February 25, 2015
Labelling theories see crime as created by an individual. Things are not always as they seem,
society increasingly seen not so much as one homogenous mixture of institutions and people
but realized the pluralism and competing interests and social differences of peoples in
Chapter 6: Marxist Criminology
-Views crime as an outcome and reflection of basic class divisions in society; key
concepts are power and inequality.
-Analyzes power as it becomes increasingly concentrated into fewer and fewer hands –
-The ruling class – societies elites, the top of the top have all the power and
wealth. They wield the ultimate power as they own the means of production.
-This class dictates the nature and the shape of society; the state functions to
support the interests of capitalism and capitalists
-Focuses on how class situation is linked to specific types of criminality (eg. “street
crime” vs. “suite crime”)
-crimes of subsistence – crimes commited by the marginalised trying to simply
sustain themselves in society.
-crimes of accumulation – crimes commited usually by people who already have
what they need to live, but they are “hungry for more” and commit crime to aquire more.
-Argues for Radical Democracy, collective ownership over the means of production,
and the redistribution of societal resources according to human need
Instrumental Marxism – sees criminal law and the criminal justice system as instruments for
controlling the lower classes
Structural Marxism – sees criminal law and the criminal justice system as a means of
defending and preserving the capitalist system
-distinguished between crimes of domination (eg. Crimes of control (police brutality),
crimes of government (stopping the peaceful protests at G20), crimes of economic domination
(The Ford Pinto case)) and crimes of accommodation and resistance (eg. Predatory crimes
(burglary robbery and drug-dealing), personal crimes(murder assault and sexual assault),
crimes of resistance (worker sabatoge, illegal protests)) Spitzer
-Argued that the criminalization of much behaviour is directed toward those problem
populations who are surplus to the labour market
Reiman (The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 1979)
-society fails to protect people from the crimes they fear by refusing to a