assess the usefulness of Marxist approach to an understanding of crime and deviance’

1993 Words Oct 31st, 2013 8 Pages
‘Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of Marxist approach to an understanding of crime and deviance’ (21 marks)

There are numerous Marxist theories that help us to understand crime and deviance in different ways, however they are all based around the same ideas. They believe capitalism causes crime in three different ways including, selective law enforcement, criminogenic capitalism and ideological nature of the law. Traditional Marxists believe that crime is inevitable in all societies because capitalism is criminogenic suggesting that it is societies very nature that causes crime. According to traditional Marxists society causes capitalism in different ways. One of which is due to poverty. The lack
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As well as defining individuals as ‘social failures’ directing the blame away from the system. And thirdly defining criminals as ‘animals’ and ‘sick’ for example, justifying putting them in prison. Keeping these individuals out of the public eye allows us to forget why the crime occurred needed to help us solve the problems. Traditional Marxists also explore the ideological nature of the law; this function is valuable in allowing the ruling class to maintain their position of wealth. This process is what Althusser named the ideological state apparatus. This includes the school and the variety of forms of media, and it is through these that the ruling class is able to socialise individuals into accepting ruling class ideology. ISAs are responsible for promoting ruling class values of self interest and competition and as a result create a society in which basic values support the capitalist political and economic system. Marxists also believe that crime and the law can perform an ideological function by essentially brain washing individuals. For example some laws may appear to benefit the working class for example the health and safety laws at work, but these, according to a Marxist Frank Pearce are only there to benefit the capitalists by ensuring a fit and healthy work force. In addition to this by prosecuting a large proportion of the working class it makes it look like the capitalists are
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