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Unformatted text preview: Orthodox Marxism and Crime In order to understand the Marxist approach to the study of crime, we have to initially understand something about the theoretical background to this approach. For orthodox Marxists, therefore, a number of ideas are evident: Firstly , as we have seen, there is no form of human behaviour that is inherently deviant . As Hagan ("The Disreputable Pleasures"), for example, makes clear, conceptions of crime are clearly based upon subjective interpretations as to how we react to various forms of behaviour. Subjective reactions are, however, only a starting point since it is evident that in order to proscribe any form of behaviour by making it illegal, for example, a decision has to be made by someone or some group . In short, " laws " - however self-evident and "right" people may think them to be - are the product of conscious decisions ... Secondly , therefore, orthodox Marxists tend to begin their analysis from a position of wanting to know how laws are created- who , for example, is included in the decision-making process and who , of course, is excluded . In relatively abstract terms , people who have little power in society (the vast majority ) have little or no actual say in the law creation process . People who occupy positions of power , however, clearly do have an input into the decision- making process . If we follow the line of reasoning developed earlier, it should be evident that, for Marxists, the people with real power in our society are those who are economically powerful (first and foremost). These are the people who have the most to lose if social order and stability are threatened- and conversely, they have the most to gain from the establishment of order and stability . In these terms, the orthodox Marxist view of crime and criminality tends to be one in which the economically powerful make laws that (primarily) further their political / economic interests . In relation to legal developments, therefore, the main question to ask is not simply "who benefits from the introduction of laws" (since most clearly benefit from a law that proscribes the killing of another person) but rather "...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2012 for the course SCIE SYG2000 taught by Professor Bernhardt during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.
- Fall '10