Marxist theories of crime and deviance

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  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 13-10-15 19:50
For a key assumption of Marxism, how do they view official crime statistics and why?
They reject official statistics on crime, making them part of their subject of study. They see them as a social construction and so underestimate crime,
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As a key assumption of Marxism, how do they believe crime is caused and what does this mean?
Structurally caused- So focusing on the way society is organised, offender's social background, upbringing, social position,
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As a key assumption of Marxism, what do they link crime and deviance strongly to?
The concept of power and social control,
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As a key assumption of Marxism, what type of studies do they prefer?
Qualitiative secondary case studies,
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For structural causes for classical Marxism, what is the term Marxists use which means capitalism by its nature causes crime?
Criminogenic capitalism
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What does what sociologist argue about capitaism creating economic inequalities?
Chambliss, -He argues capitalism creates economic inequalities as the powerless (working class) are exploited by the powerful ruling class,
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What did Chambliss argue exploitation results in and how does this lead to crime?
It leads to poverty and unemployment which in turn explain working class utilitarian (money-making) street crime,
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What results in the working class causing non-utilitarian crime?
Alienation (frustration and lack of control) such as violence and vandalism,
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What did Chambliss also argue about capitalist values and examples of these values?
He argues capitalist values such as profit, wealth creation, competition and self-interest creates pressure on both the middle and working class to commit crime,
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Based on Chamberliss' argument, what type of crime are the powerful and powerless each drawn to?
Powerful-white-collar crimes, Powerless-street crimes,
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What is a health and safety crime commited by the powerful and why did it happen?
the Bhopal Gas disaster. Union Carbide's concern for profability meant that profits were put before safety resulting in a gas explosion in Bhopal killing thousands of people,
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Give another example of money making crime by the powerful by Nick Leeson?
Nick Leeson's fraudulent stock market trading which led to losses of million of pounds and the eventual collapse of Baring bank,
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How do Marxists view the nature of deviance?
It is a social construction,
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Unlike interactionist, why do classic Marxists have a stronger view on the links between power and deviance?
As classical Marxists such as Pearce explain subjective law creation by the state, and in doign so have a stronger view on the links between deviance and power,
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What do Classical Marxists maintain about most laws?
That they are largely created by the state to protect the interests of the powerful ruling class,
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Give an example of this from the 1980s about strikes?
Employment and trade union laws implemented by Mrs Thatcher undermined trade union power by limiting numbers on picket lines and requring secret ballots before strikes,
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Give an example of a law which appears to benefit the working class and Marxist views on it?
-Workplace health and safety laws, -They perform an ideological function by creating the belief that the law operates equally when in reality it doesnt,
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What do Classical Marxists argue about the extent of deviance?
It is socially constructed,
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Like interactionists, what does Pearce argue about deviance and crime?
Pearce argues the extent and distribution of crime and deviance is socially constructed.
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What view does Pearce maintain about the law and what does this mean for crime?
He maintain the view the law is selectively enforced so that powerless groups e.g. working class, are more likely to be policed, arrested and prosecuted than powerful groups,
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Give an example to support Pearce's view about tax and dole fraud?
The cost of tax fraud (generally committed by the ruling class) is x4 the cost of dole fraud, yet there are 56 more proescutions for dole fraud than tax,
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Unlike interactionists, how do Classical Marxists differ?
They explain why the law is selectively enforced,
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What do Marxists argue that selective law enforcement shows?
That is serves to create the belief (an ideoligical function) that crime is a working class problem,
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If selective law enforcement suggests this, what does it divert attention away from and an example from 2009?
It draws attention away from crimes committed by powerful groups e.g. British MPs 'fradulent' expenses claims revealed in 2009,
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What effect do they argue this has on the working class and why?
To reduce working class solidarity by creating the belief that working class criminals are the 'enemy' to law abiding working class rather than the ruling who exploit them on a daily basis.
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How does this keep the ruling class in power?
it makes revolution and change less likely,
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How do Marxists view social control and social order in general?
They have a negative view,
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What do Marxists argue is the role of socialisation?
it is an agent of social control and part of the superstrucutre which transmits ideolgies of the powerful ruling class
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What do these ideologies ensure about the working class and what does this maintain?
It ensures the W/C are kept in a state of false class-consciousness which prevents revolutionary thoughts, hence why capitalist social order is maintained,
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Give an example in schools of ideologies maintaining false-class consciousness?
Schools instil values such as obedience, punctuality, acceptance of hierarchy, power difference and inequality,
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Give an example in relgion of ideologies maintaining false-class consciousness?
Religion acts as 'opium of the people. It achieves this by diminishing the chance of revolution through creating working class fears of going to hell,
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How does the criminal justice system reduce the threat of revolution?
By making it appear crime is largely a working class problem and thereby dividing the working class. it also creates the illusion that laws are created in the interests of the working class
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How do sanctions ensure social control and order?
