Marxist theories

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How does traditional Marxism see society?
Divided between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat
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What kind of theory is Marxism?
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What does this mean?
Society is a structure. The capitalist economic base determines the superstructure
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What does this mean about the functions of the institutions in society?
Their function is to serve ruling class interests
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What is crimogenic capitalism?
The idea that crime in inevitable in capitalism because the nature of capitalist society causes crime
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What is capitalism based on?
The exploitation of the working class
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Why do the working class, therefore, commit crime?
To survive in poverty, To obtain consumer goods that are championed by capitalism, Because of the frustration caused by alienation
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What is capitalism to the ruling class?
A win-at-all-costs system of competition
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What does this encourage?
The committing of corporate crimes
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What does Gordon (1976) argue about crime?
It is a rational response to capitalism and thus is found in all classes
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How do marxists view law making and enforcement?
It serves the interests of the capitalist class
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What does Chambliss (1975) argue?
Laws protect private property. This is the basis of capitalist economy
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What do the ruling class have the power to do?
Prevent the introduction of laws that are harmful to their interests
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Even though all classes commit crime, what is the method of law enforcement?
It is selective
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What does Reiman (2001) observe?
The crimes of the powerful are less likely to be treated as criminal and be prosecuted
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What evidence does Carson (1971) use to reinforce this?
Of a sample of 200 firms, all 200 had broken health and safety regulations and only 1.5% of cases were prosecuted
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How does this contrast to working class crimes?
Far more WC criminals are prosecuted
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What are the functions of crime and law for capitalism?
Promoting capitalist agenda
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What kind of laws benefit workers?
Health and Safety, Minimum Wage etc.
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What does Pearce (1976) argue about this?
These laws also benefit capitalism. The 'kind' face of capitalism creates a false class consciousness
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What is the result of selective enforcement?
Crime appears to be largely working-class. It distorts crime statistics and shifts attention away from serious RC crime
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What does this do within the working class?
It creates division. The working class blame other working class criminals instead of capitalism
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How do neo-marxists Taylor, Walton and Young (1973) agree with traditional marxism?
They believe capitalism is based on exploitation and inequality, that the state enforces laws beneficial to capitalism and criminalises the working class, capitalism should be replaced with classless society
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How do Taylor et al criticise traditional marxism?
They do not like its determinism. They reject the view that people only commit crime out of economic necessity
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What is Voluntarism?
The idea that crime is a conscious choice, often with a political motive. Criminals are actively struggling to change society
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What do Taylor et al believe their theory provides?
"A fully social theory of deviance"
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What are the main sources of this theory?
Marxist ideas about distribution of wealth and class conflict and Labelling theory's ideas of the meaning of crime to the actor and society
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What kind of theory is Marxism?



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What does this mean?


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What does this mean about the functions of the institutions in society?


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What is crimogenic capitalism?


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