Marx and Durkheim’s Views Contributed to our Understanding of Crime and Deviance?

Marx and Durkheim’s Views Contributed to our Understanding of Crime and Deviance?

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How have Marx and Durkheim’s Views Contributed to our Understanding of Crime and Deviance?

Karl Marx’s Marxist theory and Emile Durkheim’s functionalist theory were both significant in their own ways and therefore made a large contribution to our perception and understanding of how crime and deviance occurs and is dealt with in society.

The Marxist theory on crime was focused on the concept that the huge shift towards a capitalist society was the root cause and driving force behind the formation of social divisions and subsequent increase in crime and conflict. Willem Bonger expanded on the Marxist theory by explaining that the capitalist shifts lead the law to focus on the proletariat divisions as the deviant members of society, they were believed to be the one to commit a crime, rather than be a victim of crime due to the social class they placed in. The bourgeoisie on the other hand; the powerful and wealthy, were almost totally overlooked by the law, it’s almost as if they were immune to the effects of the law and its enforcement because of their societal status. The emphasis on the way the law treated, or rather didn’t treat the higher classes has led to the understanding that wealth is an enormous factor in terms of how vulnerable and individual is to the effects of the law and assumptions of individuals deviant behaviour based on their social class.
It has also been suggested by Frank Pearce that use of ‘elite-favouring’ in capitalist societies has resulted in the intensification of lower class criminality. The lower class have been subsequently ‘branded’ as the people who deviate from ideal behaviour and cause the crime in society. A capitalist society being led to believe such labels and characteristics of the prol...

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...a great paradox about crime and deviance”
“We do not condemn it because it is a crime, it is a crime because we condemn it”

Page 254, Tim Newburn, Criminology, second edition, 2013, Routledge Oxfordshire, Uk

pages 395-396 Frank Pearce, Crimes of the powerful: Marxism, Crime and Deviance 1976 Pluto Press Limited London, England

Page 76, David Downes and Paul Rock, Understanding Deviance: A guide to the sociology of crime and rule breaking 2011 Oxford University Press inc. New York, US

Page 70, Eamonn Carrabine, Pam Cox, Maggy Lee, Ken Plummer and Nigel South, 2009. Criminology, A Sociological Introduction Second Edition Routledge USA

Notes on the sociology of deviance, social problems Kai T. Erikson 1962 volume 9

Public Confidence in policing: a neo- Durkheimian perspective Jonathan Jackson and Jason Sunshine 2007 british journal of criminology

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