It’s easier to understand marxist perspectives of crime, if you fully grasp the marxist social theory (in fact it’s easier to understand all the perspectives of crime this way) for marxists all social phenomena are explainable through society’s means of production. In the 1970s a new school of criminological thought, known variously as “new,” “critical,” “radical,” or marxist, came on the scene¹ it challenged the paradigms that then dominated criminology, and drew on the insights of new left social criticism in developing a host of new and controversial ideas about crime.
Marxists effectively developed labelling theory so it would recognise the social and political structures in which labels are created and adhered in a sense marxists appreciated the logic of labelling particularly as it examined the processes through which deviance is defined, secured and sanctioned however for marxists labelling theory failed to account for why some. Capitalism and crime • marxist views on deviance adopt a conflictstructuralist stance • the economic base or infrastructure determines the precise nature of the superstructure, ie the way the economy is organised will determine the norms, values and what is defined deviant.
Overview of key ideas in marxist perspective of crime.
Marxism and crime marxists believe that crime is inevitable in a capitalist society because there is a basic conflict of interests between the ruling and subject classes capitalism is based on private ownership and the pursuit of profit and this shapes how deviance is defined, law making and law enforcement. Other critics contest the claim that marxist criminology “enhances our understanding of crime,” (greenberg, 1993 21) and perhaps the most crucial criticism of marxist criminology is the question of whether or not it is scientific. Marxist criminologists see power being held by the bourgeoisie and laws are a reflection of bourgeois ideology the legal system (lawyers, judges and the courts) and the police all serve the interests of the bourgeoisie these institutions are used to continue reading .
Marxists essentially see crime and deviance as defined by the ruling class and used as a means of social control – if you don’t conform then you will be punished institutions such as the police, the justice system, prisons and schools, the family and religion are there to encourage you to conform. Taking an explicitly marxist point of view, the articles deal with various aspects of criminology, including organized crime, delinquency, urban crime, criminal law, and criminal justice to the original text, greenberg has added pieces on race and crime, gender and crime, rape, arson for profit, and auto theft.
Item b marxists do not see the law as a reflection of a value consensus among society’s members instead they see the law as a tool of the ruling class, the police and other social control agencies as paid agents of the ruling class, and crime as an inevitable outcome of the dog-eat-dog nature of the capitalist system, and the inequalities it generates.