Topic 3 - Marxist Theories

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  • Created by: 09eatonb
  • Created on: 28-12-15 19:25

Traditional / Classical Marxists -

  • See society as divided into 2 classes:
    • the ruling capitalist class (who own the means of production) and
    • the working-class (whose labour capitalists exploit for profit)
  • Structural theory:
    • society is a structure whose capital economic base determines the superstructure i.e all the institutions, including the state, the law and the criminal justice system
    • their functions is to serve ruling-class interests
  • This capitalist structure explains crime
  • Criminogenic Capitalism = Crime is inevitable in capitalism, because capitalism is criminogenic - its very nature causes crime
    • Working-class crime = capitalism is based on the exploitation of the working class for profit. as a result:
      • Poverty may mean crime is the only way to survive 
      • Crime may be the only way of obtaining consumer goods encouraged by capitalist advertising, resulting in utilitarian crimes, e.g theft
      • Alienation may cause frustration and aggression, leading to non-utilitarian crimes, e.g violence and vandalism
    • Ruling-class crime = 
      • Capitalism is a win-at-all-costs system of competition, while the profit motive encourages greed. This encourages capitalists to commit corperate crimes, e.g tax evasion, breaking health and safety laws
      • GORDON (1976) - crime is a rational reponse to capitalism and hus is found in all classes
  • The State and law making -
    • law making and enforcement = serving the interests of the capitalist class.
    • CHAMBLISS (1975) = laws to protect private property are the basis of the capitalist economy
    • The ruling class also have the power to prevent the introduction of laws harmful to their interests. few laws challenge the unequal…


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