crime and has taken steps to control it – state apparatuses such as the police


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