SOC 2700 Chapter 15: chapter 15

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Chapter #15, Marxist Theories, Page 342-358
Marxist Theory
Conflict theory are Marxist theory work well together, but Marxist endorses a power-
elite model of society concentrated in late-stage capitalism, which is the label given to
highly industrially developed democracies (Canada, US, UK, etc.) Capitalism is a two-
class system of the ruling class that owns the means of production (capitalists or
bourgeoise) versus the proletariat the workers who sell their labour. The capitalist
monopoly lets them control the political state. The laws and CJS are designed to keep
them in power, and the workers as subordinates, until there is a revolution that
overthrows the capitalists. After this a socialist system will come in with like communist
with no class or social inequality and no need for law. False-class consciousness is a
worker thinking they are in the higher class like most academics. The capitalists must
control the media, academics, etc. to make the workers not think that the system is so
against them, and control the law.
Marxist Theory of Law and Criminal Justice
The law seems to operate in the interests of the whole society, but really just in favour
of the elites. And the CJS is used against rather than for the people. Where is isn’t for
crime control, but to control the population and prison is for the surplus labour force
during times of recession. Quinney is a main force who says the CJS must be
overthrown, non-violently, where others say it should be done violently.
Instrumentalist and Structuralist Marxism
Instrumentalist Marxism is the political state as and only an instrument of the capitalist
class, has received a lot of criticism from academics. Structuralist Marxism is a response
to the criticisms, where SM (structuralist Marxism) has relative autonomy, where the
state isn’t fully under the ruling-class. Like how some ruling class people can still be sent
to jail, white collar crimes, or how the ruling class can have different groups with laws
working for or against some. The difference between the two can only happen in the
short-run not the long run where they aren’t different.
Empirical Adequacy of Marxist Theory of Law and Justice
It has been criticized for being tautological and not having testable theories of
lawmaking and enforcement. As well, the increase population during surplus labour
hasn’t been found as prison rates were high during the great depression and 1990s, and
low during times of great economies. Testing for laws and the CJS for Marxism is also
flawed as Marxists say to look at history as a test.
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