Crime and Deviancy and the Effects of the Labelling Theory ( 40 Marks )

In: Social Issues

Submitted By gracieisabellae
Words 1599
Pages 7
Grace Elliott / Sociology homework due Friday 4th March 2016
Item A
The criminal law is thus not a reflection of custom, but a set of rules laid down by the state in the interests of the ruling class, and resulting from the conflicts arising in class structured societies; criminal behaviour is , then , the inevitable expression of class conflict resulting from the exploitative nature of economic relations.
Criminality is simply not something that people have or don’t have; crime is not something some people do and others don’t. Crime is a matter of who can pin the label on whom and underlying this socio-political process is the structure of social relations determined by capitalism.
Using material from item A and elsewhere asses the usefulness of the Marxist approaches to an understanding of crime and deviance (21 marks)
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. They argue that white collar crimes (which tend to be committed by the more powerful in society) are ignored, while crimes committed by the less powerful in society such as burglary and street crime are focussed on and seen as more serious. Marxists would also argue that different social classes are policed differently, with the working class heavily policed in the expectation that they will be more criminal and therefore raising the chances of their crimes being detected. Classical Marxists argue that this fundamental fact of exploitation provides the key to unlock the explanations for the workings of society. They believe there are 5 main elements that make up such a theory. In this essay I will be looking at the usefulness of the Marxist…...

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