The Pros and Cons of Functionalism and Marxism

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The two theoretical approaches I have chosen to compare to the study of crime are Functionalism and Marxism. I have done so, as I believe both theories are important/ significant to the study of crime and differentiate from each other. I will do this by writing a critique the advantages and disadvantages of both of the theories and thus, resulting in my own personal opinion in the conclusion. Marxism derived from German philosophers Karl Marx (also a political economist/ sociologist) and Friedrich Engels in the middle of the 1800s. ‘Marxism is based on the idea that society is defined by the conflict between the ruling class (Bourgeoisie) and the working class (Proletariat) and these beings the two main classes’ (Hart, 2013). It…show more content…
Moreover Karl Marx is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers (Hart, 2013). As well as this, the theory itself has many advantages, including the elimination of the idea that aristocracy is above the law/ has a great influence over the law, and the suggestion of different policing for the different social classes has been accredited. Moreover Marxism helps us to understand the crime of the powerful whereas Functionalism mainly focuses on society as being a group and does not really focus on the individual person. ‘Their (Marx and Engels) analysis of social organisation, power and exploitation had a powerful impact upon much twentieth-century criminology’ (Newburn, 2009, p.264). Following on from this, Marxism is greatly supportive of privatization and would therefore agree with the increasing privatization of prisons which is being seen at the moment in the UK with ‘At present there are 14 private prisons contractually managed by private companies such as G4S Justice Services, Serco Custodial Services and Sodexo Justice Services’ (, 2014). And although many seem to be against such privatization and claim the return of the

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