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Flashcards in Class, Power And Crime Deck (11)
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How do the 4 perspectives on crime explain class differences?

Functionalism - Crime is a product of inadequate socialisation into a shared culture, Miller argues that the working class have an independent subculture opposes to mainstream culture

Strain theory - Class structure denies working class people opportunity to achieve by legitimate means, they are more likely to innovate and become deviant.

Subcultural theories - A.K Cohen sees working class youth as culturally deprived, their failure leads to status frustration which leads to the development of 3 delinquent subcultures.

Labelling Theory - Rejects the view that crime statistics are valid of which class commits more crime because typification increases inequalities.


What do Marxists argue about class and crime?

Marxists argue that the law is against the working class and official statistics are flawed.

They criticise labelling theory for ignoring the role of capitalism in crime structure in reproducing deviance.

Criminogenic capitalism -
Crime is inevitable under capitalism as its very meatier generates crime. Working class crime - Capitalism is based on the exploration of the working class for profit, Poverty may mean that crime is the only way some can survive.

Capitalist advertising encourages utilitarian crimes such as theft.

And alienation May create frustration leading to non-utilitarian crimes e.g violence and vandalism.

Ruling class crime - Gordon argues that Capitalism is a win at all costs system, capitalists are encouraged to commit corporate crimes such as tax avoidance to meet profit motives. Therefore crime is
A rational response to capitalism and found in all classes


How do Marxists argue that the state and law making affects crime?


Chambliss argues laws as serving the interests of the upper class, the ruling class encourage laws against working class crime but not ones that could effect upper class crime e.g there are no laws against unequal distribution of wealth.


What do Marxists argue about selective enforcement?

Whilst all classes commit crime, there is selective enforcement of the law.

Rieman shows that the crimes of the rich and powerful are much less likely to be treated as criminal offences and prosecuted e.g in a study of 200 firms they all broke health and safety laws but yet less than 1.5% are reported.

There is a much higher rate of prosecution of the poor in contrast.


What do Marxists argue about ideological functions of crime and law?

Crime and law provide ideological functions for capitalism

False conciseness is created through workers rights that give companies a caring face in their exploitation.

By making crime largely working class, it distorts the view of who commits crimes away from the upper class.


What is the Neo-Marxism critical criminology view?


Taylor, Walton and Young argue that capitalism is based upon exploration and inequality and the state enforces laws in the interest of capitalists.

However Taylor et al also argue that traditional Marxism is too deterministic in its view that workers are driven to crime out of economic necessity. Instead arguing that external factors such as blocked opportunities and anomie can also create crime.


What does Taylor et al argue about Voluntarism?

They argue that crime is actually the choice of the individually driven voluntaristic choice often with political motives e.g to redistribute wealth.


What are some characteristics of crimes of the powerful?

White collar crimes - Sutherland defines white collar crime as crime committed by people of respectability and highs status in the course of their occupation.

Occupational crime - Committed by employees for personal gain e.g embezzlement of the companies finances.

Corporate crime - Committed for the company’s benefit e.g to increase its profits.

The scale of corporate crime - Corporate crime is much more harmful than ordinary crime. Tombs highlights the huge economic, environmental and social impacts of corporate crime.

+ Crimes against consumer - Selling bad goods
+ Crimes against employees e.g breaking health and safety laws
+ Financial crimes - Tax evasion
+ Crimes against the environment - Toxic waste.


How might there be an abuse of trust within the crimes of the powerful.

Professionals occupy positions of trust and respectability that give them an opportunity to violate such trust. E.g accountants and money laundering.

In Sutherland’s view this white collar crime is more damaging for society as it undermines the collective consciousness through distrust in institutions.


How might there be an invisibility of corporate crime?

The Media- give limited coverage of corporate crime reinforcing the stereotype that crime is a working class phenomenon.

Lack of political will - To tackle CC

CC is too complex - Law enforcement lacks technical expertise to investigate or discover some CC.

Penalties are often fines not jail

Under reporting - Victims (the whole of society) aren’t aware they’ve been victimised in comparison to ordinary crime one victim.


What are some explanations of corporate crime?


Strain theory - If a company can’t achieve its goal of maximising profit legitimately they may undertake illegal ones instead, Clinard found that corporate crime violations increased as profitability declined.

Labelling theory - An act of crime only counts if it’s been labelled, companies have the power to prevent labels e.g hiring expensive lawyers.

Marxism - Sees CC as a normal function of capitalism as its goal is to maximise profits despite harm to other people

However this view is criticised for not explaining why non-profit organisations can also commit crimes e.g the state.