Assess the contribution of the Marxist theory to the sociological understanding of crime and deviance. (21 marks)
Marxism is a macro/structural approach to society, meaning that it looks at the large-scale societal structure for answers about how society works and operates and explores crime and deviance in relation to classes within a capitalist society. Marxists claim that laws do not reflect a value consensus, instead laws and law enforcement benefits the rich (protection of private property), and discriminate the poor which brings about social class reproduction, the working class are criminalised for their crimes but the criminal just system are more lenient towards the crimes of the wealth such as white collar crime or
…show more content…
On the other hand functionalists would go against the Marxist view as they claim that social control is vital in maintaining order and preventing anomie, in maintaining order the process of socialisation, sanctions and social control are vital. Functionalists also claim that crime is inevitable in all societies and beneficial for society. Durkheim is a functionalist who claims that society is based on value consensus and people share values and morals. Durkheim believes that boundary setting is positive for society as crime unites people in outrage against criminal behaviour such as the paedophile Jimmy Saville. This ultimately strengths norms and values. This is helped by the media demonises them. Cohen is another functionalist who claims that crime is positive as it provides a harmless expression of discontent such as prostitution and pornography which allow the safe channelling and relief of sexual frustration without harming the family so there will be less rape, adultery and sexual abuse.
However there are some strengths and weaknesses to the functionalist approach as well such as that it was the first major theory of crime and deviance, it demonstrates the importance of order and social control and has influences actual social policy such as the New Right's Zero Tolerant policy. There are also some weaknesses such as that it ignores disagreement and conflict in society, it is difficult to see the