Marxist Theory of Crime

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 474
  • Published : November 25, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Using the material from item A and elsewhere assess the usefulness of Marxist approaches to an understanding of crime and deviance. (21 marks)

Marxist approaches can be useful to help us understand crime and deviance. Marxists theory adopts the belief that the ruling class is responsible for societies. They think crime is systematically generated by the structure of capitalist society. Marxists believe that society is divided into two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie promote values such as individualism and competition, and some may argue that it is these values that promote crime amongst the typical offenders, the proletariat. Traditional Marxism attempts to explain the relationship between the two aforementioned classes, with writers such as William Chambliss concluding that the best way to understand crime and deviance is to analyse the process by which the ruling class exploit their subordinates , through means such as the media , ideology and false-class consciousness, to name a few mediums. An example of this, again the result of a study conducted by Chambliss. Marxist say that the rich and powerful decide what is considered deviant and criminal in society to suit their own needs and interests. This supports item A as it states 'a set of rules laid down by the state in the interest of the ruling class'. This is reflected in crime statistics; the most common offenders are young, black males between the ages of 15-21. A counter argument to this is the idea of Strain Theory developed by Robert Merton. Traditional Marxism argues that it is increased aggression and individualistic nature of the capitalist society that inspires individuals to commit crime, however Merton comments that it is Strain between goals and the legitimate means to achieve these goals that cause an individual to commit crime. It is also noted that the Traditional Marxist theory only looks at the cause of crime, and not the effect that the crime has on...
tracking img