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Write A Sociological Essay With Regards To Crime And Deviance With A Functionalist Perspective Then Critique It With A Marxist View.

1156 words - 5 pages

The Marxist approach views society as a whole system that is in conflict. This conflict is between two opposing groups and steams from the contradictions in capitalism. These are the owners wanting to maximise profit whilst the workers want to increase wages. The infrastructure is industry and the most important part of society, therefore controlling the superstructure, everything that isn't industry. The ruling class own and control industry and therefore manipulate the superstructure for their benefit. They do this through false class-consciousness of the proletariat. This system can only be overcome by violent revolution once the contradictions of capitalism have become apparent to the proletariat. This focus on power in society is central to the way Marxists view crime.Crime and deviance reflects power in society. This is shown in Law creation as the definitions of which acts are criminal and therefore how laws are made reflects the ruling class. Power is also shown in Law enforcement. Privileged groups in society escape punishment but police power is focused onto the types of opportunistic crimes associated with the working class. These factors are shown in Corporate and White Collar crime.Corporate crimes are those acts committed by companies to increase their own profits; these are acts like breaking health and safety laws, and activities that may not be illegal but maybe harmful to others. Box (1983) identified that this may cost up to £16 billion pounds annually and has grown massively since the EEC. Working class crime is nowhere near this level but it receives the majority of police attention therefore law enforcement must be in the interest of the bourgeoisie. The victims of these crimes are fairly easy to determine. They could be the consumers who suffer through low quality products or price fixing, employees as it was estimated that three fifths of deaths and two thirds of injuries are caused by corporate crime, and the public as increased costs to the welfare state result in increased taxes. The "criminals" aren't easy to define as no one person or group can be held accountable. It is simply the result of the values of capitalism such as the need for profit, competition, shareholders pressure for dividends etc. An example of this is the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. This was caused with an individual asleep due to long hours and the practice of leaving the doors open till the last possible moment to speed up the crossing time. This was due to minimum staffing levels to maximise profit and competition with rival companies. The result was no one being fined or jailed and no crime was committed. Box (1987) found that these sorts of incidents were likely to happen because companies needed to break the law to survive and they often worked to with the government to change the law for their advantage. This suggests that corporate crime is aimed at decriminalising corporate crime and protecting the real criminals. This is law...

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