Marxists theory to the sociological understanding of crime and deviance

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Assess the contribution of the Marxist theory to the sociological understanding of crime and deviance. (21 marks) Marxism is a macro/structural approach to society, meaning that it looks at the large-scale societal structure for answers about how society works and operates and explores crime and deviance in relation to classes within a capitalist society. Marxists claim that laws do not reflect a value consensus, instead laws and law enforcement benefits the rich (protection of private property), and discriminate the poor which brings about social class reproduction, the working class are criminalised for their crimes but the criminal just system are more lenient towards the crimes of the wealth such as white collar crime or…show more content…
Pearce also explores how white collar crime is hidden from the masses and this puts them in a state of false consciousness so they do not see the full extent of the white collar crime, this is ideological social control, this is often linked to the media which often portrays stereotypes and demonises the poor as criminals. Chambliss looks into selective law enforcement, at the heart of the legal system in the protection of private property, this ensures that the ruling class maintain their wealth, which leads to social class reproduction. All social groups commit crime, but it is the poor who are targeted by the criminal justice system. This is linked to stereotypes where the police target deprived groups in deprived areas e.g. stop and search. There are many strengths and weaknesses to the Marxist approach, such as it explores law making as well as law breaking, it examines selective law enforcement so looks into the discrimination of the working class. They also highlight the idea of social control and how police are more likely to stop and search people based on stereotypes that are displayed in the media which can also be linked with the labelling theory. However there are some weaknesses to the Marxist approach such as that it ignores how some laws benefit everyone, and ignores gender and ethnicity which can be a vital factor in differences in crime and deviance and it is too
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