Traditional Marxism

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According to Marxists, what (generally) explains crime?
The structure of Capitalist society
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What are the 3 main elements on the traditional Marxist view of crime
1. Criminogenic capitalism 2. The state and law making 3. Ideological functions of crime and law
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What do Marxists mean by criminogenic?
The very nature of capitalism causes crime
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Does this mean that, in Capitalist society, crime is likely to be controlled?
No, crime in a Capitalist society is inevitable
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Why is crime inevitable in a Capitalist society?
Capitalism is based on exploiting the working class as a means to an end (regardless of human cost) so is likely to damage the working class in a number of ways that will lead them to commit crime.
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In which 3 ways does the damage caused by the ruling class cause the working class to commit crime in capitalist society?
1. Poverty may mean that crime is the only way the W.C can survive 2.Crime may be the only way W.C can consume goods encouraged by C advertising 3. Alienation and lack of control over their lives may lead to crimes of frustration/aggression
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Is crime confined to the W.C in capitalist society?
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Why is there crime among the R.C?
Capitalism is a system of ruthless competition among Capitalists and the motivation of profit encourages a mentality of greed and self interest.
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What type of crime do the R.C typically commit?
Utilitarian crime
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Examples of Utilitarian crime most commited by the R.C?
coporate crime such as tax evasion and breaches of healthy and safety laws
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Who argues that crime is a rational response to the capitalist system so it is found in all social classes?
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What does Gordon say about official statistics?
That they deliberately make crime appear to be a largely working-class phenomenon
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Who do Traditional marxists see as law making/enforcement benefiting?
The R.C
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Who argues that laws that are made to protect private property are the cornerstone of capitalist economy?
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He illustrates this with....
The introduction of English law into Britain's East African colonies
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What did Britain's economic interest lay in (in their colonies)
Tea/coffee (and other) plantations
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However, this required...
A lot of local labour
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At the time, the local econmy was not based on...
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How did they force the African population (who were reluctant) to work for them?
They introduced a tax that was only payable by money (which could only be earnt by working on the plantations.)
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How does this relate to crime and deviance?
Not paying the tax was a (punisable) criminal offence.
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Therefore, this tax law served...
the (economic) interests of the capitalist plantation owners.
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As well as the R.C having the power to introduce laws, they also have the power ...
to prevent the introduction of laws that would threaten their interests.
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For example: There are few laws that seriouisly challenge....
the unequal distribution of wealth.
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What did Snider say?
The capitalist state is reluctant to pass laws that regulate the activities of business/threaten their profitability
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What is selective enforcement?
This is when the criminal justice system is selectively applied to some and not others.
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Whilst the police and courts tend to ignore crimes of the powerful...
powerless groups such as the W.C or ethnic minorities are criminalised.
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What is the title of Reiman's book about this topic?
"The rich get richer, the poor get prison."
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What is "The rich get richer, the poor get prison"'s underlying message?
The more likely a crime is to be commited by someone of a higher class, the less likely that it is to be treated as a criminal offence.
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What is his evidence for this?
There is a disproportionately high rate of prosecutions for crimes typically commited by the poor (street crimes)
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Examples of crimes commited mostly by the R.C:
Health and safety violations/ tax evasions.
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The law also performs an...
ideological function for capitalism
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Laws are occasionally passed to appear...
to be for the benefit of the working class
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Who argues that these laws often benefit the R.C too?
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What is an example of this?
Health and safety laws to keep workers fit for work longer.
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He argues that this is to give Capitalism....
a 'caring face'
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What does this create among working class people?
A false consciousness (they are not aware of their opression/exploitation)
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In any case, these types of laws are not....
rigorously enforced.
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An example of this was provided by...
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What did Carson make a sample of?
200 firms
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From this sample, he found that...
all had violated health/safety regulations
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Only a very small proportion of these...
resulted in prosecution
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What percentage of these resulted in prosecution?
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As the state enforces the law selectively, crime appears to be...
largely a working-class phenomenon
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This divides the working class by....
encouraging workers to blame the criminals for their problems (other W.C), rather than capitalism
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What contributes to painting criminals as disturbed individuals?
The media and some criminologists
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By doing this, what do they conceal?
The fact that capitalism is criminogenic
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What are the 3 main elements on the traditional Marxist view of crime


1. Criminogenic capitalism 2. The state and law making 3. Ideological functions of crime and law

Card 3


What do Marxists mean by criminogenic?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Does this mean that, in Capitalist society, crime is likely to be controlled?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Why is crime inevitable in a Capitalist society?


Preview of the front of card 5
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