Explain and analyse the Marxist perspective of crime and deviance.

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Introduction

Define Marxism - social system conflict theory - society is based on the peoples' relationship with institutions, and society is in a state of disagreement rather than peace. The disagreement comes from the separation of two kinds of people in society: the Borgeoisie (rich, powerful, own the means of production) and the Proletariat (poor, poweless, workers who do not own the means of production)

 Define Marxist perspective of crime 

1st point: the main cause of crime according to Marxists is capitalism.  Those in power (Borgeoisie) create laws that suit their own interests, which leaves the workers feeling disillusioned and more likely to break the law due to desperate measures (such as stealing food to provide for the family)

2nd point: white collar crime vs blue collar crime - since those in power create the laws and also enforce them, the Proletariat are much more likely to be prosecuted compared to the buisness owners, who commit much more serious crimes such as tax evasion and embezzlement. (Tombs, 1999)

Evaluation of this perspective

1) The focus on white collar crime is a strong point of the Marxist perspective on crime and deviance as this tends to go unnoticed and even today we hear of large multinational companies avoiding paying tax. This makes the theory highly relevant in today's world.

2) Feminists, however, would argue that crime and deviance is not a product of capitalism, but patriarchy. Crime is mainly committed by males or male dominated institutions with the main victims being women. Here, the problem is gender, not class.

Elicia T.

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