Assess Some of the Ways That Marxists Explain Crime

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Marxist sociologists utilise Marxist concepts in order to provide a framework for understanding the cause and effects of crime and deviance in a capitalist society. These sociologists see power as being controlled by those who own and maintain the means of production. The superstructure of a capitalist society the agencies of social control, the law, politics as well as crime all reflect and serve ruling-class interests.

According to Marxists, laws are patented in as a direct reflection of ruling-class interests, and to maintain the subservience of the working-class. Mannheim (1960) supports this statement by highlighting that the majority of the laws that exist, many from the days of feudalism, revolve around the protection of property and private ownership. Chambliss (1976) argues that these laws established the landowners and their wealth ‘the undisputed masters of the economic resources of the country.’ This has now simply been replaced by capitalism, where such laws were upheld, maintaining property owners in a particular class higher than most.

This law that reflects the interest of the ruling-class society enhances the principles of capitalism, which Chambliss (1976) argues has bred a nature within the people that consist of greed, self-interest and hostility. This, Chambliss argues, is what essentially motivates crime and deviance at all levels of society. Gordon (1976) supports this by arguing that crime is a ‘rational’ response to a ‘dog-eat-dog’ society where selfishness and competition is more profound as opposed to public duty and collective wellbeing.

The general attitude towards crime is that it is more committed by those of the working-class as opposed to the middle or ruling-class. In fact, corporate crime has caused more damage than ‘street crimes’. Snider (1993) disputes that the ‘most serious anti-social and predatory acts committed in modern industrial countries are corporate crimes.’ Snider brings the example that in a typical year...
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