Crime and deviance is controlled by negative sanctions/punsihments for deviance e.g.imprisonment. However, selective law enforcement takes place so that the powerless working class are more likely to be punished,
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What theorists is the New (critical) Criminology theory based on?
Neo-Marxsm
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\What three sociologists criticise classical Maxist approaches and why?
Taylor, Walton and Young criticise classical Marxist approaches for their determinism and ignroing the individual meanings behind crime,
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What 6 things does Taylor et al suggest that a full social theory of deviance will recognise?
1)wider structurcal origins of deviant acts,2)Immediate origins,3)Deviant act itself and the meaning it offers,4)Immediate social reactions,5)Wider social reactions6)effects of labelling,
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Give the detailed case study as an example of Taylor et al?
Toxeth riots,
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What was the wider structural origins of deviant acts for the Toxeth riots?
Long term unemployment amongst Toxeth residents, especially black people,
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What was the immediate origins of deviant acts for the Toxeth riots?
Racist policing strategies by the police,
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What was the deviant act itself and the meaning offered for the Toxeth riots?
The riots were political protest against economic inequality and discrimination,
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What was the immediate social reaction to the Toxeth riots?
The media coverage was biased (behind the police lines), the police response was confrontational and Mrs Thatcher refused to accept allegations of police racism,
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What were the wider social reactions to the Toxeth riots?
Inappropriate regeneration schemes were created e.g. planting trees,
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What were the effects of labelling?
Black people remained under police suspicion and were more likely to be stopped and searched than whites,
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Who has empirically supported Marxists theories about selective law enforcementand what?
Bennett-he discovered middle class offenders were more likely to be cautioned than working class offenders for the same kind of offence,
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Who has provided empirical support for Marxis theories about laws for the powerful?
Snider-He found the capitalist state were reluctant to pass laws that regulate activities of businesses or threaten their profitability. Therefore, can we argue capitalist consumerism encourage utilitarian crime?
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Who was the last sociologist to provide empirical support for Marxist thories about policing of the powerless?
Sampson-Provides evidence that the powerless are more likely to be policies. He found the police tend to concentrate their patrols in poorer locations because of the belief more crimes takes place in such areas,
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What is a criticism about Marxist views on Official crime statistics?
They too readily dismiss them. By Marxism ignoring OCS completely, they may be missing important basic trends.
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In contrasts, how do other theorists accept offical crime statistics?
other theorists e.g. realists accept that official statistics have problems and are subject to bias but argue that they show the basic reality of crime and can be useful generating casual explanations of crime and deviance,
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Who has provided theoretical weaknesses for Marxism and what?
Left Realists-They attack Marxists for too readily explaining away alot of young, male,working class black crime as a social construction. They argue such groups do commit more crime and there are wider external social/structural causes,
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Why do left realists also criticise Marxist's crude deterministic explanations of crime?
AS they argue instead young, male, working class, black crime can be understood as a response to marginalisation, relative deprivation and subcultures.
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What do left realists also say Marxists lack for focus?
They lack any practical social policy focus. Instead, they put forward realistic solutiosn to try and reduce crime e.g. restorative justice programmes.
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Why have feminists provided theoretical weaknesses for Marxism?
Feminists attack Marxists for failing to consider how patriarchy shapes gender patterns of crime.
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What do reasondo radical feminists claim about why female commit crimes?
-Claim both in the private sphere and public men exert power and social control over women, so women have fewer opportunities to commit crime,
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What do radical feminists argue Marxists ignore?
Female victimisation- They argue women's greater risk of domestic violence and sexual assults is the result of patriarchy control in families and society at large,
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What is the last theoretical weakness of Marxism by a theory that supports OCS?
Functionalist
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Why do Functionalists attack Marxist views of OCS?
They too readily explain away young, male, working class, black crime as a social construction. They argue groups do commit more crime and there are wider structural causes for it which Marxists accept,
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However, why do they criticise Marxist explanations of crime?
As unlike marxists they claim young, male working class black crime can be understood as a response to anomie/blocked opportunities.
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Lastly, why do Functionalists criticise Marxism for offering what type of theory and what it suggests?
-A conspiracy theory, -The argue laws are created which reflect a value consensus and protect the interests of society as a whole, not just a ruling class,
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What is the conclusion for Marxist theory on crime?
The greatest strength of the Marxist approach that recognises crime is socially constructed by agencies of social control and structurally caused. Moreover, the new criminology recognises the need to consider individual meanings,
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what is a weakness for the conclusion of the Marxist approach?
However, the Marxist approach ignores gneder issues as they focus on social class,
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As a key assumption of Marxism, how do they believe crime is caused and what does this mean?

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Structurally caused- So focusing on the way society is organised, offender's social background, upbringing, social position,

Card 3

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As a key assumption of Marxism, what do they link crime and deviance strongly to?

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Card 4

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As a key assumption of Marxism, what type of studies do they prefer?

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Card 5

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For structural causes for classical Marxism, what is the term Marxists use which means capitalism by its nature causes crime?

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